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Thread: Jose Napoles.........Am I missing something?

  1. #1
    pendleton23
    Guest

    Jose Napoles.........Am I missing something?

    I know alot of posters on this board hold Napoles very highly.
    And I repect there knowledge of boxing as well.
    That being said I have seen Napoles vs Lewis 1,Lopez 1,and Clyde Gray and I don't see how everyone rates Napoles so highly.I mean he dominated Lopez but he got hit alot more then someone who is suppose to be above average in defence and Gray hit him alot as well.I see the relaxed style but I also see someone that is flat-footed alot and not that hard to hit as made out to be.I mean I thought Lewis beat him the 1rst time.Are ther other bouts that feature Napoles maybe better then he was in these bouts?Because I just don't see how he could beat a Leonard,Curry or Hearns.

  2. #2
    starlingstomp
    Guest
    Get his fights with Cokes.

    Of the fights that are relatively easy to find-those showcase his skills the best.

    He lost a lot of his speed and reflexive movement very quickly into his title-reign and i would say it speaks volumes about his timing and mastery of the fundamentals that he was able to stay on top for so long.

  3. #3
    TKO11
    Guest
    Actually Pendleton, I agree with you to a fairly high degree on this one as well. Napoles never looked to me as amazing as most see him to be. Though I have to admit to only having seen him face extremely good fighters (including Gray, who I think was a much better fighter than you think he was).

  4. #4
    GorDoom
    Guest
    I'm with Pendelton on this. Recently my good pal & CBZ poster, Greg Beyer sent me a bunch of Napoles' fights including the Curtis Cokes ones.

    I don't get it ...

    Now before the "Mantequilla" fans start howling throughout cyberspace let me say that obviously he was an excellent fighter. & I've heard that at lightweight he was a real man eater.

    But the Napoles I see in these fights is a slow, small, welter with good power & excellent boxing skills - he reminds me a little of both Joe Louis & Carlos Ortiz.

    BUT ... I don't see a top ten all time welter.

    I know this is not the popular view of him. & I'm not trying to put him down, I have absolutely no animus toward him. It's just that what I see on film doesn't measure up to all the lavish praise he recieves.

    Off the top of my head, Ted "Kid" Lewis. Robinson, Ross, Armstrong, Griffith (in his prime not when he lost to Jose coming down from middleweight & well past his salad days), Rodrigues, Leonard, Benitez, Hearns, a prime Curry & Sweet Pea all beat him.

    & that's off the cuff. I'm sure if I examined it more closely there would be more. Just for instance I think fights with Marlon Starling, De La Hoya or Tito would have been extremely difficult but probably winnable fights for him.

    Is he an all time great? Yes. Is he top ten material? In my not-so-humble opinion, NO.

    GorDoom

  5. #5
    kikibalt
    Guest
    You have to have seen him when he was fighting as a lightweight to appreciate how good of a fighter he was , a friend of my who i have't seen in years had films of his early fights when he first came to mexico, an he was a better at 135 then he was at 147.


    Frank B.

  6. #6
    TKO11
    Guest
    In re-reading pendleton's post, there's one word in it that really boils down what I see when I watch Napoles: "relaxed".

    Not that there's anything wrong with that, being relaxed in the ring. It's just a "it all comes so natural, so I'm not working too hard" feeling that I get when I see him, and when he gets hit it appears to me to be simply because he's soooo relaxed in there.

    I could definitely be dead wrong about it. But that's exactly why I never saw him as the superduperstar many do.

