View Full Version : The Difference between good and great

Steve McV
10-30-2005, 12:04 AM
You kow, and I'm sure you'll agree; Oscar Bonavena was a pretty good fighter. Tough as nails, hit well, had an awkwardness that through good fighter's timing all to hell.

Good. But not great.

How about Max Schmeling? Had skill, wasn't the slowest heavyweight ever, solid puncher, in terrific physical condition every time he fought, seems like. Lost to Baer and Sharkey (although I maintain that he won that second fight) and only won the championship on a foul... but he knocked out Joe Louis when the Brown Bomber was demolishing ex-champions every few months. Of course, Joe kinda sorta (ahem) revenged that loss, leaving Schmeling with a sad record vs. other champions.

Was Max great? Somehow I don't think so. Better than good... but not great.

Good fighters can become champions. Was Graziano good? I'd say so. How about Sammy Mandell? Uh...

How about Peter Jackson, Sam Langford, Joe Jeanette and so many others called "Black Dynamite"? Blackburn, Williams, hell, clear back to Klondike...

For that matter, what about Packy McFarland?

But... Gans and Jack Johnson, and Ketchel, Walker, Dempsey and Tunney, Benny Leonard, Greb, Conn, Louis, Armstrong, Sugar Ray (both of them) Ross, Canzoneri, Monzon, Ali, Liston, Frazier, Foster, Moore, Tyson, Jofre, Whitaker, Duran, Hagler... and others that come to mind... They're great. Period.

Yet, some guy comes along, whatever time period, whatever name, whatever weight class, goes something like 40-3-1 maybe, wins a title, has a few defenses, gets older, loses to the next wave, maybe wins it back, maybe not, maybe goes up to the next weight class, beats a few solid fighters... and we remember him, maybe even fondly, recollect moments, maybe we saw the guy live at his best, remember some good punch, some tough fight when he faced someone else just as tough and talented, or maybe we saw him hurt, pick himself off the canvas and come back to win... but is he GREAT? Maybe this imaginary boxer was a good fighter, yes. Better than good. A champion. Someone to respect, and we do. But do we pencil in his name automatically when we draw up lists for all-time tounaments?

What do you think is the difference between a good fighter, a champion.. and an immortal?

10-30-2005, 09:32 AM
Good post, Steve. It deserves a longer answer but, in a nutshell, I've always believed consistency separates the great from the good. John H. Stracey was good enough to rip the world welterweight title from Jose Napoles, but Napoles is the great fighter because he was at the tail-end of a fantastic reign (and won the title when he was getting on, anyway). Stracey, of course, bombed as champ.
Alan Minter was good enough to win a world title in America (the first British fighter to do that since Ted "Kid" Lewis), but made only one defence before the great Marvin Hagler relieved him of the title and went on to rule for seven years.
To quote a football saying: form is temporary, class is permanent.

10-30-2005, 10:36 AM
Consistancy and competition.

10-30-2005, 10:37 AM
Yes, consistency at the highest level. This is what irks me with the Hall of Fame. McGuigan's in there, for one great win. But Brian Mitchell, forced to defend his world title abroad because of his race, isn't. Yet Mitchell made 12 defences and retired as undefeated champ after licking Tony Lopez in Sacramento.

10-31-2005, 09:40 AM
That competition issue really opens up a can of worms in recent times w/ multiple belts. It still boils down to; did fighter A take on his contemporaries? And what was the challenger's recent form going into the bout? Rusty/inactive/2-2 in their last 4 bouts/forcing the opponent to be the road warrior?

Other good vs. great issues;

Was fighter A always the house fighter? Did he ever do well when the roles were reversed? Or did he always fight with the home court advantage?

Did fighter A make his reputation beating the old guys when he was the up and comer? If so, how did fighter A do when the roles were reversed?

How did fighter A respond to a loss? Even more important, how did they respond to a bad loss like a brutal ko or something similar?

Longevity. How long at the top against other A fighters? Lots of guys have that A performance to win the title and then don't face A level opposition but the B/C guys.

Did Fighter A overcome huge obsticles in a bout and come back to win it by digging deep? Not everyone is a bobby chacon of course, but lots of guys are frontrunners and cannot do things like deal w/ swelling or cuts or behind in a fight by 8 rounds and come back to win.

