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Thread: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

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    Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Here's an Oldie but a Goodie, an article from the June 1998 issue of Wail!, The CBZ boxing Journal. It was written by Tracy Callis the head of the CBZ history dept. Even though it's 13 years old it's as applicable today as it was back then.

    GorDoom


    Tracy G. Callis
    CBZ Historian
    International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO)


    Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger (from WAIL! - June, 1998)

    INTRODUCTION

    Are athletes of today better than those of the past ? Was Muhammad Ali the greatest heavyweight ever ? Is Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever ? Is Mark McGwire the greatest homerun hitter ever ?

    The argument that athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger is heard frequently today and there is little doubt that this is true. It is also heard that because they are bigger, faster, and stronger - they are better - and many of the top performers in today's sports are rated better than their predecessors. But, are they really ?

    One must be careful in making a judgment. Various sports require different skills, comply with different rules, and are played in different ways, In some sports, man competes against nature on a time or distance basis. In other sports, man competes against man on an action/reaction basis and style of play becomes more important than time or distance.

    BIGGER, FASTER AND STRONGER

    A magnificent book, The Super Athletes, written by David Willoughby and published in 1974, analyzes athletic performances in many sports and is referenced in this article.

    Willoughby writes "... the records of modern athletes, sport, industry, and medical science combine to show that the civilized portion of the human race is bigger, stronger, and healthier in general today than ever before in history." (Introduction, The Super Athletes)

    All one has to do is check the height and weight statistics to see that the athletes are larger. Perhaps, the strongest argument that modern athletes are better is the continuous setting of new records in track, field, and swimming events where precise measurements of performances can be made.

    Willoughby states "The reason why date of performance is important is because with the passage of time there is an increase in population, and the larger the population the greater the probability of an extraordinary record. In short, athletic records, like those of height and weight, or any other expressions of human diversity that can be measured, range in magnitude in ratio to the size of the population from which the record is drawn.

    Accordingly, in a large population of competitors (no matter what the events), the best performance should be expected to be of high caliber, and vice-versa." (page 585, The Super Athletes)

    Further, Willoughby contends "A second factor that should be taken into account in the "weight" events is the size of the performer. This means not only his bodyweight, but also his height. Since greater height and weight assist a performer in such events as weightlifting, the shot put, the hammer throw, the 56-pound weight throw, and even the lightweight javelin throw ..." (pages 585-586, The Super Athletes)

    MAN AGAINST NATURE

    In "Man Against Nature" events such as track, field, and swimming, the best technique coupled with specific athletic abilities bring about better performance. Judgment is clear on time and distance. Putting the shot sixty-five feet is better than putting it sixty. Running one hundred meters in 10.5 seconds is better than running it in 10.7 seconds.

    As time passes and people get bigger, faster, and stronger and utilize better techniques, athletic performances improve. Times get lower and distances farther. So, do the athletes get better over the years in these sports? It appears that they do.

    Yet, even in these "Man Against Nature" sports, there are rules changes and innovations which assist the human in his battle against the physical world - starting blocks, fiberglass poles, corked tracks and springy boards for launching broad jumps, etc. So, factors other than pure athletic ability creep into the picture and complicate the task of comparing athletes.

    GENERALIZATION

    A dangerous mistake in judgment may occur. A generalization might take place - since athletes perform better than they used to in "Man Against Nature" sports (i.e. a recent 65 foot shot put is better than the old 60 foot put), they perform better in all sports.

    MAN AGAINST MAN

    In "Man Against Man" sports or "Team Against Team" sports (which ultimately boil down to "Man Against Man"), performance is based upon a reaction by one competitor to an action by the other competitor (and not simply a case of running fast or throwing an object a great distance). Speed, power, and quickness offer advantages but often are not as important as "savvy", anticipation, and the correct action/reaction.

    In baseball, a "Team Against Team" sport (really "Man Against Man"), when a batter faces pitchers, certainly sixty-one homeruns in a season is a better number than sixty. But, did the performer do better ? The number was not attained by strictly competing against nature so much as it was by a man competing against other men on an action/reaction basis. In boxing, a 75 percent knockout ratio is better than 70 percent but it is accomplished by a man competing against other men on an action/reaction basis too.

    NUMBERS

    It can be argued that in "Man Against Man" competition, big numbers do not truly indicate a superior athlete or better performance but just the opposite. It is easier to beat a weaker or lesser-skilled man than it is to beat a stronger or better-skilled man. It is easier to rack up numbers against lesser-skilled men than against higher-skilled ones. An athlete is more likely to break records against weaker opposition than against better opposition. Only in "Man Against Nature" sports does lesser time and greater height and distance definitely mean better.

    STYLE

    In "Man Against Nature" sports, a change in technique can be an improvement in that it enables a man to do better in his quest for a faster time or greater distance. In "Man Against Man" sports, technique also can improve performance and is very closely related to the "style" of play.

    Depending upon the sport, style can be a dominant factor. It often offsets "bigger, faster, and stronger".

    As difficult as it is to compare athletic performances over the years in "Man Against Man" or "Team Against Team" sports such as boxing, baseball, basketball, and football, any comparison is confounded further by the styles used by the men.

    Willoughby addresses this as it relates to boxing - "... the matter of differing styles ... makes fighters (boxers vs. sluggers ) so difficult to rate. Instead of more or less uniform techniques - such as apply in running, jumping, swimming, and other athletic events - that can be measured, in boxing (and for that matter wrestling, judo, etc.) no such exact measurement is possible. In these man-to-man encounters, unless a decisive victory - such as a knockout or a fall - is scored, the decision as to the winner rests with the referee and the judges. And, needless to say, the official decision is frequently rejected by the majority sometimes the great majority - of spectators and followers." (page 355, The Super Athletes)

    SUMMARY (ATHLETES)

    Today, athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger but it all depends upon the sport as to whether they are truly better than those of the past. Different sports have different rules and different objectives (jump, run, throw, etc.). One example was Michael Jordan in baseball. He was bigger. Was he better? Another example is Deion Sanders in baseball. He is faster. Is he better? What about Jorge Luis Gonzalez in boxing? He is bigger. Is he better?