  7. #7
    gregbeyer
    Guest
    yeah. gordoom as given me this argument before. maybe you had to be there.

    when you say relaxed...well they did call him matequilla...smooth as butter. by the time he won the welterweight title his best years were behind him yet still he beat some very tough welterweights and middleweights in non title fights. i saw him beat the hell out of lightheavy weight contender roger rouse in a sparring session.

    for the first lewis fight and the first muniz fight and his first backus fight.jose trained in night clubs so disinterested had he become in the training regimen. in the returns he showed who was boss.

    i think curtis cokes is an under rated welter but napoles realy did a job on him. red lopez who was an exceptionaly strong welter said after his second fight with napoles.."i'll never fight that guy again".

    most of the film we have on him is near his end when his skin became a major problem. yet still... watch him closely. one thing i always noticed when i saw him spar was that he almost never blocked punches. a subtle slip and counter. when you watch the second backus fight you might notice that while billy's face is coming apart and he is hitting the floor it still appears that napoles is coasting.

    and saying griffith was washed up when he fought jose is not fair either. emile fought a lot of fights after that affair. i do have one tape of him as lightweight but i cannot think of the guys name at the moment. it is a one round destruction of a good fighter...anyway i still rate him highly but by watching and judging him strictly on what tape there is of him i can see where people might doubt that he could stay with the hearns and leonards. if you ask cokes, lopez, muniz or backus you may find that they never doubted the guy was great.
    greg

  8. #8
    gregbeyer
    Guest
    the lightweight i was trying to remember was alfredo urbina. jose looked very much like ike williams taking out beau jack in that fight.
    greg

  9. #9
    GorDoom
    Guest
    Alfredo Urbina was one helluva fighter. To beat him badly was truly an accomplishment.

    Greg did make two good points that really are valid. 1- He's correct that Napoles by the time he won the welter titile, his best days were already behind him - just like with Cerdan when he won the middle title he was also past his prime.

    2- The "relaxed" issue. That IS why they called him Mantequilla -smooth as butter. I have always thought the best fighters were the ones that were relaxed in the ring - not tightly wound up. 2 examples of this are Duran & Foreman.

    In their younger days they were full of fire ready to bury any opponent in a shallow grave. The reason they were able to be so succesful years/decades later, was that they learned how to relax in the ring, go with the flow in the ring & pick their spots or point of attack.

    Conversley thats exactly why a fighter like Tommy Morrison, who had all the skills in the world, had such an ineffective career. He was so tightly wound that if he didn't get a guy out of their early he was usually in trouble by the middle rounds because he wasted so much energy being so wrapped tight.

    The Ray Mercer fight is the perfect example of what I'm talking about.

    But back to Napoles. I believe the reason he was as succesful as he was at welter was because he was so relaxed in the ring. He knew how to take his time & pick his spots.

    At any rate I'm not trying to imply that Napoles was not a great fighter & a deserving Hall Of Famer, only that I don't see him in the elite upper echelon of all time welters.

    GorDoom

  10. #10
    gregbeyer
    Guest
    here is something else i might say about napoles being "relaxed" in the ring. this guy was one of the most supremely confident fighters i ever saw. there was an air about this guy that was kind of scary.

    when he was in LA training for the return with backus it was obvious, as he stated he was ready to die in the ring getting the title back, that he was serious. it is arguably the best shape he had been in since before the first cokes fight. he was going thru sparring partners like shit thru a goose.

    at the public workouts at the elks building napoles would go about destroying spar mates in preparation for the return. he always seemed to be in a surly mood. once a cameraman flashed napoles eyes with a flash bulb while he was sparring and jose turned on the guy and gave him a glare that almost had the poor guy shitting his pants. after his exit backus came in and struggled with his sparring partners. the guy was in incredible condition but it looked like uncle carmen basilio was still trying to teach him how to fight.

    watching these workouts i could not figure out how backus did as well as he did in the first go with mantequilla. nobody had to teach jose anything at this point. at the time i was watching all this i knew that this was the best fighter i ever saw period. i also knew, though it was hard to admit because i had gotten to know basilio and saw what a nice guy billy backus was that backus was in for a bad beat. come the nite of the fight the champion was made to look like a novice at the hands of this smooth mechanic.

    the memory of seeing napoles fight and train always stuck with me. to me he came down a tougher road than most and when comparing what i saw of him to what came later i may give him more credit than a lot people do these days but at his best i give him a shot at beating anybody. tainted or no...thats the way i see it.
    greg

  11. #11
    HEGrant
    Guest

    Re: Napoles

    I'll tell you one thing, he took a hell of a shot. In the Monzon fight once Carlos finally caught up with him he spent the whole sixth round pummeling the hell of of him. He blasted Napoles like Schmeling hitting Louis in their first fight the entire round. Naoples could not come out for the seventh but he never went down..you have to see it again to belive it.