How many high pedigree up and comers did they fight and beat? Of course this takes longevity, but say every 4 years or so there are undefeated pedigreed guys on the rise.

How many truly dangerous opponents did they take on? Not one's where their opponents are like 10-1 underdogs, but live underdogs or pickem or the opponent was the favorite.

walsh b
11-01-2005, 12:39 PM
Barry McGuigan should be in the hal of fame, if only for one fight and that's hiss so called loss to Cruz in Nevada. The single guttsiest performance I have ever witnessed in a ring by a fighter. A guy who comes from Wet Ireland and travels to a bloody desert to fight a local boy and goes 15rds of non stop action and scores more shots than Cruz throughout and loses a hometown decision. If that do not deserve it, I do not know what does. He was a great feather who was badly managed. He could have went on to defend at least half dozen more times......I don't think many people give him the credit he deserves, nor do they realise the enormity of that performance in Las Vegas.....

11-01-2005, 02:18 PM
You really don't think Cruz beat McGuigan?

Frank B.

11-01-2005, 02:19 PM
If McGuigan is in, so is Colin Jones. He duked it out in the Nevada sun for 12 rounds with Milton McCrory two years earlier. He was from wet Wales.
But Jones wasn't a whinger.

11-01-2005, 11:42 PM
Good goes the distance with Tarver... great knocks him out in the fifth round... that may be a quick one liner answer, but it's the first thing that came to mind...

11-02-2005, 01:01 AM
I was thinking,

You guys dont think the media? has any say in good and GREAT???

I mean, Joe Brown was consisted, and yet the Media does no big storys on him ete.

(I feel he is a great though)

walsh b
11-02-2005, 06:08 AM
Kiki, yes I do think so. He was the champ and in my book you gotta' take it from the champ. Boxstats showed that McGuigan landed more shots thru the whole fight, I no there's more to it than just shots landed. What gave it to Cruz was home advantage which does give a slight advantage, plus the 2 KD's in the final RD......Also, I think the vast majority would agree that if the fight had taken place in normal circumstances under normal conditions, Barry would have taken Cruz within 8rds. Barry was leagues ahead of him as a fighter. To the POSTER who implied Barry was a whinger, where you get that from is beyond me. You wouldn't meet a nicer, more humble guy in boxing than Barry....a true GENT!!

11-02-2005, 08:44 AM
Mr Walsh. A champion doesn't get knocked down several times (once in the ninth, I believe), then twice (or maybe even three times) in the last, and deseve to hold on to his title. You are the first person I've ever heard dispute that decision. Everyone else concedes it was a disaster all round for the champion. Incidentally, McGuigan HIMSELF chose Cruz. He was offered three opponents, one of them Cruz, and thought the local man was the easiest. This is all in his whinging autobiography, which ultimately cost him a lot of money when McGuigan claimed he entered the fight with a bad ankle. Former manager sued successfully over that claim. Even referee Richard Steele was called to give evidence.
The bottom line is: McGuigan had tried to turn a catastrophe into a controversey. He lost, plain and simple.

walsh b
11-02-2005, 09:32 AM
Well guys no matter what the decison was I know in my heart that Barry was streets ahead of Cruz....to say they fought on a level playing field is totally false. Cruz grew up and trained all his life in the sweltering heat, Barry never ever did. Not only punchstats, but I think Barry was the better fighter, Cruz had a few good rounds and knocked McGuigan down, that doesn't mean he deserves to take the title. Over the full 15, Barry was better.....Can any of you honestly say tthat Cruz would have beat Barry under normal fighting conditions???

I'm not trying to belittle Cruz and fair play to him, as he also put up a hell of a performance, but I am convinced he had a distinct advantage in that fight due to his geography, and in a sport so damn tough and stamina sapping as boxing, this was crucial

11-02-2005, 09:33 AM
So McGuigan had it tough out there! He got his world title shot in London, and defended twice in Ireland (unconvincingly) before Cruz.
McGuigan just didn't cut it as champ. Great fighters find a way to win, no matter what the circumstances. In 1952, Jimmy Carruthers defended his world bantamweight title in Thailand against a Thai in a rainstorm in front of 70,000. The two fighters fought barefoot, the ring was so slippery.
Carruthers found a way to win.