    The skills needed to succeed in a given sport must be such that they enable a man to compete successfully against others. A man who has an abundance of a particular skill may be better than others who possess better "all-around" skills. A standout athlete in one sport may be simply average in another. And, as strange as it seems, the daily activities of a particular period in past history may have equipped individuals better for a certain type of competition than today's activities.

    It is the opinion of this writer that the best athletes of all-time could compete with each other on a "near-equal" basis with slight advantages "here and there" going to certain men who possessed "this or that" skill or attribute (depending upon the sport and how the various traits matched up). The modern athlete is not necessarily better than his predecessors.

    Rules of the game, mental discipline, and style affect outcomes of competition as often as size, speed, quickness, agility, strength, and stamina do.

    HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO BOXERS ?

    Boxing is a "Man Against Man" sport in which being bigger, faster, and stronger offers an advantage. But, style offsets this physical edge. So, in this sport, those who combine physical advantages with good technique have the upper hand.

    Is the modern fighter the only man to possess the physical advantages or the skills ? No. There have been men with size, speed, and strength throughout history. In addition, various styles have been developed and utilized. Many exceptional fighters have appeared over the past 120 years.

    Could Muhammad Ali of the 1960s fight the athletes of today? "Yes" - and be better. Go back thirty or forty years before Ali. Could Joe Louis of the 1930s or Jack Dempsey of the 1920s fight with the men of the 1960s or 1990s? Again, a resounding "yes" - and be better! Go back further. Could Jim Jeffries of the early 1900s or Jack Johnson of the teens fight with men of the 1930s or 1960s or 1990s ? Once more, "yes" - and be better

    Two recent examples of older fighters proving their merit against the modern men are George Foreman and Larry Holmes (of the 1970s and 1980s). They held their own against the fighters of today and pounded most of them.

    For style to offset the physical advantages, one must possess the technique, mental discipline, and physical conditioning.

    TECHNIQUE

    Technique is the better (or best) way of doing this or that. It came about as a way to use an individual's particular combination of height, weight, speed, and strength in an effort to beat the physical advantage or skills of an opponent. Foot movement, head movement, bobbing-and-weaving, crouching, hand feints, doubling up on jabs, straight punches, etc. are examples of technique.

    Most techniques used by today's fighters were well-known by the 1920s and used regularly by fighters since then. Little if any advantage is seen here for the modern fighters over the early fighters.

    WEIGHTS

    Weights are utilized by boxers today in training much more than ever. A strength advantage is seen for the modern fighter due to his more frequent use of weights. But, care must be exercised to prevent the fighter from becoming too heavily muscled or "stiff" because limber arm and shoulder movement is a valuable asset which a fighter does not want to lose.

    Weights were used in the old days too as evidenced by many old films but not to the extent that they are used today. However, years ago much manual labor was carried out by everyone, including boxers who worked at other jobs. So, hard work, chopping, digging, moving, lifting, carrying, positioning for leverage - on a daily basis - provided skills which those boxers utilized in the ring. This fact might serve to counter the strength advantage of the modern fighters.

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC "HUNGER"

    The "hungry" athlete is a worthy adversary and is usually a product of the "have-not" environment from which he comes. A study conducted by Weinberg and Arond and reported in The American Journal of Sociology (1952) states that most fighters (and, consequently, most good fighters) are likely to come from poor families which are at the bottom of the socio-economic scale.

    The modern fighter who comes from this background possesses this "advantage". But, as one looks back through history, it is seen that more and more families - black, white, and otherwise - came from poorer socio-economic levels. So, it seems that the earlier years of our history produced more "hungry" fighters and provided this advantage to its fighters.

    MENTAL DISCIPLINE

    The society of earlier years in this nation (and most other nations) insisted upon strict adherence to its rules. This attitude prevailed in athletics as well. An athlete who was trained in a certain manner to fight a certain way generally followed the rules while in training and fought his fight as planned.

    "Absolute" insistence to follow the rules by those in charge developed an "absolute" resolution to do so on the part of the fighter. This, in turn, cultivated an "absolute" will an indomitable will - in many cases. So, it seems that an earlier time in our history produced men of a greater "will" and has the advantage here.

    Furthermore, many of today's boxers fight "dumb". They follow their opponent around almost in a straight-line, they do not cut off the ring, they fight in a straight-up stance, they hardly ever crouch, and they position themselves at a range which is perfect for the opponent to strike. No wonder Ali was able to jab his foes so easily (which is not a putdown to him).

    PHYSICAL CONDITION

    The rather lax mental attitude of today's society has affected its trainers and boxers. Many boxers today fail to train adequately and abandon their fight plan in the course of a fight. Many times, the poor physical condition is obvious. Many trainers do not insist upon rigid adherence to his rules of training. Many give in to the whims of the lazy or rich or ranked pugilist.

    Consequently, the men are not as well conditioned physically as they could/should be. Those who are in good shape usually win. If an athlete is bigger and heavier and not in condition, he will be a sitting duck when he becomes tired. Many boxers have fat bellies hanging over their trunks and, consequently, they tire after three or four rounds.

    SUMMARY (BOXERS)

    Boxing is a sport in which "bigger, faster, and stronger" provides a definite advantage but does not necessarily equate to being better. As useful as height, weight, speed, and strength are, they are not as important as the correct action/reaction which is generally associated with style and technique.

    A fighter needs savvy, mental discipline, physical conditioning and stamina. The modern fighters seem to have an edge in strength and a slight edge in technique. The fighters of the past appear to have the advantage in mental discipline, physical conditioning, stamina, and hunger.

    It is the opinion of this writer that fighters of the past were better.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    well.... you can drop mark maguire from that list of greats and add a section on steroid use. 13 years after.....

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    I disagree with the basic premise humans are bigger, faster and stronger than say 100 years. Human evolution doesn't work close to that quickly. People always point to Olympic records being broken, but that's apples and oranges. Put Bob Hayes on a modern track in modern shoes training year round in track and field and he's right up there the top 2-3 in the world right now, maybe even up there with the Jamaican, although Bolt may be just a once in a lifetime freak . . .ditto with swimming records. In the early 1900s, Olympic 'swimmers' swam laps in the frikkin' ocean for practice. Plus you have many more people engaging in sports like swimming and running than you ever did 100 years ago, leading to deeper talent pools (which of course lead to records being broken). Whereas boxing has gone in the opposite direction.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    But, humans are that little bit bigger and stronger than 100 years ago, naturally so too.

