Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Perpetually Poor Heavyweight Era: BGB Throwback Article Spotlight

Our spotlighted quote, in text: 

"By dismantling Quarry in five rounds (Referee Joe Louis—belatedly—stopped it) Frazier only underlined what many had sensed and now know: the heavyweight division is desperately impoverished."

Original Sports Illustrated article: Hard Sell For Some Hard Knocks, by Mark Kram

Yes, oddly, even in the very heat of what is now looked upon as the golden era for the heavyweight division, the write-ups were often of a lackluster, uninteresting, uninspired bunch. This is what I would personally call the greatest era the division has ever known, and what I have observed to be the majority consensus opinion, by a wide margin. People still couldn't appreciate it in real time. To the absolute best of eras, a barrage of complaints and detraction, nitpicking its way across each champion and his contenders, it blindly barrels through, undeterred by anything positive. It is an incredible and repetitive folly committed by commentators and journalists in every stretch of time that can call itself a distinct era. Whether you consider the era to be one championship reign or one decade, or however you like to mark them.

Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, all Hall of Fame fighters, battling it out and passing around world titles with a now-celebrated contender everywhere you could turn. You couldn't get away from strong contenders in this time period. But that's in retrospect. Earnie Shavers, Ron Lyle, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Young, Oscar Bonavena and more, all there, as the supporting roles, and most of them undervalued through the better part of their careers. While The Greatest fought with the greatest pool of talent, it carried little weight with those watching history unfold, even in between the classic battles and culture wars of the time that would inspire decades of controversy and dramatization.

This statement from Mark Kram, if you can imagine, is sandwiched between the "Fight of the Century" and the "Rumble in the Jungle." Right in the thick of the golden era and totally oblivious to it, that is to say. If you can get such statements from such publications during an era like that, it's no wonder solid enough current contenders like Tyson Fury, Bryant Jennings and Kubrat Pulev, are treated like garbage beyond the fences of their backyards, with the best of their attributes and action ignored and the worst of their flaws and lessons learned on the job are exaggerated beyond reason.

Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Similar to how A J Liebling in 'The Sweet Science' is nearly dismissive of Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Joey Maxim, and Bobo Olson, Hall-of-Famers all.