11-02-2005, 12:08 PM
First of all i don't believe in Boxstats, i believe my eyes,
second of all i do belive Cruz won that fight

Frank B.

11-02-2005, 12:44 PM
What are normal fighting conditions?

Frank B.

11-02-2005, 12:47 PM
Frankie...a major play was made in Britain and Ireland on the fact McGuigan fought in the desert heat. It was said, if McGuigan had fought Cruz in Europe, he would have walked the fight.

11-02-2005, 01:06 PM
When my son Tony fought Buddy McGirt it had to be 110 degrees inside the ring b/c of the t.v. lights an he never bitch about it

Frank B.

walsh b
11-02-2005, 01:30 PM
Did I say Barry bitched about it, all I'm saying is that Cruz had the advantage fighting in that heat...that's a fact of nature.....I think we'rte gettting our wires crossed.

And can you answer my question from my previous post Honestly

11-02-2005, 01:52 PM
This is a very nice topic. I'd like to see more on the difference between good and great.

11-02-2005, 02:06 PM
I honestly feel McGuigan's destiny meant, like Randolph Turpin, like Lionel Rose, like John H. Stracey, like Mike Rossman...like so many others who scaled the very highest mountain in winning their world title, they could never possibly hope to scale those heights again.
When McGuigan returned to Dublin after licking Pedroza in such great style in London, hundreds of thousands turned out to meet him. Somebody in his entourage (an Irish music star, whose name escapes me now) remarked.."enjoy this now, Barry, because it ain't gonna last."
"Boy, was he right," countered Barry in his autobiography. Barry's fate was an ill one as champ. He was a denied a spectacular win over Bernard Taylor, who, after outboxing McGuigan early on, quit on his stool abruptly rather than get knocked out, struggled to look good against a limited - but highly awkward Dominican Republican - Danilo Cabrera, then came the Cruz disaster on a nightmare Las Vegas bill when Bob Arum fighters, McGuigan, Duran and Hearns, all conspired to look absolutely lousy.
McGuigan showed class to quit at the right time in 1989. But, sadly, the Pedroza win in June 1985, was to be the only time he shined at world level. What will be, will be...

walsh b
11-03-2005, 07:29 AM
Beddows, I really feel the reason Barry didn't have more successes was simply because he nearly lost his life in that Desert heat and that's down to the greed and mismanagement of him as a fighter. I seriously believe that very few if any fighter of European descent could have really made an impact on world level if they had went thru what Barry did. That is how serious the fight was....The bottom line is that on his best night, Barry was a real class feather and on a one off fight scenario, Barry was top 5 in my opinion of all the great feathers. Can you name any other feather who had a more gruelling time in the ring in 100 degrees of heat over 15rds and is a European???

11-03-2005, 08:51 AM
To call Barry one of the top five featherweights of all time is ludicrous (in Britain alone, Howard Winstone and Naseem Hamed were far better than McGuigan, and I would even argue Paul Hodkinson's case over the Irishman...this is just in Britain). You judge McGuigan on what might have been. That's no premise. If Muhammad Ali hadn't been banned for three years at his peak he might have never lost.
It happened, just as McGuigan happened to lose in the desert to a massive underdog McGuigan had picked out himself.

walsh b
11-03-2005, 12:29 PM
Beddows, if you read my POST, you should see that I said on a one off fight on their best ever night, not the whole career. And to say that Clown Naseem who basically KO'd bums through the majority of his career would have beat a peak Barry tells me a lot....Naseem was a blody pozer who was brutally found out by Barerra, who didn't even break sweat by the way. The human punchbag McCullough made Naz look so ordinary....Barry had tons of stamina, great wokrate, top class chin and a damagng punch with either hand...don't ever insult the guy by claiming a clown like Naz could have beat him......How long would Naz have lasted with Pedroza, peak Pedroza or not......

