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Thread: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

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    Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    On debating in another thread I got to thinking about a fighters chin and his ability to take a shot. So I'll ask the question?

    Did Ali's chin get better with age and maturity and weight?

    I think it did and I think the POST exile Ali took a better shot than the early 60's Clay/Ali...

    So basically the 70's Ali took a better shot than the 60's version.

    I also think it's quite noticeable and evident....

    Why?

    Well I think it's down to his maturity and possibly increased
    physical strength. I also think he took a lot harder
    shots in the 70's because his footwork had dimisnished

    Are there examples of other fighters whose chins seemed to
    imorove over time and weight etc etc...??
    Last edited by walshb; 01-31-2008 at 12:47 PM.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    I'm not sure the premise that Ali's chin improved with age is really proven. He was dropped 4 times in his career, twice in the 1960s and twice in the 1970s. The Wepner knockdown has often since been called a foul, with Wepner's foot on Ali's.

    Personally, I believe Ali could be dropped by a great left hook at any time in his career (was dropped by that blow from Banks, Cooper, and Frazier), ESPECIALLY when Ali was fighting offensively, and putting forth his best effort to win.

    In the 1970s, he became not only heavier, but slower...and more importantly, lazier. This makes it harder for him to be dropped, because he cannot be nailed coming in, if he's not coming in. Much like Lennox Lewis not being able to KO Oliver McCall in their 2nd fight, as the guy was standing there very loose, NOT trying to win . . . making it much harder to deliver a blow to him with great force. He was having a mental breakdown, but his loose, non-forward-moving physical demeanor made it hard to drop him.

    I feel Ali's taking Liston's punches in their fight #1, while blinded, shows how well he took a punch in the '60s. Same with the blows he let Chuvalo hit him with in their #1. Ali took a great punch in the '60s unless he was caught with a left hook to the chin COMING IN, in which case he was dropped twice.

    Fast-forward to 1971, Frazier dropped him with a left hook. Most other 1970s opponents simply didn't nail Ali to the chin as he was coming in. Foreman and Frazier (in #3) probably gave him his worst beatings in the 1970s, but Ali wasn't committing himself moving forward with them. Hence they didn't drop him. Foreman wasn't a "one rap on the chin" KD artist anyway. Holmes in 1980 beat up an Ali who was screwing around in there and was most assuredly not rushing in and committing to punches. Shavers wobbled him badly in the 2nd round of their 1977 fight; Ali said he was hurt plenty by that blow, even though he wasn't dropped.

    I can't help but think that Frazier's 15th rd left hook from fight #1 or Cooper's from their fight #1 would have dropped Ali at any time in his career; he just wasn't hit quite that way again.

    So my feeling is that Ali's chin was similar in both decades, or perhaps one can say the jury is still out. But in the 1970s, the fact that he got in the ring with better fighters who landed more body blows (and head shots not on the chin with him coming in) doesn't mean he was meaningfully hit by them, and so his ability to take a blow better then is not a given.

    Just my opinion, my friend Walshb.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    The thing I think is that Cooper's shot would NOT have dropped a mid 70's Ali.
    It was a great shot and it absolutely destroyed Clay for a split second.
    To be honest,. he was momentarily knocked out. I just don't think the shot
    would have been as hurtful when Ali was that bit stronger, heavier and sturdier. This was when he was in the 70's...

    Clay was a little weaker I feel in the early 60's and Bank's shot also really hurt Clay. Again, I think a 70's Ali doesn't feel the shot near as much.

    He took some monsters off Shavers that I think Clay would not have survived and also the shots taken off Foreman, albeit mostly to the body, would also have hurt Clay more than they hurt Ali...

    Frazier's shot was a different shot altogether. It was rd 15 and Ali was very tired and had endured a lot of punishment. I think had that shot landed 5-6 rds earlier, Ali would have taken it withoit falling. Clay I don't think gets up from that Frazier shot as easy....

    The whole reasoning is that a 70's Ali did weigh heavier and was sturdier and stronger, hence his CHIN IMO improved.....

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Ali was certainly FATTER in the 1970s, not sure he was stronger; he did try to muscle guys more, that's true. We discussed this on another thread, I think, re: RJJ, Duran, and others. I don't see fatter as an improved chin, but I don't have much heartburn around the issue.

    Best to you, Walshb.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    I am one of those observers who thinks Ali was dropped twice by Frazier in their first fight.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    As to the second question, I believe Floyd Patterson's chin improved markedly after his championship days. Or maybe it was his skill. Something kept him on his feet a whole lot better once he was more mature as a fighter. PeteLeo.