    Soccer I think is the best example. The players today are faster, bigger, stronger than those
    from even 30-40 years ago. Go back 100 years and I think it's really clear the difference
    in size, power, speed etc.

    Swimmers are also bigger men than years ago. Height and wingspan and feet/foot size are
    so important for swimmers, and the men today are noticeably bigger than years gone by.

    So, it is not just records or eras here. The actual physical size of the competitor is very
    important. Swimmres who were 6 feet tall 100 years ago can train all they like; they will still
    be at a disadvantage when meeting swimmers who are 6 feet 5 and over. Longer arms, bigger feet
    etc.

    Tennis is another example. The men are bigger and faster and stronger. Height can be very
    helpful in tennis. A powerful serve is usually associated with a taller and heavier man. Now, they
    too must be skilled, but when all things are equal, the bigger men usually do better,. Michael
    Chang was a great player, but his lack of size did play a part in him not being even better.
    Last edited by walshb; 11-23-2011 at 05:15 AM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Human evolution just does not happen that fast, in one or two human lifetimes. Heavyweights aren't any bigger than 50 years ago, they're just grossly overweight for the most part, with the other few pumped up weight lifters, and the quality of the fights has greatly suffered because of all this excess weight and focus on 'strength'. Obviously the division attracts a few more giants now, and its difficult to imagine a division better suited to the needs of guys like the Klitschko brothers, when they cannot fight at a pace, cannot move very fast and need a massive target to be their most effective.

    Bah!

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb View Post
    But, humans are that little bit bigger and stronger than 100 years ago, naturally so too.

    Soccer I think is the best example. The players today are faster, bigger, stronger than those
    from even 30-40 years ago. Go back 100 years and I think it's really clear the difference
    in size, power, speed etc.

    Swimmers are also bigger men than years ago. Height and wingspan and feet/foot size are
    so important for swimmers, and the men today are noticeably bigger than years gone by.

    So, it is not just records or eras here. The actual physical size of the competitor is very
    important. Swimmres who were 6 feet tall 100 years ago can train all they like; they will still
    be at a disadvantage when meeting swimmers who are 6 feet 5 and over. Longer arms, bigger feet
    etc.

    Tennis is another example. The men are bigger and faster and stronger. Height can be very
    helpful in tennis. A powerful serve is usually associated with a taller and heavier man. Now, they
    too must be skilled, but when all things are equal, the bigger men usually do better,. Michael
    Chang was a great player, but his lack of size did play a part in him not being even better.
    You have a much bigger pool of professional soccer players than 100 years ago. Hell, 50-60 years ago much of the football world was still colonized by Europe . . ditto with swimmers and tennis which have increased in popularity to a large degree from say the 1930s (even though you are exaggerating the size differences between today and the past. Tennis still has a majority of top players of regular height. Was Agassi a giant? Soccer players are still wholly skinny guys, many of whom are around 6 ft or less. It's not like they are all 220 lb guys 6'3 and over. In fact thinking about it, I don't think tennis/soccer players are any taller on average than 30-40 years ago.)
    As for boxing, the HW division has not gotten any taller as OR pointed out, only fatter/heavier.
    Last edited by hagler04; 11-23-2011 at 09:57 PM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    I echo Overhand Right and hagler04.

    You can't just say athletes are bigger and better, proof is needed. And for the most part, today's athletes are less skilled than in prior generations because they never learned the right way in the first place-- they are poorly schooled in comparison. Then they are kicked up to the big time to make lots of money because the talent pool already there is weak. Worsening the problem.

    They are also inherently lazier than, say, those from the Great Depression era as well. Big money too soon has helped cause that.

    There are some exceptions to all of the foregoing, of course.

    Humans sure haven't changed genetically in 100 years, either. Microscopic steps at best.
    Last edited by Michael Frank; 11-23-2011 at 10:29 PM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by hagler04 View Post
    You have a much bigger pool of professional soccer players than 100 years ago. Hell, 50-60 years ago much of the football world was still colonized by Europe . . ditto with swimmers and tennis which have increased in popularity to a large degree from say the 1930s (even though you are exaggerating the size differences between today and the past. Tennis still has a majority of top players of regular height. Was Agassi a giant? Soccer players are still wholly skinny guys, many of whom are around 6 ft or less. It's not like they are all 220 lb guys 6'3 and over. In fact thinking about it, I don't think tennis/soccer players are any taller on average than 30-40 years ago.)
    As for boxing, the HW division has not gotten any taller as OR pointed out, only fatter/heavier.
    I didn't exaggertate the difference. I think I said that we are that little bit bigger. And , little bits do play a part. Of course we will always have examples of smaller athletes today that are still successful, but overall, athletes seem stronger and better and faster etc. And, that has to do with a lot of things, including the size increases. Small as they may seem, they are increases. Technology and diet and knowledge also being big factors. We as humans strive to improve. I don't see what is odd to think that today we are better than those from 100 years ago. And, they, are better than those from 200
    years ago. It's natural progression. Also, I am not saying we aso so better, not am I saying that some special athletes from 50 years ago could not be good today. I am saying that overall and in general that athletes today are that bit better.

    MF, you mentioned money making athletes that bit lazy?

    One could say that money, and big money, has made many determined, hungry and
    obsessed with getting to the top to reap the reward.

    Take away rewards and athletes could lose focus and passion. Money drives so many people.

    Humans have changed in 100 years, and I would say noticeably

    Living a good deal longer on average. That is a change that affects the whole body.
    Last edited by walshb; 11-24-2011 at 11:22 AM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb View Post
    MF, you mentioned money making athletes that bit lazy?

    One could say that money, and big money, has made many determined, hungry and
    obsessed with getting to the top to reap the reward.