11-03-2005, 01:42 PM
McGuigan couldn't fight going backwards...a major flaw you omit from your gushing list of positives.

walsh b
11-04-2005, 08:20 AM
Oh well I'm sorry he wasn't the perfect fighting machine, who is I ask??? all fighters have a certain weakness and I agree with you on Barry's, but know way would that mean Hamed could beat him, because to be quite honest, Hamed wouldn't have had the strength to push Barry back. And come to think of it, the only time I saw Barry on the backfoot and looking suspect was against Cruz late in that gruelling fight. I wonder why he was pushed back, has it anything to do with that ridiculous heat and the fact Barry was Irish??....McGuigan was a pressure fighter and was extremely hard to push around.....At his best he was a tough prospect for any Feather, mainly I say because of his chin and stamina....

11-04-2005, 03:14 PM
Simple: DeLisa is good...I'm great !!! :rollin

Just joking..we're all back seat to "The Bucket".

11-04-2005, 08:42 PM
Mcguigan doesnt belong in the hall of fame, but to make the silly statement that hamed was a 'far better' fighter is only founded on naz's superior longevity, which was based on a combination of weak to washed up competition and a concrete and experienced managerial team. While mcguigan's time was short, he faced better opposition in six months (laporte pedroza and taylor) than naz was successful against in his whole career put together.
Mcguigan entered the ring against cruz with a perforated eardrum and a badly sprained ankle with the threat of being sued by eastwood. That coupled with the severe heat made the situation virtually impossible. Its perfectly logical for mcguigan to get criticism for in light of some peoples overbearing devotion (looking your way walsh b) and his induction to the IBHOF, but looking at your posts here and some that have gone before makes me believe that there is something a little personal going on.

walsh b
11-08-2005, 09:03 PM
Mate, nothing personal...I just happen to think that Barry was disgracefully handled as regards the Cruz affair and I also feel that people do not seem to realise that Barry was far better than Cruz, he was done by that ridiculous heat which Cruz grew up in. I know you probably agree with me on this as your previous post....I also have said I see it as such a brave display by a fighter...had this fight taken place in Europe or somewhere humane, Barry could have been aroub=nd solid for at least 3-4 more yrs and would have probably fought Nelson. The final thing is that Barry almost lost his life in that fight, it was a hell of a lot more than just another tough fight...it was life or death and going on the guys talent as a fighter he definitely belongs in the hall of fame

11-10-2005, 02:20 AM
George Dixon
Terry McGovern
Abe Attell
Tony Canzoneri
Kid Chocoate
Henry Armstrong
Willie Pep
Sandy Saddler
Hogan “Kid” Bassey
Davey Moore
Sugar Ramos
Vicente Saldivar
Eder Jofre
Wilfredo Gomez
Marco Antonio Barrera
Erik Morales

Just for starters all of those feather champs by FAR rank ahead of Barry. To call him top 5 is simply not in the realm of reality ...

Walsh, I appreciate your ardor for McGuigan as a fighter but you're letting your feelings for the man blind you to the reality of what he was as a fighter.

I'm not denigrating Barry, who was a real warrior & a fine fighter. But he simply doesn't rank above any of the fighters I listed & there are plenty more. If you don't believe me got to the top of this page & click on the link for Encyclopedia.

There you will find a list of every feather champ there ever has been. Peruse their records & then look at Barry's. It's all there on the record for anybody to see plain as day.

Now, can we get back to what this thread was supposed to be about? I mean Walsh, you started a thread on what I thought was a very interesting subject & suddenly it morphed into a McGuigan thread.


walsh b
11-10-2005, 02:38 PM
Gor, isn't that the beauty of the CBZ's threads, how they banch out in all directions because two or more posters engage in interesting discussions based on their views of certain fghters. If a poster wants answers or reasons from me about something I'm not going to ignore them......Forget Barry, all I said was that on his best night(not whole career), he was top 5 in my opinion. I don't see any of the greats having it easy against him....

And the notion that Hamed could have beat him infuriated me a little....I'll leave Barry alone now, but was it me who started this thread??..I didn't think so??, maybe it was another similar thread......

11-10-2005, 03:45 PM

You're right it was somebody else that started this thread. My mistake. One last thing on Barry: Though I feel those feathers I listed out rank McGuigan in the big picture - it doesn't mean I think any of them would have walked through him. He would have been a tough nut for any feather to crack.