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    Pete

    Perfect example of a fighter who's chin did better later in his career.

    The thing is, it clearly wasn't weight that changed anything for Floyd as he was not any substantially "bigger" post Liston bouts as opposed to up to and Including Patterson's bout with Sonny.

    Floyd was 194 for the 3rd Johannson bout, in which he was felled and 194 for the second Liston fight in whihc he also was stretched on the mat.

    Floyd's weight fluctuated between 186 and 200 lbs post Liston. Floyd weighed 194 or less for 15 of his 22 post Liston fights. He was under 190 pounds on 4 occasions. He Hit 200 once. Was 197 on 3 occasions and for the other 3 bouts, was either 195 or 196.

    Clearly, it was not SIZE that made him more durable.

    I don't think it was SIZE that made Ali more durable. I think it was always there for ALi, but he was a different fighter pre-banishment. I see NO evidence that suggests Ali's chin was not top flight during his championship days in the 60's. If anything, it was a mystery, becuase he didn't get hit. Wobbly? Where?

    Henry Cooper's hook that floored Ali, was a helluva shot. Had it landed on a 70's version of Ali, with Muhammad in the same position he was in when it floored him in 63' I see nothing that would show that it would not yield the same results.

    Now a 70's version of Ali, may very well Not be in the same position he was in in England, becuase ALi fought differently. So it's likely you don't see it agian.

    Muhammad looked a WHOLE lot Stronger one fight later agiasnt Liston. 3 pounds did not make his chin better. Nor would an 8 pound difference between Ali from the first Frazier bout and Ali from Cooper I. It was maturity, experience and Improved balance. Not weight.

    Now Patterson's chin I think improved due to CONFIDENCE. I sternly beleive D'Amato made Floyd doubt himself too much. Obviously it was not intentional, but under Cus, Floyd was in a shell and unsure of himself. WHen he got away from Cus, you could SEE the difference. And it SHOWED.

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Well at least we all seem to agree that maybe his chin did improve.
    Why it improved we can debate.
    I always thought he took took a better shot
    as he got a little older. He was possibly stronger and obviously
    more mature.

    He was heavier in the 70's, due to a number of factors and whether
    or NOT this improved his chin, is a matter of opinion....

    For me, I think it did to a degree.....

    In the 60's he rarely took a clean shot, apart from two great ones from
    Bank's and Cooper...

    Mr Lipton used a good example when he said that Duran weighing 160lbs
    was in a better position to take Hagler's shots as opposed to him weighing 135/140/145, due to being that bit heftier and sturdier..

    I agree with this 100%...

    If the weight gain is natural and efficient, then it helps in
    a fighter taking a shot and taking a better shot....
    Last edited by walshb; 02-01-2008 at 12:47 PM.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    I for one think Ali's chin got better. At least pre-Liston anyways. As Hawk said, after he won the title he never really got clocked.

    In the pre-title 60's he was dropped by Banks and Cooper and was almost decked by Doug Jones. Ali wasn't physically mature at that time at age 20-21.

    The Ali of the 70's was only decked by Frazier in the 15th and last round of a brutal, exhausting fight by a perfect left hook. Under the same circumstances I don't see any other heavyweight champion staying upright from that shot, never mind getting back up seconds later.

    Yes, Ali's style evolved but his reflexes, speed and timing diminished leaving him slower, more flat footed and vulnerable. Ali also had knowledge and confidence that he had a solid chin and wasn't afraid to take risks ie: laying on the ropes against Foreman, Manilla and Norton 3 or standing flat footed agains Lyle and Shavers. Ali didn't take those risks in the 60's. In fact Ali ran like a thief in the 2nd Cooper fight.

    Even in 70's fights that were one sided Ali often got tagged with the odd monster shot (Quarry catching Ali coming in with a huge left hook in their second fight) and didn't buckle.

    The closest I saw Ali to going down after Frazier I, was the Shavers right hand in the second round and the most it did was stiffen Ali up and cause him to stumble back a step. Shavers landed some big right hands afterwards that round and didn't cause Ali to stumble again or buckle. I believe the British commentary for cosed circuit was something like "that was a bit of a shaker". Nothing else.

    Much has been made from that as "almost floored" Ali, but if that was almost floored then so has every fighter that has ever been rocked been "almost floored."

    I've never thought Banks or Cooper's left hook was anything special. There's only one angle on film so perhaps it doesn't do it justice but Ali looked to take better shots against better punchers in the 70's.

