Old Boxing Matches

What about the quality of the fighters themselves? There have been great fighters in both earlier and later times. Mike Tyson’s one-round knockouts electrified many boxing fans but Joe Louis still holds the record for one-round knockouts in heavyweight championship fights.

The only way you can be sure who hit harder would be to be on the receiving end of their punches– and none of the boxing pundits ever agreed to do that.

Louis’ punches tended to be short and quick, but guys went down like they had been struck by lightning. When Louis knocked out Jimmy Braddock– the "Cinderella Man"– to win the championship, Braddock lay face down on the canvas without moving while he was counted out, and afterwards his handlers had to come out from his corner to get him back on his feet.

It was much the same story when Rocky Marciano won the championship from Jersey Joe Walcott. After a right to the jaw from Marciano, Walcott fell limp. As he fell, his arm got tangled in the ropes, so that Walcott fell forward, with the top of his head resting on the canvas. He was counted out in that position without moving a muscle– and his handlers too had to come get him and revive him, before they could take him back to his corner.

How would the fighters of the past do against the bigger and heavier fighters of a later era? We will never know. What we do know is that Rocky Marciano, who was strictly a knockout fighter, never fought as heavy as 190 pounds and Joe Louis was at his best at no more than 200 pounds.

It is much easier to compare the referees. The old-timers didn’t keep issuing warning after warning, for round after round. They penalized violations. More lax officiating may be why so many fights in recent times have had so many clinches and so much wrestling and dirty fighting.

That too is unfortunately a reflection of the general trends of our time.

Have been great fighters in both earlier and later times. Mike Tyson’s one-round knockouts electrified many boxing fans but Joe Louis still holds the record for one-round knockouts in heavyweight championship fights.

The only way you can be sure who hit harder would be to be on the receiving end of their punches– and none of the boxing pundits ever agreed to do that.

Louis’ punches tended to be short and quick, but guys went down like they had been struck by lightning. When Louis knocked out Jimmy Braddock– the "Cinderella Man"– to win the championship, Braddock lay face down on the canvas without moving while he was counted out, and afterwards his handlers had to come out from his corner to get him back on his feet.

It was much the same story when Rocky Marciano won the championship from Jersey Joe Walcott. After a right to the jaw from Marciano, Walcott fell limp. As he fell, his arm got tangled in the ropes, so that Walcott fell forward, with the top of his head resting on the canvas. He was counted out in that position without moving a muscle– and his handlers too had to come get him and revive him, before they could take him back to his corner.

How would the fighters of the past do against the bigger and heavier fighters of a later era? We will never know. What we do know is that Rocky Marciano, who was strictly a knockout fighter, never fought as heavy as 190 pounds and Joe Louis was at his best at no more than 200 pounds.

It is much easier to compare the referees. The old-timers didn’t keep issuing warning after warning, for round after round. They penalized violations. More lax officiating may be why so many fights in recent times have had so many clinches and so much wrestling and dirty fighting.

That too is unfortunately a reflection of the general trends of our time.

by Thomas Sowell -  a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place".
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