  12. #12
    StingerKarl
    Guest

    Mantequilla

    Bucket and I will agree to disagree here, as Jose beats all of those guys IMO.
    I don't see Pernell or Curry lasting 6 rounds with the guy, as a matter of fact.
    Armstrong would have been torn to shreds by the master counterpuncher, and Ross would have has his facial features rearranged and been knocked flat.
    Napoles was a master of timing and would put his shots inside of Hearns' and gotten Tommy out of there as well.
    Hearns had neither the chin nor the leg strength to beat Mantequilla.
    Griffith, Leonard, Benitez, (whom I all admire) would ultimately lose great chess matches and invariably would have been checkmated by the King of the welterweights.
    Napoles' sternest test would have come in the form of Robinson who was pushed to the limit by Tommy Bell, Fritzie Zivic, and Marty Servo at welterweight.
    Napoles wins a hard fought 15 round decision.
    Lewis I have seen limited footage of, and I don't think he beats any of the fighters Gordoom mentioned here.
    Karl

  13. #13
    TKO11
    Guest

    Napoles

    Regarding 'relaxed', I understand your points completely, agree completely, and perhaps didn't make my point very obvious. It wasn't that he was relaxed in the ring, it was that he looks to me to be so relaxed that he isn't working hard. Laxidasical (sp?). Lacsidasical? How do you spell that, anyway?

    GorDoom brought up Duran, who was also compeltely relaxed. But he was working man, and grinding when he needed to. While having no tension, he still didn't give the impression that he was cakewalking through anything. That's the impression Napoles left me with.

    And again, I'm not putting him down. It's just the weird flavor all of his fights (that I've seen, admittedly only ten or so) have left me with. Not taking a thing away from him, or running him down. But that's why I think he has real trouble with most of the great welters.

  14. #14
    kikibalt
    Guest

    Re: Mantequilla

    I have to agree with most of what Karl said about Napoles.
    The only guys mentioned here that i think would beat Napoles are SRR and SRL


    Frank B.

  15. #15
    pendleton23
    Guest

    Re: Mantequilla

    If Hedge can outbox Napoles then Hearns has a great chance.
    Hedge is neither as fast or nearly as strong as Hearns.And I think Hedeg's chin might be worse then Hearn's chin.
    But yet he almost drops Napoles with a righthand.My intentions are not to start a flame war but to get a better understanding of why Napoles is regarded so highly.
    Napoles never fought anyone with the speed of Leonard and I don't think Napoles could have coped with that.Throw in Leonard's heart and chin and what you have is a long night for Napoles.
    I mean the 1rst Lopez bout is suppose to be a great performance by Napoles and Lopez landed alot of punches on Napoles.The problem I have with that is while Lopez is a very good boxer he is not in the class of Leonard,Hearns,and such.
    I think Napoles was probabley a great lightweight and had to wait so long for a title shot that when he did win a title people remembered him in his prime at lightweight as a great boxer and it carried over into his title reign.

  16. #16
    SigniferSanctusMichael
    Guest

    Re: Mantequilla

    "Ross would have has his facial features rearranged and been knocked flat."

    Ross was never knocked off his feet in 81 fights - not by Petrolle, Ray Miller, McLarnin, Armstrong or Garcia. The statement above seems to me like fairly empty rhetoric.