    Take away rewards and athletes could lose focus and passion. Money drives so many people.
    Big disagreement with you there, my friend. Other than on the part about money driving so many people, with which I agree. But once you're a multi-millionaire, the hunger--key word-- is just not the same, when you know you'll be wealthy whether you perform well or not. It's sure there, however, when you know it's either reaching the big time or "going back to eating beans" (per Salvador Sanchez, 1980)

    One of the best of many examples: Back when the owners of professional sports teams truly had the power, Mickey Mantle had just come off a triple-crown-winning year-- a rare event when one man leads a major league in home runs, batting average, and RBIs. He held out during the following spring training for something like $5000 more per year-- this was around 1955 or 1956-- but was forced to rejoin his team, without his salary increase, when the Yankees' owner threatened to trade him to Cleveland.

    Mick was compelled to work hard just to earn a living . . . a higher motivator than being wealthy already and aspiring to become wealthier. Hence the Great Depression example of tough, great athletes in numerous sports.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Frank View Post
    Big disagreement with you there, my friend. Other than on the part about money driving so many people, with which I agree. But once you're a multi-millionaire, the hunger--key word-- is just not the same, when you know you'll be wealthy whether you perform well or not. It's sure there, however, when you know it's either reaching the big time or "going back to eating beans" (per Salvador Sanchez, 1980)

    One of the best of many examples: Back when the owners of professional sports teams truly had the power, Mickey Mantle had just come off a triple-crown-winning year-- a rare event when one man leads a major league in home runs, batting average, and RBIs. He held out during the following spring training for something like $5000 more per year-- this was around 1955 or 1956-- but was forced to rejoin his team, without his salary increase, when the Yankees' owner threatened to trade him to Cleveland.

    Mick was compelled to work hard just to earn a living . . . a higher motivator than being wealthy already and aspiring to become wealthier. Hence the Great Depression example of tough, great athletes in numerous sports.
    Yes, I agree, once a multi millionaire you can then regress. But, that is not the point. The money in the first place is a huge motivator for athletes, hence they
    are 24/7 trying to get it. So, they reach a level that others may not be motivated to reach. Also, many sports pay money, but not the big bucks, hence the athletes are always always hungry.

    MF, it is almost like you are implying that the athletes from yesteryear were more committed, passionate and
    loving of their sport? That I cannot agree with. Equal today. Money has just made todays athletes even more
    'passionate' and 'determined.' And, yes, WHEN they reach the top and earn the bucks, it can see them decline.

    Look at a "sport" like snooker and what money has done to it. It has made it so much more competitive and skilled
    Players now compete sober. Darts too. Money ain't super, but it's enough to keep the players motivated to get it.

    So, it's diet, technology, training methods, genetics, drugs, AND, probaly the biggest of all, money.
    All these together has indeed made our sports athletes bigger, faster, stronger. Not all them, and not
    all the time, but in general, yes. It applies to almost anything. Human beings strive to progress
    and improve. To me this is a rather simple concept. And, are getting paid now to do it. It's a win win.
    Last edited by walshb; 11-24-2011 at 05:21 PM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb View Post
    I didn't exaggertate the difference. I think I said that we are that little bit bigger. And , little bits do play a part. Of course we will always have examples of smaller athletes today that are still successful, but overall, athletes seem stronger and better and faster etc. And, that has to do with a lot of things, including the size increases. Small as they may seem, they are increases. Technology and diet and knowledge also being big factors. We as humans strive to improve. I don't see what is odd to think that today we are better than those from 100 years ago. And, they, are better than those from 200
    years ago. It's natural progression. Also, I am not saying we aso so better, not am I saying that some special athletes from 50 years ago could not be good today. I am saying that overall and in general that athletes today are that bit better.

    MF, you mentioned money making athletes that bit lazy?

    One could say that money, and big money, has made many determined, hungry and
    obsessed with getting to the top to reap the reward.

    Take away rewards and athletes could lose focus and passion. Money drives so many people.

    Humans have changed in 100 years, and I would say noticeably

    Living a good deal longer on average. That is a change that affects the whole body.
    But they aren't these increases. Go look at the top 15 tennis players in the world in 1985. Then look at them now. There is no discernable difference in height and size. Ditto with soccer. Ditto with boxing!!!

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by hagler04 View Post
    But they aren't these increases. Go look at the top 15 tennis players in the world in 1985. Then look at them now. There is no discernable difference in height and size. Ditto with soccer. Ditto with boxing!!!
    Ok, lets say no size difference occurred in the last 53 years. Something else occurred. Because no way do those men
    compete with the men from today. So, let us put that down to technology and money and diet and progress.
    Or, down to simple eras being improved. Boxing is different for whatever reason, and boxers from 53 years
    ago could compete with those today, and most lilely would be as good if not better.

    As for the last 100 years. Again, the differnce in speed, power and strength in general is even more noticeable.
    One can make excuses that the talent pool then was less, the technology was not there, the money
    was not there etc. That is all true and fair, but it's called progression.

    Humans progress in all areas usually. Not just sport. If they can progress in science and technology, why not sport?
    Last edited by walshb; 11-25-2011 at 04:35 AM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb View Post
    Ok, lets say no size difference occurred in the last 53 years. Something else occurred. Because no way do those men
    compete with the men from today. So, let us put that down to technology and money and diet and progress.
    Or, down to simple eras being improved. Boxing is different for whatever reason, and boxers from 53 years
    ago could compete with those today, and most lilely would be as good if not better.

    As for the last 100 years. Again, the differnce in speed, power and strength in general is even more noticeable.
    One can make excuses that the talent pool then was less, the technology was not there, the money
    was not there etc. That is all true and fair, but it's called progression.

    Humans progress in all areas usually. Not just sport. If they can progress in science and technology, why not sport?
    So Pele and the 1968 Brazil team couldn't compete with soccer players today? Boris Becker (a pretty big guy) and McEnroe at his peak couldn't play with the top tennis players today? And remember that serves have gotten faster and harder primarily due to changes in the makeup of rackets, not b/c players are now suddenly bigger supermen.