    In the Cooper fight Ali had predicted a 5th round KO and was biding his time in that fight, trying to stretch it to the next round to make true the prediction (Cooper was already badly cut) and got lazy. Ali's explanation was that he took his eyes off Cooper for a second and didn't see it coming. I don't think that shot sends Ali down in the 70's.

    Athletically men continue to develop in physical size, strength and maturity into their late 20's. I used to powerlift back in the day, and it was a general rule that men were at their peak strength in their late 30's. Whether physical maturity is a measuring stick for taking a punch I'm not certain but it seems to be that way in the case of Ali.

    I think Ali getting decked twice in his first 3 years as a pro and never in his last 10 years (at an advanced age against better, harder punching opposition makes a pretty good case that his chin did get better.
    Last edited by 10-8; 02-01-2008 at 12:57 PM.

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    Floyd Patterson

    No weight gain, took a better shot.

    What Ron said, was that Duran's weight gain, improved Roberto's over all strength, it did not improve his chin.

    Then agian, Duran didn't take as clean a shot agianst Hagler as he did agianst Hearns at 154. Or for that matter, DeJesus. Barkley certainly nailed him pretty hard (spun him around), but agian, it's the over all strength gained that allowed that to be so.

    Additionally, it's NOT as if Duran had a questionable beard at 135 and then took a Better rap at 160.

    This is different though with comparing the weight jump with a Heavyweight. with that of a Light or Middleweight. And especially when you consider the difference in weight for Ali from Cooper to Frazier is only 8 pounds. Heck, look at Wilfredo Gomez's beard going from 122 to 126. World of difference and only 4 pounds.

    It was experience and balance and a style change that made the change with Ali, if there truly was any difference. Weight in and of itself, had little to nothing to do with Ali taking a better rap.

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Great POST 10-8, but why exactly do you feel his chin improved?

    You commented on his young age playing a part
    in his KD's to Cooper and Bank's

    I too believe that the hook from Cooper would NOT
    have decked a 70's Ali. I think he was weaker and less
    durable in the 60's. Overall he was possibly the better
    fighter, but the 70's he was stronger and better chinned....
    Last edited by walshb; 02-01-2008 at 01:01 PM.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    "Yes, I agree in his case. He was a beauty at 135 against Huertas, Marshall, Lampkin, DeJesus et al, and he did well against Palomino, Moore, Barkley, Cuevas and unbelievably lasted without tasting the canvas against Hagler.
    At 135 Marv would have hurt him as the extra weight made Duran more sturdy, not effective but much more planted and hefty.

    Who wants to be a punching bag though. Like Dirty Larry, I mean Harry says, "A man has got to know his limitations."


    Above is what Ron said on the Duran matter. I took from it that he meant that Roberto weighing more and being heftier and sturdier enabled him to
    take a better shot. Heftier implies heavier in my book and sturdier implies
    more durable and fixed!!

    He also could have meant that the weight made him stronger, but the overall
    picture says that Duran weighing heavier than 135 was a factor which enabled him to take a better shot from a hard hitting man. At 135lbs, Ron thinks Duran would NOT take the shots as good....

    I will add that Duran with the extra weight was obviously stronger and the extra weight wasn't simply 'extra weight or fat'
    Last edited by walshb; 02-01-2008 at 01:15 PM.

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    We all have the ability

    to read what others wrote in other threads.

    No need to reprint everything.

    I see little to disagree with what Ron said here, but It still reads the same with how I intepereted it earlier in this thread.

    And to my point, Duran STILL didn't get nailed as cleanly agianst Marvin as he did agiasnt Hearns at 154 OR Dejesus at 135.

    AND the difference of Gaining weight at Heavyweight STILL is different in comparing weight gain at lower weights. It simply is.

    A 25 pound weight differnce between 135 and 160 is SIGNIFICANTLY more Dramatic than a 25 pound weight difference for a Heavyweight. Or for the matter of Ali, an 8 pound weight difference.

    I understand this all goes back to the "Tyson is bigger than Dempsey so he's better and takes a better punch.".

    I assume you feel you have the validation you were looking for to prove that out. Excellent. However, as is my right, I interperate this very differently and still disagree.

    And I'll stand on my own two feet re my opinions on this as well.

    Take care.

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    No need to reprint everything??

    Now that is funny coming from you...

    Well the thread is primarily concerned with Ali's
    supposed improved chin, but I also
    asked for other examples, not just the heavies...