  17. #17
    StingerKarl
    Guest

    Napoles

    Empty rhetoric, huh pal?
    I don't know what your personal boxing background or involvement in the sport is, but I didn't just jump out with that remark before I analyzed it first.
    Back in the days Ross was fighting, most of those guys didn't really even know what they were doing.
    Take a look at how soft Ross' body was compared to the Cuban's.
    Jose's vicious body attack would leave deep red and blue welts all over the sides of Barney's body which would soften him up for the knockout blows upstairs.
    Two different classes of fighters and two different classes of athletes here.
    Ross was not in Mantequilla's class as a fighter, IMO.
    His nose would have been smashed by the scythelike shots of Napoles, and those rib roasters Barney would have been hit with would have sent waves of misery through the brave but outmanned hero of New York.
    I think Napoels could have taken Ross and Miller on the same day in fact.
    Ross was truly a wonderful fighter for his era, but could do nothing to keep Napoles off of him, and would have been absolutely overpowered by the Cuban strongman.
    Also; I didn't think the first Lewis fight was close, and Jose certainly was not outboxed.
    Bill O'Neill gave Lewis only 5 rounds, and ticked off Ryan O'Neal when he told him so in Hedge's dressing room after the fight.
    Hedgemon waited until the last 4 rounds to really start fighting and IMO lost big.
    Jose left no doubt as to who the better man was in the return.
    Karl

  18. #18
    Hagler04
    Guest

    re: Ross

    Stinger I completly disagree

    All of the films I've seen of Ross, Canzoneri, Garcia etc. show me a lot more then "guys who didn't really even know what they were doing," which is a pretty ludicrous statement. Ross and his top challengers were masters at countering, picking shots, and had enough stamina and guts for any fighter in their weight class, period. Ross vs Napoles-I don't know, but a one-sided blowout it would not be, and Ross was most definetly in his class. Anything a modern fighter does you can see done, and to perfection, in films of the 1930s lightweights and welterweights. It was a great era for boxing.

  19. #19
    wildhawke11
    Guest

    Re: Mantequilla

    SSM
    I agree 100% with you Barney Ross was one great fighter and could have completed with anyone at his weight. Maybe Mantequilla could pull of a win but its certainly no foregone conclusion by a long shot.

  20. #20
    crold1
    Guest

    :)

    Not that there is anything wrong with being drunk

  21. #21
    GorDoom
    Guest

    Re: Napoles

    Karl:

    It wasn't a cheap shot by any means. people DO have the right to disagree with you & I'm one of them. Your comments abut Ross are so far off base I won't even comment other than I've always thought you understood boxing, those comments make me wonder.

    Let's just say people can disagree with you without you takiing it so personally. Just because you believe something doesn't neccessarily mean your right.

    You think Napoles is the greatest welter of all time?

    Fine. I think you're wrong. So what? Relax, my man, it's just boxing.

    GorDoom

  22. #22
    StingerKarl
    Guest

    Napoles

    Look Hagler, this is between this guy and me.
    Please don't flame in here, ok?
    He took a cheap shot at me, and now so did you.
    Please stay out of this.
    Karl

  23. #23
    crold1
    Guest

    Re: Napoles

    Karl...all he said was that it was empty rhetoric and gave historical reasons to why. That's not a cheap shot. As a regular poster, I'll take the liberty to say this:

    Hagler has as much right to chime in as anyone, especially since you always like to pull the "I was a fighter" once card as if that is the only real tool to measure who will win a fight. Now, I'm not trying to set off another of your rants where you start challenging people to beat them up, but Hagler was hardly 'flaming' in. Calm down; your posts can be great and no need to resort back to the sort of reactions that leave some wondering if you're drunk while posting.

  24. #24
    StingerKarl
    Guest

    Re: Napoles

    OK brother, fair enough but I am stone cold sober.
    I may be a pit punchy, but not drunk.
    Karl

  25. #25
    StingerKarl
    Guest

    Bucket

    OK strong brother, I know I am in the minority here in regards to rating Mantequilla Number One.
    I just don't think Ross could have competed with the man on a level conducive to a certain degree of success is all.
    I admire any individual that wins a World Title, and I admire Barney for not only his in the ring victories, but for his out of the ring victories over drugs as well.
    Both Great Champions, I don't think anyone can deny that fact.
    Karl

  26. #26
    GorDoom
    Guest

    Re: Bucket

    Little known fact about Ross: He, not Armstrong, was the first man to hold 3 titles at the same time. & for some reason historians have never given him credit for that accomplishment.