    Science is not sport. Sports have been practiced and played by humans for millennia (esp. a few standards like boxing/fighting). Scientific knowledge goes up and down depending on the wealth and educational opportunities of societies (for example, older civilizations like the Greeks/Incas/Egyptians possessed more knowledge about science than medieval kingdoms in the 14th century, but now we've surpassed them) But sport has been constant. One of the consistent forms of entertainment/activity of human beings across any age. All it takes is young men, some rules, and something like a ball and a field, and you are all set. For sports that were invented fairly recently, like basketball, of course you'll see major improvements in the game for the sport's first 15 years or so, but then the development levels off. B-ball players of the 1950s, for example, would find significant challenges competing with b-ball players today. But players in the 70s/80s definitely could. Ditto with gloved boxing. Boxing was definitely going through a transitional period from the bare-knuckle style to fighting with gloves in the late 19th century, but by around 1905 that transition was more or less complete with further developments coming about simply from rule/environmental changes (shorter fights, bigger gloves, different canvases)
    Look at music. Hundreds of years ago you have composers like Bach, Chopin, Albinoni etc. Does music now necessarily surpass the complexity and beauty of what they produced? Progression is not always constant across all mediums.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    jack johnson could never beat me in angry birds
    believe that

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    and Dwight Howard still gets his ass handed to him by Wilt Chamberlain.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by hagler04 View Post
    So Pele and the 1968 Brazil team couldn't compete with soccer players today?

    Puskas, Di Stefano and the great Real Madrid and Hungary sides of the 1950s (much heavier ball, bulkier shoes, sodden pitches and all):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoNZDwcWKrE

    Amateurs

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Gordoom, Thanks for putting Callis' article back up. I read it years ago and enjoyed reading it again. In my opinion the fighter of today could not compete with the great fighter of the past. When you talk of Jefferies, Johnson, Dempsey, Fitzsimmons, Pep or Armstrong, just to name a few, the list could go on and on. If we have boxers today as we had in the heyday of boxing - like in the 20's, 30's and up to the early 60's - boxing would still be the sport. A time when you knew who the Heavyweight Champion was, and you knew who all the 8 weight class champions where and being a champion meant somthing. Today boxing is alot of BS. I've been involved in boxing for 50 years and have never seen boxing this bad.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by blv30 View Post
    and Dwight Howard still gets his ass handed to him by Wilt Chamberlain.
    And Bill Russell Too

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Triem View Post
    And Bill Russell Too
    Dwight Howard also got his ASS handed to him by Bill Russell. was what I meant!!!!

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    The War Department was shocked at the poor condition of many of the volunteer/draftees in the 2nd World War. These were the children of the Great Depression. The post-war school milk programs was one of the responses to this national resource deficit. The shared affluence of the 50s up to now changed the average American profile, not evolution.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Bigger? This would only be relevant in the heavyweight division - lower weights have been diced and sliced into absurdity - setting aside 24 hour re-hydration, which is more of a weigh-in issue. There have always been large heavyweights. Jess Willard (245 for Dempsey) was the first jumbo-sized champion. Primo Carnera (260-280) disposed of Victorio Campolo (280) and Ray Impellittiere (258). Following Schaaf's death there was talk of creating a Dreadnought division that would ring fence these behemoths.

    Speed? Strength? Dempsey's chopping up and down of Willard was a demonstration of hand speed as well as power slaying a monster. Size meant nothing. We all know the tested talent level of Primo. The historical record is that the heavyweight jumbos have fared poorly. Lennox Lewis, under Stewart's guidance, may be the best of an overall mediocre field. A top ten list of the Dreadnoughts would impress few.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    This topic comes up and many people of previous generations will always say their generation had advantages cause that is what they grew up idolizing, and those of this new generation will point to things of this generation. We will never know in such things like Basketball or Boxing, will we? It is opinion. But my personal thoughts on each are:

    In basketball, we have to assume that Wilt will have the same benefits that Dwight Howard had, meaning AAU, advanced coaching, diet nutritional regimen etc.. If you factor all of that into things and you see he was originally sent to college for track... ran a reported 4.4 and was world class high jumper 48-50 inches...was 7"1... Strong as they ever come... He was a athletic beast. I see nothing stopping him ever. Outside of Wilt, I do believe that the game has increased in averagize size. Guards are overall bigger or taller. I remember when was playing football at Ku and our superstar BBall Player Danny Manning was doing things at the time no other big did, bringing the ball up court etc, passing off the dribble, now each team has a big that can do that. Players are more athletic, bigger but not neccearily better, I agree.

    I guess in BBall one way to look at it is could the best 5 of this generation hmm lets see, Chris paul, Kobe, Lebron, Dwight Howard, Dirk or Blake Griffith... could they beat the best fight of the the 70"s, 80's 90"s, etc. I say yes to 70's with any balancing of era with nutritional weights, etc advances the this era would have. Same thing with 80's. But 90's IMO I have to go with Bulls Jordan and Magic who was part of both 80's and 90's. Bird too, (mostly 80's for both of them), Maloane, shaw.. dunkin, etc. It is close. 80"s had Mchale, Magic and bird too, Older Julius erving, etc.

    In boxing. I think that it is a a toss up. I can see where some of you will say that a Sugar Ray robinson destroys all of todays fighters. But he was special. How would most of your top fighters today fair against the 80's or 50"s. IMO mayweather would be great in any era, but some styles (Expecially at welterweight) would overcome his technical greatness. I think it is not about era's with him, just styles. A duran would be good in any era if you ask me, but would always struggle vs a Sweat Pea, RJJ, Leonard, Mayweather type, as Leonard showed in the 2nd fight. So with Duran styles would be his issues too. I think Leonard would struggle vs todays fighters more so because many have taken his style and refined it a bit as far as technique, but they lack his mental toughness. Meaning Ray was super fast, but he did things that would not work today. The flurries, and "shoe shine, and his looping right hand.... A Mayweater would eat that up if he did crowd pleasing, but inefficient things like that. Duran made him pay big time for the looping right hand in the 1st fight. So I think a Ray leonard does struggle more vs todays fighters as many picked up their technique from him and refined some things and were pound per pound stronger. Not harder hitters, but stronger.

    Ali, I think dominates this era only challenges he would have imo is peak Holyfied and tyson. I can see peak holyfied and peak ali having a tremenoudown give and take..session at times. However, ali could use his jabbing and boxing to win just enough boring rounds to win the fight. Robinson just too much and could adapt to any style. Hearns at Welter would be headache for any Welter that ever lived, also at jr middle too, where I think he would have beaten peak ray as he was a lot stronger at that weight, just ask duran.

