Dispelling The "Weak Era" Myth Nonsense
There's no such thing as a weak era in boxing. I contend that's a false myth which has been repeated so many times that now most people believe there actually are weak eras in boxing divisions where the talent levels drop off.
I believe, some eras are more popular because of certain exciting fighters and the fights they engage in. And this distorts the perception.
I had a debate recently with two respected boxing journalists...
Me: For anyone to assume Liston Foreman Frazier are superior to Chagaev Ibragimov and Thompson is just that: an assumption. Povetkin could beat Frazier Norton Shavers Morrison Holyfield. It's possible. One will never know for sure.
Me: I saw many of Norton and Shavers fights. They've been lionized by time. Good challengers for their era. But not good enough to be the best. Very similar to Brewster, Povetkin, Rahman, Mavrovic, etc. Please tell me how you can be so sure they are so vastly superior to the modern era challengers.
Me: So you're saying Povetkin would be slaughtered by Lyle, Shavers, Norton, Snipes, etc. Please tell me how you can be so sure?
Tell us when the "drop off" started.
Bread, tell us your theory on when the decline started.
Weak Era Believer: I think there was a steady erosion of Heavyweight throughout the early 2000's until settling into a state of mediocrity in the second half of the decade. Heavyweight swings in talent aren't as dramatic or quick as some lower classes because heavyweights have nowhere else to go. What did Sultan Ibragimov ever do, besides beating the awesome might of Ray Austin and a 500 year old Holyfield, to be some equivalent of George Foreman? You know, because talent levels never ebb and flow at all.
Me: My view of the 2000s is this: Lewis dominated and no contender could get any belief. Lewis kept em all down. Then the Ks took over and kept em all down. These big super heavies, because of their size, are a bit more awkward and clumbsy. But they rule. They may not be as aesthetic as Ali Holmes and Tyson but they rule. They dominate. Some think Lewis and the Klitschkos are a drop off from Ali, Holmes, I happen to think they are better and have taken the sport to a new level of excellence. You guys follow the consensus. I believe Lewis and the Klitschkos would handle Ali and Holmes and those smaller guys. Keep em at range, dissect and force them to have to take the risks. Which would be fatal. I believe Lewis and the Ks are superior HWT machines. Terrell Cooney Akinwande etc were also big guys that just weren't good enough to dominate like Lewis and the Ks.
The contenders of the 2000s never could rise up. Lewis and the Ks bashed them down, bashed their spirit and belief. This inhibits their growth as fighters. It's hard to train hard and strive when you know you can't beat the man at the top - Lewis and the Ks. So if there was a drop off / erosion, it was caused by the dominance of Lewis and the Ks IMO.
Weak Era Believer: Tries to diminish Sultan Ibragimov by comparing him to Joe Louis.
Me: Nonsense. Sultan was in it for the $. He made his $ vs. Wlad and got out of the game. Good fighter. Good puncher. Tough guy. Good career. Sultan could compete with and possibly beat Cooper, Patterson, Zanon, Young, Snipes, Berbick, Morrison, Norton, Shavers, etc. he's in that league. Good fighters very good. Not great.
Me: Only a know-it-all could say with any certainty that Liston Norton Patterson Berbick or whoever you want to name would unquestionably beat Sultan Ibragimov. Nobody knows. You guys rely on your silly assumptions.
Me: You guys are wrong for taking it as automatic that Liston Berbick and whoever etc. would beat Ibragimov. That these old timers were so technically superior. Just like Buster beat Mike, it doesn't matter what armchair warriors like you think, it's about the heart and self belief inside the man.
Me: You and your ilk and many others have been rope a doped by the Bert Sugars, Kellermans, etc who trumpeted their bulljive that the modern era is so weak. It's a falsehood. The Klitschkos and Lewis are all time greats in their own special ways. Different from the past guys. Talk of drop offs and slight erosions is sillytalk.
Weak Era Believer: Yeah, I don't need anyone else to help me form opinions. Oh no, we've all been hoodwinked. It's mass hysteria that we don't all see that the last five years have been a panacea of great challengers. Armchair warriors I tell you. This is awesome. Keep going.
Me: Tell me, are there drop offs and erosions in MLB, NFL, NHL, tennis golf and other sports? LOL. Check mate.
Weak Era Believer: Boxing isn't like other sports. It's diversified by weight divisions. Overall talent is always fairly high but the sport always has its weak spots. Jr. Lightweight is down right now from where it was when Floyd, Casa etc. were there. Super Middleweight is up from where it was when Calzaghe and Ottke were ALL that was there. Yeah, not so checked.
Note, I don't ever say I don't think that Wlad is a great fighter. I just think his opponents are less than what Ali had to face as a bunch. I think that's observable in technique, speed, effort, conditioning etc. If you want to argue different, that's fine. But to say some eras are not less talented than other eras in various divisions is just absurd.
Me: Nonsense. Federer beat the best of his era who were just as good as the comp of Sampras Laver Borg etc. Same thing with the opposition for Tiger Woods, The Yankees, Blackhawks. All champs are different and all their comp is what it is but the best rise to the top by beating the best. Hat's off to the champions. Only in boxing do the pundits try to outsmart themselves by pretending that they know which eras are better. Only in boxing. It's nonsense.
I believe I scored the knockout point. Why is boxing the only sport that ever mentions weak eras? It's a silly, hare-brained, false assumption based on overanalyzed nonsense.
There are no weak eras in boxing, only perceptions of those eras. Each champ and top ten contender fights and trains and throws punches, has good fights, great fights and disappointing showings. The careers of Ali, Tyson, Klitschko, Lewis, Holmes all support this concept.
What do you think?