    Here's the sitch; Ross was the lighweight & jr. welter champion when he fought & beat McLarnin for the welter title. Ross was a great lightweight champion but he took the jr. welter title seriously having defended it 10 times succesfully.

    Why he has never been credited for doing this well before Armstrong did it is a mystery to me.

    GorDoom

  27. #27
    thumper3852
    Guest
    My basis for keeping Napoles rated so highly probably stems in large part from his complete dismantling of Curtis Cokes and doing it again in the rematch proving it wasn't a fluke.

    At the time Curtis Cokes was on quite a run, he didn't appear beatable by anyone on the horizon.....and it was over just that quick...he was never quite the same fighter afterwards.

    Napoles, like many others, didn't get his big shot until later in his career....he definitely made the most of it..........and man was he smooth....

  28. #28
    Dan Hanley
    Guest
    Part of the Napoles mystique may lay in an article I read once after Napoles title defence against Roger Menetrey. I mean, you're all right when referring to him as laid back. This was Napoles. Sometimes he could look like a wrecking ball, other times like he was sleep-walking. The writer of the Menetrey article summed it up nicely when he stated that "Napoles only seems to do what he has to to beat the opponent in front of him". The article goes on to suggest that we probably have never seen the real Napoles as he never fights in top gear. If he did go balls out every fight there might be a different view of him. I hated him back then but only because I was a big Lewis and Muniz fan and wanted to see my boys beat him. His first fight with Hedge which I thought was close, but agreed with, I recently saw again and I didn't think it was really that close this time. I was now wincing at Napoles body attack. His second fight with Hedge I really thought he was ready to be taken. I thought Hedge fought a dumb fight waiting for the old guy to peter out. I still think he should have attacked immediately and worn him down, but you can't play a waiting game with a puncher like Napoles. I still think Muniz was robbed blind in their first fight but concede that Napoles fought brilliantly in the rematch. Time has given me a greater appreciation of Napoles. He did not have a flaw other than his eyes and they would be a major concern in a fight against Leonard or Hearns. I could see both Hearns and Leonard on the canvas as Napoles hooks seemed to come out of nowhere. Possibly he could have kept Hearns on the canvas. In his fight with Monzon Napoles actually did a very good job in the first two rounds of getting inside Monzon's reach and Hearns jaw was nothing like Monzon's. Leonard would be tougher as he could handle a punch and rise from a knockdown. Tough fights but again, I don't know if his eyes would hold up. Napoles is definitely a top ten welterweight however.

    Dan

  29. #29
    Ted Spoon
    Guest

    Listen

    "Napoles only seems to do what he has to to beat the opponent in front of him".
    That about sums up Napoles' work ethic. Exciting fighters are usually not the smartest. Napoles was both economic and paced to maximize his chances of victory.

    Napoles would reply to fighters rushing him with potent counter punches -- turning their eagerness into consuming caution as he began a breaking down process.

    The first Ernie Lopez fight punctuates this example better than any other:

    He comes out hard, working Napoles' head n' body. He is setting a fast pace when out of nowhere a perfectly timed looping left hook put's him on his pants, robbing him of his previous confidence -- it was all down hill from there.

    The most important point has already been brought up, that being that Napoles did not get his break until he was an old 28 years of age. The ban in Cuba, his cut problem, and perhaps just a curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time saw him not rise to the top despite win's over guy's like Urbina, Perkins, and Hernandez.

    Probably his two most prominent victories over Cokes and Griffith explained the problem most fighters had with Napoles. Both fighters after facing the Cuban-born Mexican claimed that they "couldn't get off". Indeed if one carefully studies Napoles' ring movement he implemented numerous unsettling leg dips as he looked for openings. Very hard to set up hence why they were both so gun-shy.

    Take into account his whole careers work and you have a P4P great. As a Welterweight in the top 5 without Question in Ted Spoons mind.

  30. #30
    GorDoom
    Guest

    Napoles

    While I disagree with you, you elucidated your points very well & obviously know your stuff.

    I like that.

    Welcome to the board, Ted!

    regards,

    GorDoom

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