    A pacman IMO would stuggle vs many top welters in the 80's. What about carlos Monzon, then how would hagler and RJJ fair vs fighters in the 50's.... I think that boxing has too many variable to make a blanket statement. In some fighters, they would struggle more vs todays fighter, others would not. So I agree with Gordoom's assessment.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Steroids are a big part of the major gains these athletes make in size, weight, and speed. The average lineman in the NFL in the 1970's compares size wise to a modern day fullback. Steroids and HGH are a huge part of sports and have been for decades.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by wpink View Post
    This topic comes up and many people of previous generations will always say their generation had advantages cause that is what they grew up idolizing, and those of this new generation will point to things of this generation. We will never know in such things like Basketball or Boxing, will we? It is opinion. But my personal thoughts on each are:

    In basketball, we have to assume that Wilt will have the same benefits that Dwight Howard had, meaning AAU, advanced coaching, diet nutritional regimen etc.. If you factor all of that into things and you see he was originally sent to college for track... ran a reported 4.4 and was world class high jumper 48-50 inches...was 7"1... Strong as they ever come... He was a athletic beast. I see nothing stopping him ever. Outside of Wilt, I do believe that the game has increased in averagize size. Guards are overall bigger or taller. I remember when was playing football at Ku and our superstar BBall Player Danny Manning was doing things at the time no other big did, bringing the ball up court etc, passing off the dribble, now each team has a big that can do that. Players are more athletic, bigger but not neccearily better, I agree.

    I guess in BBall one way to look at it is could the best 5 of this generation hmm lets see, Chris paul, Kobe, Lebron, Dwight Howard, Dirk or Blake Griffith... could they beat the best fight of the the 70"s, 80's 90"s, etc. I say yes to 70's with any balancing of era with nutritional weights, etc advances the this era would have. Same thing with 80's. But 90's IMO I have to go with Bulls Jordan and Magic who was part of both 80's and 90's. Bird too, (mostly 80's for both of them), Maloane, shaw.. dunkin, etc. It is close. 80"s had Mchale, Magic and bird too, Older Julius erving, etc.

    In boxing. I think that it is a a toss up. I can see where some of you will say that a Sugar Ray robinson destroys all of todays fighters. But he was special. How would most of your top fighters today fair against the 80's or 50"s. IMO mayweather would be great in any era, but some styles (Expecially at welterweight) would overcome his technical greatness. I think it is not about era's with him, just styles. A duran would be good in any era if you ask me, but would always struggle vs a Sweat Pea, RJJ, Leonard, Mayweather type, as Leonard showed in the 2nd fight. So with Duran styles would be his issues too. I think Leonard would struggle vs todays fighters more so because many have taken his style and refined it a bit as far as technique, but they lack his mental toughness. Meaning Ray was super fast, but he did things that would not work today. The flurries, and "shoe shine, and his looping right hand.... A Mayweater would eat that up if he did crowd pleasing, but inefficient things like that. Duran made him pay big time for the looping right hand in the 1st fight. So I think a Ray leonard does struggle more vs todays fighters as many picked up their technique from him and refined some things and were pound per pound stronger. Not harder hitters, but stronger.

    Ali, I think dominates this era only challenges he would have imo is peak Holyfied and tyson. I can see peak holyfied and peak ali having a tremenoudown give and take..session at times. However, ali could use his jabbing and boxing to win just enough boring rounds to win the fight. Robinson just too much and could adapt to any style. Hearns at Welter would be headache for any Welter that ever lived, also at jr middle too, where I think he would have beaten peak ray as he was a lot stronger at that weight, just ask duran.

    A pacman IMO would stuggle vs many top welters in the 80's. What about carlos Monzon, then how would hagler and RJJ fair vs fighters in the 50's.... I think that boxing has too many variable to make a blanket statement. In some fighters, they would struggle more vs todays fighter, others would not. So I agree with Gordoom's assessment.
    Really can't see how Mayweather is like Leonard. They are completely different fighters stylistically. Floyd fights in rigid defensive stance maintaining a low output. At welterweight most opponents make the mistake of standing at the end of his range and fighting a chess match. Leonard was a dynamic boxer puncher who was versatile with great speed, fluidity, and power when he made his shots count. Let's not characterize Leonard as a fighter who was simply flash and style. That wasn't the kind of fighter that dug deep and put Tommy Hearns away. They are totally different fighters and i can't see how Leonard beating Duran in ONE of their 2 fights = Duran struggles against the likes of Floyd. Duran was special in terms of his ability to mount a high intensity skilled offensive attack whilst maintaining his defensive prowess. Head movement, combinations, body punching, feints etc. all at an unrelenting pace. A nightmare combination for Mayweather.

    I think Floyd is a GREAT boxer but neither him or Pacquaio have had particularly impressive runs at 147 relative to the greats of yesteryear. Both would be involved in life and death struggles with the best welterweights at the turn of the century (prime trinidad, de la hoya, mosley) let alone the likes of duran, leonard, hearns.
    Last edited by JaKob; 01-29-2012 at 08:36 PM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by JaKob View Post
    Really can't see how Mayweather is like Leonard. They are completely different fighters stylistically. Floyd fights in rigid defensive stance maintaining a low output. At welterweight most opponents make the mistake of standing at the end of his range and fighting a chess match. Leonard was a dynamic boxer puncher who was versatile with great speed, fluidity, and power when he made his shots count. Let's not characterize Leonard as a fighter who was simply flash and style. That wasn't the kind of fighter that dug deep and put Tommy Hearns away. They are totally different fighters and i can't see how Leonard beating Duran in ONE of their 2 fights = Duran struggles against the likes of Floyd. Duran was special in terms of his ability to mount a high intensity skilled offensive attack whilst maintaining his defensive prowess. Head movement, combinations, body punching, feints etc. all at an unrelenting pace. A nightmare combination for Mayweather.

