The Subtle Sweet Scientists

Discussion in 'Boxing News and Discussion' started by El Gavilan, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. El Gavilan

    El Gavilan Guest

    In boxing, there are a lot of fighters who are quick as lightning, and used lateral movement to make the opposition look slow and confused. Leonard (both of 'em), Hector Camacho Sr. in his prime, Willie Pep, Clay/Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson(who actually had it all), and several others were amazingly quick and, if they had deficiencies, could overcome them with speed.

    For my money, I liked the subtle guys who didn't really rely on physical attributes or foot speed. They weren't tall and lanky guys like Hearns or Monzon, either. These are the guys who did the things a lot of casual fans didn't notice, but their opposition sure did. They could stand right in front of you, and you just couldn't tag them cleanly. Some were actually so adept, they would purposely make you miss by inches, and then counter you with a shot you didn't see. It is these fighters who exemplify the "Manly Art" and "Sweet Science" of boxing.

    1) Nicolino Locche - He is the best I've ever seen in this regard.
    2) Charley Burley - Archie Moore called him "Slick as lard", and the best fighter he ever faced. Eddie Futch said the same. I just read "Charley Burley: The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion." Probably the best boxing biography I ever read.
    3) Jack Johnson - He could nullify just about anything in his prime. Also subtly dirty. He often hooked short shots to the inside of an opponent's biceps while on the inside. Pioneered talking to his opponent and the crowd. Often smiled while he blocked and countered his frustrated opposition. In his mid-forties, Johnson reportedly had none other than Luis Firpo hurt, confused, and hanging on in a sparring session.
    4) Emile Griffith - He often looked ugly, but he did things in there that made opponents ugly. He was competitive until his 40s, and is one of the few to make Monzon look frustrated and bad, especially poignant considering that Emile was far past his prime.
    5) Ezzard Charles - Charles was not a big mover, but he might've been one of the most adept and slick counter punchers ever. He had Marciano one round away from being dethroned in their rematch. This the only fighter who truly had Archie Moore's number, and he had Charley Burley's, too. I think the thing that set him apart from both was that he was physically very, very strong and actually naturally bigger.
    6) Archie Moore - A true sweet scientist. Known for having the highest KOs of any fighter, but he was the kind of guy who set traps and made you walk into stuff. I think to truly know Moore's style, one must understand economy of motion
    7) Pernell Whitaker - Whitaker could get on the bicycle, but he didn't need to. He could make opponents look foolish while he was right in front of them. He is the first to make people really question DLH's worth and undefeated record.
    Wilfred Benitez - In his prime, one of the best ever. He did slippery slope into oblivion, but watching him against Cervantes, Palomino, and watching Tommy Hearns get frustrated even though he scored a flash knockdown over Wilfred, was fun to watch. Leonard, even though he TKO'd Wilfred, said he felt foolish trying to land right hand after right hand on Benitez. Maybe one of the most naturally gifted fighters ever. He rarely trained more than 1-2 weeks for fights. Sometimes, he didn't train at all.
    9) James Toney - Toney has enjoyed a renaissance, and it's been good for boxing. A lot of young fans get to see him do things he learned from Bill Miller in Detroit, and Toney always says his favorite fighters in history are Archie Moore and Ezzard Charles. Come to think of it, his first two fights with Mike McCallum probably resembled the Archie Moore vs. Ezzard Charles series if we would ever be given access to the tapes.
    10) Holman Williams - Fought Burley and just about everyone else during that time. Eddie Futch once said he'd rather watch Williams shadow box than watch most fighters fight. It is this fighter, outside of Ezzard Charles, who gave the great Charley Burley his most difficult fights.

    Honorable Mentions:

    11) Roberto Duran: Duran is known mostly as an offensive menace, but it was his head and foot feints and counter punching ability that made him so effective. Watch the first Leonard fight, and even the Davey Moore fight. He was slippery as a snake, and came at angles that were hard to predict and defend against.
    12) Jersey Joe Walcott: Eddie Futch said Walcott was the most technically sound of the heavyweight champions. Although not the puncher Moore was on a PFP basis, he was similar in style. He made Joe Louis look foolish without moving all that much in their first title fight, and might be the only fighter to ever really hurt Marciano bad. Rocky looked confused and lost when Walcott floored him in the first round. He also outboxed Marciano for much of their match. His slick, hidden hybrid left hook/uppercut on Charles to become the oldest fighter to win the heavyweight title at the time was basically copied by George Foreman when Foreman took out Cooney. Very slick, smart, and crafty without moving all that muc

    [ February 23, 2004, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: El Gavilan ]

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