He definitely would have been competetive with any feather in history & he would have been a rough fight for any of the fighters I listed though I think they would have ultimately won.


walsh b
11-10-2005, 03:48 PM
Fair enough Gor, I agree fully. Maybe I just have a liking for the guy as he's Irish and he was a great personality...final point on Barry is that he was the finest Irish fighter I've ever seen.......


11-12-2005, 09:06 AM
Hogan bassey?? Are you serious? Bassey was fortunate to beat spider kelly (who beat bassey first time around).

11-12-2005, 09:07 AM
Some of you guys are so blinkered you belong on Eastside (the sad thing is, you even admit to your bias). Greatness is NOT something you bestow on someone with as short a shelf life at the top as McGuigan. I wouldn't call Hamed great, either, but he made 15 or so defences of his WBO featherweight title and even before he was champ, was destroying Mexicans, Argies, Puerto Ricans at super-bantam. Hamed at his peak versus McGuigan at his peak. Would McGuigan have jabbed Hamed out of it like Barrera? Oh no. He would have ploughed straight on to the Sheffield man's counters.

11-12-2005, 09:24 AM
For 'irish born' fighters, i'd rank Mclarnin the best ive ever seen and on a p4p list, i'd also have mcguigan well below mcauliffe and the original jack dempsey.

11-12-2005, 07:13 PM
I havent admitted any bias, nor have i said mcguigan was 'great'. After viewing a flamers argument between two comically contrasting and unsophisticated opinions on mcguigans ability, i merely tried to inject a practical middle ground into this silly tiff.
Personally, i dont enjoy talking about mcguigan.
Fifteen defences of that synthetic baubble the "WBO".
Hmmm. How impressive!

11-12-2005, 08:18 PM
Well, I can't argue with that. But Naz did win the WBC title, and fought (and beat) Vasquez just a few weeks after Vasquez had been ludicrously stripped of the WBA title.
Personally, I'm no great fan of Naz, either, but I am a fan of longevity at the top.

Steve McV
11-13-2005, 07:27 AM
Gentlemen, just to get things rolling again...

The idea was put forth that "great" could be defined by consistant performance against a high level of competition.

Sounds good, yes?

But I've found a problem, a fighter I would call "great" but has a weird problem with the above definition.

This fighter had nine fights against very capable opponents, guys who were contenders by anybody's measure. One even won a partial share of a championship.

His record against these contenders? Nine wins, seven by KO or TKO.

Not a bad record against contenders, agreed?

But when set against champions (other than the partial champ mentioned above) he fought five bouts... and lost four, three by KO or TKO.

The obvious question, who were the contenders this guy fought, and who were the champions? What quality were they?

The contenders were solid fighters; Bonavena (twice) Jerry Quarry (twice), Jimmy Ellis (twice), Machen, Chuvalo, Doug Jones.

The two champions who whipped this guy four out of five were Ali and Foreman.

So is Joe Frazier (and I would guess you figured out who I was talking about long before this) good or great? He slaughtered good fighters, but lost four out of five to great fighters.

Or is beating Ali enough to say "great"?

Folks, I'm not out to be critical of Frazier. But by the aforementioned definition of greatness, I'm not sure Smokin' Joe would be included... and frankly, I do think of Frazier as a great fighter.

Or maybe the answer lies not in how well a boxer fights other "great" fighters, but how he fares against contenders?

walsh b
11-16-2005, 06:24 AM
So Irishlad holds the monopoly on sophisticated arguements....you're a funny guy Irishlad....I don't see how they were unsophisticated, myself and Beddows just seem to disagree on how good or great Barry was. I see him as a great great fighter, Beddows sees him as quite good...is that too hard for you to follow, if so maybe you need a few lessons in sophistication!!!

11-16-2005, 12:22 PM
Steve, we have good, great, greater, greatest.

Joe Frazier is great, Foreman is greater, Ali is the greatest. Losing to other great fighters in not a bad thing, because they'd have to be awesomely great and on thier best night to beat you in the case of Foreman, or beat half to death in the case of Ali's third win over Frazier.