    I think Floyd is a GREAT boxer but neither him or Pacquaio have had particularly impressive runs at 147 relative to the greats of yesteryear. Both would be involved in life and death struggles with the best welterweights at the turn of the century (prime trinidad, de la hoya, mosley) let alone the likes of duran, leonard, hearns.
    i think everyone on this board will let you know that I am the biggest leoanrd fan in the world, and I am not trying to minimize him in any way. Mayweather is not like leoanrd in many ways, but in other ways he is like him. Leonard was more aggressive, but at times he could fight defensively too (Duran 2). He could fight in a chess match too, Benetiz. Mayweather is not always defensive too, Mosley fight after 3rd round when He came out after Mosley was very impressive. If you look at Mayweather foot work, it is brilliant. Many people do not realize the little things he does, that places his opponent in situations they have never been before. Vs Ortiz he came out and with in the first 10 seconds he planted his lead foot forward and was walking Ortiz down and dominated the ring. Now Ortiz ia not that great of a fight, but he was younger bigger etc. That was impressive.

    As for styles.. I think Leonard 2 is clearly a blueprint for how may weather would have fought duran. Leonard used some jabs, a lot of movement, but every time Duran came in he was met with left hook counters, upper cuts on the inside, angles etc. This is all what Mayweather does. Leoandr always was able to do it also, but most of the time he on on the offensive and thus we did not see that version of him, however Duran 2, we saw a counter puncher that led a bit more than a Mayweather would have had more mobility at Welter than Mayweather wold have, but did and executed his style like Mayweather would have. I see a lot of similarities in that fight and what a may weather would do.

    People always say what would be a night mare for Mayweather but it never comes. No he has not faced Duran, or anyone as good, but lets not make it like Mayweather is some bum the dude is a great fighter that technically is better than leonard (technically speaking only) and style wise leoanrd employed the style may weather uses all the time to beat Duran.

    As for vs Hearns, that is where I see the advantages a Leonard has over a may weather, as the defensive counterpunching style did not nor would not work vs Hearns, thus he would have to become fighter that we have not seen before, not even vs Diego as the reach advantage was Mayweathers and he did not have to worry about avoiding a fighter with a reach like a plane...I would have hearns and leonard beating him, but duran losing to him based on styles,,remember a fighter at lightweight that employed some just some of the boxing skills a Mayweather has, beat Duran first fight they had. Dejesus.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by wpink View Post
    i think everyone on this board will let you know that I am the biggest leoanrd fan in the world, and I am not trying to minimize him in any way. Mayweather is not like leoanrd in many ways, but in other ways he is like him. Leonard was more aggressive, but at times he could fight defensively too (Duran 2). He could fight in a chess match too, Benetiz. Mayweather is not always defensive too, Mosley fight after 3rd round when He came out after Mosley was very impressive. If you look at Mayweather foot work, it is brilliant. Many people do not realize the little things he does, that places his opponent in situations they have never been before. Vs Ortiz he came out and with in the first 10 seconds he planted his lead foot forward and was walking Ortiz down and dominated the ring. Now Ortiz ia not that great of a fight, but he was younger bigger etc. That was impressive.

    As for styles.. I think Leonard 2 is clearly a blueprint for how may weather would have fought duran. Leonard used some jabs, a lot of movement, but every time Duran came in he was met with left hook counters, upper cuts on the inside, angles etc. This is all what Mayweather does. Leoandr always was able to do it also, but most of the time he on on the offensive and thus we did not see that version of him, however Duran 2, we saw a counter puncher that led a bit more than a Mayweather would have had more mobility at Welter than Mayweather wold have, but did and executed his style like Mayweather would have. I see a lot of similarities in that fight and what a may weather would do.

    People always say what would be a night mare for Mayweather but it never comes. No he has not faced Duran, or anyone as good, but lets not make it like Mayweather is some bum the dude is a great fighter that technically is better than leonard (technically speaking only) and style wise leoanrd employed the style may weather uses all the time to beat Duran.

    As for vs Hearns, that is where I see the advantages a Leonard has over a may weather, as the defensive counterpunching style did not nor would not work vs Hearns, thus he would have to become fighter that we have not seen before, not even vs Diego as the reach advantage was Mayweathers and he did not have to worry about avoiding a fighter with a reach like a plane...I would have hearns and leonard beating him, but duran losing to him based on styles,,remember a fighter at lightweight that employed some just some of the boxing skills a Mayweather has, beat Duran first fight they had. Dejesus.
    I never alluded to Mayweather being a bum at all. I do think and say he is overrated at 147. Mayweather does not fight like Sugar Ray Leonard and it's a simplistic comparison as it pertains to the SRL vs Duran fight. Mayweather had good footwork and it serves it's purpose well. Purpose being to maintain balance and his defensive stance. Never finding himself out of position and always in a position to counter. It is not fleet footed, fluid, lateral movement. Mayweather does fight in a relatively rigid way and does not let his hands go the way in which SRL did and with nowhere near the same kind of power. Leonard may have been 'boxing' Duran but he was still far more dynamic and using extensive lateral movement producing a performance that contrasts significantly with anything we have seen from Floyd at 147. Styles of fighting aren't cookie cutter categories.

    You have cited examples where Mayweather does show some aggression. Mayweather will let his hands go if he is allowed to dictate the pace and it is safe to do so. However he is generally very conservative and vigilant. Maintaining such defensive prowess isn't conducive to a high output and he certainly doesn't move and throw in the dynamic fashion that Leonard could. Mosley was tight, herky jerky, and looking his age. He landed some good shots but he couldn't pull the trigger when it counted. Standing in the center of the ring and at the end of May weathers range he was a sitting duck. Ortiz not only was tentative on the trigger but allowed himself to be pushed backwards. When someone is coming forward effectively Floyd maintains his conservative, rigid, highly effective style of fighting.

    Dejesus? The same kind of boxing skills? 2 fighters can have boxing skills yet be significantly different stylistically. Regardless Dejesus beat a relatively raw in the FIRST fight and then lost the subsequent 2 fights. Duran progressed significantly as a fighter in the time period between the first and third fight so i can't see how this comparison holds much water.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by JaKob View Post
    I never alluded to Mayweather being a bum at all. I do think and say he is overrated at 147. Mayweather does not fight like Sugar Ray Leonard and it's a simplistic comparison as it pertains to the SRL vs Duran fight. Mayweather had good footwork and it serves it's purpose well. Purpose being to maintain balance and his defensive stance. Never finding himself out of position and always in a position to counter. It is not fleet footed, fluid, lateral movement. Mayweather does fight in a relatively rigid way and does not let his hands go the way in which SRL did and with nowhere near the same kind of power. Leonard may have been 'boxing' Duran but he was still far more dynamic and using extensive lateral movement producing a performance that contrasts significantly with anything we have seen from Floyd at 147. Styles of fighting aren't cookie cutter categories.