    Tyson takes Dempsey shots better because his CHIN is better..
    I never said it was because he was bigger.
    I said he beats Dempsey because being heavier was one factor...

    The bare fact is that if a fighter increases weight, then a byproduct of this, providing
    it's a natural increase, eg..Duran 135-154-160 or Oscar 130-140-147-154, is that
    their ability to take a bigger shot improves, or can improve. Now strength plays it's part, but the extra weight gain produces the strength and plays its role
    in the withstanding of the heavier shot...It's a bit like a chain...

    I have a hard time seeing Oscar take Mosley's 147lb shots if he (Oscar) was weighing 130 or 135lbs....Ability to take a bigger shot stems from a number of factors and increased efficient weight is definitely one of them.....

    Oh and I definitely believe that if a peak Hearns catches you absolute clean, he KO's you, unless of course you are Marvin Hagler....

    Weight gain or NOT, Duran was never gonna' take that pounding...

    There are limits as Ron said and a man has got to know them...
    Last edited by walshb; 02-01-2008 at 01:46 PM.

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    Well

    If you are reprinting your OWN words to save yourself from retyping, I think that is clearly acceptable.

    The theory has limitations as well.

    Again, there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between a difference of 25 pounds at lower weights than at heavyweights.

    Secondly, as I already stated, Patterson's chin improved and that had NOTHING to do with weight increase as his weight didn't increase.

    Thirdly, as I already stated, Gomez's chin did not improve when he moved NATURALLY 4 pound North the the Jr. Featherweight division. 4 Pounds.

    Ali was more hitable in the 70's than he was in the 60's. But his chin was not necessarily a liability in his PRIME in the 60's, it just rarely got hit.

    As he matured and improved with his ability, strength and confidence IN THE 60's, it stands to reason that the vulnerabilty that may have seemed an issue agianst Cooper and Banks, really was not there at all.

    The ability to take a punch was IMO there all along and BECAUSE he took more punches later in his career, doesn't necessarily PROVE it got better. It may very well simply validate an attribute that was always top notch to begin with.

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Look, this theory of mine is hard to prove as it does NOT always work and some fighters no matter what they do, including gaining weight, will not improve their chins and you and I and others could give definitive examples of this. All I was saying is that it CAN improve a fighters ability to take a shot....

    I honestly believe that Clay/Ali's chin improved over time and it was down to his maturity and strength, and weight, which I feel may have helped....

    I think Cooper gets a smile and a wink from a 70's Ali when he lands that hook.

    I know Ali weighed 207 in their first fight, so I'll put it down to his maturity
    which enables him to wink and smile, not weight.....

    V Bank's he weighed 194lbs and here I do believe, that had the 70's version, weighing 210, fought, he would have winked and smiled at Bank's.....
    Last edited by walshb; 02-01-2008 at 02:30 PM.

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    I disagree

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    I never thought Ali's chin got better, but I do think he took a punch better.

    Sound like a conflict? I don't think so.

    Young Ali was only really badly hurt by a punch once - Cooper's. The Banks knockdown he was up at the count of 0.5 and ready to rip Sonny's head off. The Cooper shot was a left that he never even saw coming. That is the kind of shot that finishes you off.....

    But young Ali was rarely ever hit hard. I think he had some doubts of his own as to how well he'd stand up to getting tagged, so he would occasionally look shitty after taking a little somethign becauzse he was busy getting out of Dodge and making sure the first punch's big brother wasn't coming in behind it.

    Older Ali had half the mobility of the young version. He was flat-footed more frequently, and because of it ended up in the trenches more. As a result he was better balanced to absorb shots (weight evenly distributed on both feet) and he was forced to engage more often. How does anyone know if they can take a hit? By getting hit. Older Ali was nailed much more often, and he learned he could take it. Just knowing that makes you more willing to take it, and put yourself in riskier positions to get hit more often.

    I think Ali's chin stayed the same. But old Ali took a better punch, mainly because he realized that he could.

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Confidence!!!

    Better add that to the list.....

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    I just watched the Banks KD and Sonny was back against the ropes and was actually pulling back as he threw the KD punch. I just can't envision the Ali of the 70's getting dropped like that from that punch. Banks didn't even step into the shot.

    Envision how many times Frazier or Shavers lunged in with both weight and velocity behind it to tag Ali clean without dropping him.

    Banks is going to do what Frazier and Shavers can't?

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Quote Originally Posted by 10-8
    I just watched the Banks KD and Sonny was back against the ropes and was actually pulling back as he threw the KD punch. I just can't envision the Ali of the 70's getting dropped like that from that punch. Banks didn't even step into the shot.

