Obsessed with the Impossible

By Marc Livitz on July 8, 2017
Obsessed with the Impossible
Can this be called a quicker distance between two points or a mere shortcut to cognition?

We’ll never know if Mike Tyson could have held his own against Muhammad Ali or if Ali himself could have beaten Joe Louis…

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, then you just might find you get what you need,” said perhaps the greatest frontman ever in the history of rock and roll, Mick Jagger in 1969. In terms of professional boxing and its respective matchups both past and present, there are nights within the ring that will forever be remembered with the same type of moral obligations that come with marriage. For better or for worse. The sickness as well as health of the sport has often been dictated by contests which we as fans have been able to see alongside those that have been kept from us.

Perhaps we should be happy that the upcoming showdown between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin was just one true year in the making as opposed to certain bouts that could have taken place in the first decade of the 2000’s instead of the second. The contest is officially sold out, which is notable with consideration that the least expensive ticket went for $300 at face value.

Still, a social abyss such as Facebook is awash with entry after of entry of “what if” contests that hypothetically put legends from various eras of the sport in a ring together. It’s nothing new across the professional landscape, of course. So many forms of media have switched from journalistic input to video and live stream. Why read when you can watch, is it? Can this be called a quicker distance between two points or a mere shortcut to cognition?

More often than not, only fans of the team in question don’t bother to think how they’d fare against greats from the past. Would Michael Jordan’s Bulls of 1996 beat today’s Golden State Warriors? Would the 1972 Miami Dolphins top Tom Brady and the Patriots? There are scores of people who will, believe it or not, analyze page after page and endless amounts of footage to come to a conclusion. Some people simply detest the success of others.

We’ll never know if Mike Tyson could have held his own against Muhammad Ali or if Ali himself could have beaten Joe Louis. Of course, both Tyson and Ali had as well as continue to have their fair share of detractors, so it can come as no shock that some pundits will always look to discredit their success. A few years ago, the “Bible of Boxing” published a multi-page article with the input of several well respected writers in regards to how welterweight greats of yesteryear would tackle the challenge in the form of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Breakdowns and predictions must have made some readers happy and others simply shake their heads. Legends such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard were mentioned as mythical opponents and to the delight of some, Floyd would find himself beaten by a few of them. Fair play and to each his or her own for this type of boxing nostalgia. However, much more realistic feelings of bitterness can go hand in hand with the slow burn that are fights that could have but never happened.

In our common era, so to speak we were made to wait for what seemed like ages for the aforementioned Tyson to finally face Evander Holyfield or of course, for Mayweather to at last get in a ring with Manny Pacquiao. One fight (the initial one) delivered, yet the other one felt more like an item sent COD. Whether due to promotional, monetary or other factors, there’s more than a few volumes of fights that may have produced fireworks but never made it past the “maybe” stage. There can also be rematches in the same bushel of aggravation.

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe finally retired in 2008 with only one loss on his ledger, yet he never fought Lennox Lewis. Remember when Lewis confronted Bowe in 1992 after Riddick had just taken the lion’s share of the heavyweight spoils from Evander Holyfield? Many of us believed that should have been enough, but they never fought. Bowe even famously threw his WBC belt into the garbage and such went the thought of a showdown, although the possibility lingered.

Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor never got a shot at Sugar Ray Leonard, who himself managed to incense Marvelous Marvin Hagler so much that we saw neither a rematch after their 1987 bout nor Hagler in the ring ever again. Boxing is full of such instances and this writer will not pretend to share the frustration of fans from fifty to sixty years ago when the best still didn’t always fight the best. It’s basically fruitless to allow the dissatisfaction to do our collective heads inward but at the same time, social media and instant opinions can push us further away from the flesh and blood world. It’s always easier for some to doubt than to dig but there’s no end in sight. Where do we go from here?

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  1. David 03:12pm, 07/12/2017

    If slow defenseless Joe Frasier was able to reach Muhammad Ali, can you imagine what Mike Tyson who was a little faster and had a better defense than Joe Frasier would have done to Ali’s jaw? Joe Louise would have massacred the self-proclaimed greatest, Muhammad Ali.

  2. nonprophet 08:02am, 07/11/2017

    Allen….Floyd was around when boxing was “important.”  He was then, and remains to this day, undefeated.

    Paid a boxer so that Floyd could come in overweight?

    Beyond the fact that what you are saying makes absolutely no sense and should perhaps somehow be re-worded, you’ve also added no source for such a statement.

    It’s a shame that folks are so bitter over Floyd’s success and angry because he brags about it that they have to make up stuff about him to feel good about themselves.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:05am, 07/09/2017

    If “Iron Mike” Tyson had been in with “Lights Out” that night he would have been KOd too….. that is unless he decided to DQ out!

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:31am, 07/09/2017

    James Toney’s greatest performance…. by far….. in his long career was the night that he KOd EVANder HolyFIELDS!

  5. allen 02:58pm, 07/08/2017

    “Floyd would have been beaten by a few of them.” You must be kidding. Most top contenders when boxing was an important sport would have beaten Floyd. He had a low level of competition and low level of depth of completion. And didn’t he once pay a naturally smaller opponent millions of dollars so he, Floyd, could come in over the weight limit?

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