    You have cited examples where Mayweather does show some aggression. Mayweather will let his hands go if he is allowed to dictate the pace and it is safe to do so. However he is generally very conservative and vigilant. Maintaining such defensive prowess isn't conducive to a high output and he certainly doesn't move and throw in the dynamic fashion that Leonard could. Mosley was tight, herky jerky, and looking his age. He landed some good shots but he couldn't pull the trigger when it counted. Standing in the center of the ring and at the end of May weathers range he was a sitting duck. Ortiz not only was tentative on the trigger but allowed himself to be pushed backwards. When someone is coming forward effectively Floyd maintains his conservative, rigid, highly effective style of fighting.

    Dejesus? The same kind of boxing skills? 2 fighters can have boxing skills yet be significantly different stylistically. Regardless Dejesus beat a relatively raw in the FIRST fight and then lost the subsequent 2 fights. Duran progressed significantly as a fighter in the time period between the first and third fight so i can't see how this comparison holds much water.
    Good points but Mosley was not herby jerky until Mayweather forced him to be. Again, i am with you regarding quality of opposition at 147. But Imo 99'9% of whoever he faces would meet the same fate. Mayweather is simply a great technical fighter. Better than a SRL etc. Not a better fighter but a better technical fighter. I could see if they had ever matched up... Mayweather making ray pay dearly with right hand leads as even his brother pointed out "Ray is a sucker for a Right hand". Ray also looped his right hand many of times. No Mayweather did not let his hands go vs a Ray, and depending on how the fight went, that could be good or bad. If they were in a fight like Leonard VS Benetiz, it would work against Ray, as Mayweather is quicker better all around boxer and much better counter puncher than Benetiz dreamed of being. Now A more aggressive ray that would force the action and make Money get into exchanges, i see Ray volume and power being and advantage, but he would eat some shots, some great counters. But in time he would wear Mayweather down and it would be brutal.

    Agression, and dictate tempo, when has Mayweather not ultimately dictated the tempo. Lets judge him on the same barometers as we do others. Meaning we can give SRL accolades for eventually stopping hearns, but slam maywether for his fight vs dlh etc. (others have said this). Sure i was unimpressed with the totality of his performance vs dlh, but he still said before the fight that DLH will tire around round 7, i will pick him apart then. Look exactly what happened round 7 dLh up only 5-2 mostly because of aggression nothing serious but he was pocketing rounds, then Mayweather just shut him out the rest of the fight. Same thing with Judah, Mosley round 3 on, hatton, he just destroyed him.... Sorry to say but packman would get it handed to him as I just do not see him allowing pacman who had major problems solving the counter punching style of JMM, and was getting caught coming in and trying to get back out...What do we think he is gonna get when he fights a bigger, faster, younger, better counter puncher, more reach, better right hand lead throwing... fighter in may weather who shut out JMM in a head to head match up.... its gonna be ugly. Plain ugly.

    Duran IMO never faced a Mayweather except in SRL, and when SRL shifted styles you could see how ineffective duran was. No it was not because of any stomach cramps Bs, it was simply because the movement and angles had duran trying to position and reposition his angle to launch an attack and ray was using angles to hit him, many times making duran lunge. Now you say, may weather does not user this much movement. That is because he does not need too. Leoanrd used mch more mobile movement and fighters like RJJ and Mayweather have refined this to not dancing as much, but still being as effective, conserving energy, using left hooks and right leads more than Ray did, because when ray was dancing his opponents were not in a position to throw punches as much, vs Maywether and RJJ they initially throw more punches at Floyd or RJJ and thus they get countered more. You notice ray did not dance quit as much as the talent pool got better, as Dundee what him to sit down on his punches and stop throwing amateurish punches but more solid meaningful punches... He would use it when need however. Mayweather simply is a better counter puncher than Ray, so he does not need to dance. He wants to be right in front of his opponent.

    Young Mosley imo beats Mayweather at 147... But the young mosley vs dlh was apparently on steroids too, so not sure what to think.
    Last edited by wpink; 01-30-2012 at 01:30 AM.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Interesting. But I think the bit being left out of the title here is "Today's Athletes, Bigger, Faster, Stronger but are they Better?" needs to be retitled "Today's Risk Adverse Athletes: Bigger..."

    The technical breakdown in styles I find easy to read, but as someone who like Ray the least of the four horsemen (cause he beat my three favourite fighters I had as a kid), Ray's thirst for battle, ability to rise to the challenge and downright meanstreak when he was challenged I like to take Money at 147. May would give a good account of himself, but Ray wins this one in my fantasy fight mind.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Quote Originally Posted by doomeddisciple View Post
    Interesting. But I think the bit being left out of the title here is "Today's Athletes, Bigger, Faster, Stronger but are they Better?" needs to be retitled "Today's Risk Adverse Athletes: Bigger..."

    The technical breakdown in styles I find easy to read, but as someone who like Ray the least of the four horsemen (cause he beat my three favourite fighters I had as a kid), Ray's thirst for battle, ability to rise to the challenge and downright meanstreak when he was challenged I like to take Money at 147. May would give a good account of himself, but Ray wins this one in my fantasy fight mind.
    I agree risk adverse athlete of today. I think many have been so grilled on technique and the surface, but substance IMO is laking many times because they in many cases do not have to dig deep and pull out monster of a win to make great money. They are making good many (your good fighters) early on. Not great money, but decent money. In basketball football, the superstar high school athletes are pampered and courted early and when they turn pro, they are making millions early on. Where is the need to create a toughness and mental toughness like a mike ditka or jim brown etc.

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    Re: Athletes - Bigger, Faster, Stronger but Are They Better? by Tracy Callis

    Regarding the NBA basketball eras --

    I'd put a top five of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor up against any top five from any era !

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