Jeffries #1 of all time ? First off, everyone in his era ,fought in antiquated, stupid stances with their heads way back, their left hands straight out away from their bodies and practically ALL of their weight on their back foot. I am not talking about Charley Burley, or Schmelling, or the Soviet Bloc style either, Jeffries' era is an exaggerated style of that. Most of them don't jab, don't throw straight right hands, don't throw combinations, can't slip a punch (they sway their heads further back). They fight a quasi-wrestling style of holding and hitting. Jeffries was no different. Watch his fight with Tom Sharkey, what's the big deal ? All i see is two guys holding and mauling each other, sprinkled in with a few roundhouse punches. Jeffries' vaunted power ? I find it interesting that he couldn't knock out a middleweight Joe Choynski. I realize that Jeffries wasn't experianced-(not that you had to be in that era) but i am sure Foreman, Liston, Ali or any other heavy near Jeffries weight will KO a middleweight (I suppose George Foreman in 1971 would fight Carlos Monzon to a draw, or a 1962 Muhammad Ali would fight Joey Archer to a draw- they wouldn't even license those bouts). I loved Jeff's plan of attack in the first Corbett fight (a bout in which the greatest heavyweight in history, lost about 20 out of the first 23 rounds against an older fighter ,who Jeffries had a 30 llb weight advantage) . According to the reports-" Jeff was in a crouch, with his head far back and his left arm out straight, then Jeff charged corbett, using his straight left hand like a battering ram". I am sure that would work against Ali (unless Ali broke out laughing, which is a good possibility if he saw something that stupid). Of coarse when you have two fighters leaning back, tying each other up, 165 llber's can magically hang with 215 llber's.
It's interesting that a lot of these self-proclaimed "Boxing Historians" (I doubt that 90% of them have degrees in history) on one hand blast modern fighters for not fighting 200 fights, and scream what a farse it is when guys win titles in their 13th fight, but they ignore the fact that Jeffries won a title in what, his 12th fight (I can't remember). The fact was that Jeffries was huge for his era (6-2,215) strong, and had athletic ability, so in THAT ERA of limited skills, it didn't take much to contend. Of coarse, I would even question Jeffries' supposed Track times. If you match Jeff's alleged feats to the Olympic times of the era (1896) he'd have about 5 world records. Just because David Willoughby wrote that Jeffries did these feats, doesn't make them true. The first thing they teach you in history is SOURCE CRITICISM, which doesn't mean that you take something to be true if you find it in a book
(even if it supports your theory). Mickey Mantle allegedly ran a 3.1 going to first base, of coarse the person who made he claim was the Yankee publicity man, who was a notorious bullshitter (I can't remember his name). Hey why bother checking the source ?
Boxing was in it's infancy at the turn of the century, it was converting over from the bare knuckle era-that's why everyone fought that way. I can see why Dempsey ate that style up- and basically made the style of Jeffries, corbett, Fitz, Burns, and Johnson OBSOLETE. Christ, Jim Corbett was credited with being the first fighter to throw a left hook (I am sure it was better than Frazier's, who took years to perfect his), same with the jab. And how good was Corbett, the same guy who could win 20 out of 23 rounds against Jeff ? He didn't have a clue how to react when Fitz nailed him with a body shot- he was paralyzed and the people at the fight were in a state of shock about the vaunted "solar plexes punch" - What kind of an era is that ? I havn't even mentioned that black fighters were also shut out of heavyweight title fights as well. Last point-don't tell me Choynski had a "freakish" chin, since 145 llb Joe Walcott KO'ed him. I know Barbados Joe Walcott hits harder than Foreman.