    Envision how many times Frazier or Shavers lunged in with both weight and velocity behind it to tag Ali clean without dropping him.

    Banks is going to do what Frazier and Shavers can't?
    Hence, 70's Ali winks and smiles.....

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Quote Originally Posted by walshb
    Great POST 10-8, but why exactly do you feel his chin improved?
    I had a lengthy reply to this earlier that unfortunately got lost in cyberspace when I tried to post it. Since TK brought it up I thought I would again elaborate.

    Confidence is huge.

    I think the first Frazier fight showed Ali that he could in fact take a big punch. If you watch his career afterwards he had more confidence trading against punchers. In the following year Ali went flat footed against punchers like Mac Foster, Blue Lewis (who allegedly floored Ali in a sparring session) and Jerry Quarry. I don't buy the theory that Ali didn't have the legs as he chose to move against Chuvalo and Ellis.

    The point is Ali had confidence in his chin that he may not have had in the 60's. In the 60's Ali sparring sessions would be Ali trying not to get, while in the 70's it was how much could he absorb.

    The Foreman fight pushed Ali's confidence in his chin even more as it convinced Ali that no one could hurt him. The rope a dope became a common theme in most post Foreman Ali fights.

    Unfortunately this caused Ali's decline as a fighter as he simply didn't train as hard as he should have and came into most fights with a belief and strategy of wearing a guy out (punch himself out) and drown him later in the fight. The end result is Ali took too many punches that he shouldn't have.
    Last edited by 10-8; 02-01-2008 at 03:28 PM.

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    Good point about confidence

    Wish I had mentioned that.......

    "Now Patterson's chin I think improved due to CONFIDENCE. I sternly beleive D'Amato made Floyd doubt himself too much. Obviously it was not intentional, but under Cus, Floyd was in a shell and unsure of himself. WHen he got away from Cus, you could SEE the difference. And it SHOWED."

    Man the guy who wrote this is smart....

    Hawk

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Something could also be said for a more controlled offense (Patterson) accounting for seeing punches better... which can help keep you upright when and if they land. Maybe if you're not leaping incessantly, or not skipping around and juking and jiving (Ali) as if you'll never get hit, you will see punches that could dump you, or, avoid them and/or brace for them better.

    Or has that already been said in the myriad of posts I skipped over due to laziness?

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    Re: Ali's chin in the 60's & 70's, discuss...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharkey
    Something could also be said for a more controlled offense (Patterson) accounting for seeing punches better...
    Or then again maybe he never again fought anyone who hit like Liston and Johannson.

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    WHile true

    it is also true that Floyd, Post Liston, fought men who hit harder than Tom McNeeley, Roy Harris and Pete Rademacher.

    Hawk

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    Re: We all have the ability

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk5ins
    AND the difference of Gaining weight at Heavyweight STILL is different in comparing weight gain at lower weights. It simply is.

    A 25 pound weight differnce between 135 and 160 is SIGNIFICANTLY more Dramatic than a 25 pound weight difference for a Heavyweight. Or for the matter of Ali, an 8 pound weight difference.
    Hawk
    I'm not very good with numbers. Could you please explain why this is so?

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    No. I don't think I will.

    I will point out that there are FIVE different weight classes between and including the Lightweight division and the Middleweight division, for that 25 pound weight difference.

    Between the Jr. Bantamweight division at 115 pounds and the Jr. Welterweight division at 140 pounds, a difference agian of 25 pounds, there are (including both of these divisions) SEVEN different weight classes.

    Are we suggesting that there needs to be FIVE or perhaps even, SEVEN different weight classes between fighters who weigh 190 pounds and 215 pounds?

    I'm sure the alpha whores would love that. More titles to go around and more sanctioning fees for them.

    No extra charge on assisting with these math equations, btw.

    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk5ins; 02-02-2008 at 09:32 AM.

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    ok...

    ...no big deal if you don't know the answer. I don't know it either. For years I've heard Weight difference isn't a factor at heavy, but have never heard an explanation as to why. I guess we've heard it so often we just take it as fact.

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    vCash
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    Never said I didn't KNOW the answer.

    I simply said I would NOT, answer your question.

    But you know, feel free to breath in the other info I supplied, regarding the number of weight classes between Light and Middle, as well as Jr Bantam and Jr. Welter, as compared to the Number of different classes between a fighter weighing 190 and 215.

    Consider it a bonus.

    Hawk

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