We Are the Hollow Men

By Mike Casey on November 28, 2013
We Are the Hollow Men
Some of those Berlin crowds at the Klitschko fights look as if they're dressed for the opera.

Does anyone seriously believe Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster would have knocked out Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali?

Every time I hear their voices, chanting together in monotonous unison, telling me that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are not just great heavyweights but two of the greatest ever, the words of the old T.S. Eliot poem ring through my mind: We are the hollow men/We are the stuffed men/Leaning together/Headpiece filled with straw.

If you tell yourself something so many times, however outrageous that something might be, you will come to believe it. We hear terrible tales of the persecuted being brainwashed, but many people are highly adept at brainwashing themselves. It is known as mind over matter.

How dreadfully accustomed we have all become to mediocrity in our once fabulous sport of boxing and indeed in life itself. The spin doctors have skillfully whipped us into a frenzy of constant and almost orgasmic excitement by simply feeding us cheap burgers and fries when once we demanded steak and champagne.

When artist David Hockney returned home to England from Los Angeles some years ago, people were shocked. English David, it seemed, had become the quintessential California Man who would forever linger in the Golden State. When asked to explain his move, Hockney said, “Everyone seems to be medicated now.”

His implication was that the urgency and quality had gone, replaced by a contented lethargy. The average and the mundane had become the new benchmarks of excellence. That is certainly the case in professional boxing today, most particularly in the erstwhile flagship division of the heavyweights. It staggers me that so many are hoodwinked by the third-rate, slow-motion drivel that is being served up.

Wladimir Klitschko is a good and competent heavyweight fighter. He is nothing more and it is now unlikely that he ever will be. Nor will Vitali. We are told that the bar has been raised and that we are now in the era of the truly super-sized, super powerful heavyweights who would have knocked seven bells out of their predecessors. That one little myth alone is among the most ridiculous ever perpetrated.

Wlad Klitschko thrives very nicely in the most pathetically shallow and unimaginative heavyweight division in boxing history. The quality is simply awful and any old lump with cartoon muscles and a bucket of bullshit can get into the top ten. No wonder Wlad looks like Superman. He is the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. Good for Wlad. It’s certainly not his fault. He has improved his technique, learned how to protect his fragile chin, grown even bigger than he was before and just keeps slamming that left jab and right hand into the faces of the robotic blobs who huff and puff in mildly aggressive pursuit of him.

But hey, isn’t it great? Don’t you think it’s absolutely fantastic? Get with the program, appreciate what you’re seeing and thank the good Lord that he didn’t set you down at birth in the era of Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Frazier or Ali. Perish the thought. You would be watching genuine athletes of real talent instead of genuine giants of real whatever.

How can anyone with their eyes open, their brain engaged and their judgment unimpaired by the morphine of indoctrination be at all impressed by the inoffensive heavyweight waltzes of this most depressing era? How can they possibly believe that they are watching greatness?

Super

The new era of super heavyweights? No, quite the contrary. We have gone back to the era of the cavemen in terms of skill and technique. The lack of imagination and flair among today’s contenders, the lack of a Plan A (never mind a Plan B) and the almost complete lack of any meaningful movement has become chronic. That is why Wladimir Klitschko is the all conquering Tyrannosaurus Rex of his time. And why would you want a Ferrari or a Porsche when you can have a carthorse and still be happy? Welcome to the age of low expectation, welcome to the land of the bland and the obedient, where no unkind words should be uttered about the crap that’s on the menu.

A short time ago, I discussed this subject with referee and boxing historian Ron Lipton, who said: “The Ukrainian/Russian/European devotional program of strength training, functional body building combined with a boxing regimen as depicted in Dolph’s training in Rocky is going to result in a superior physical specimen any way you cut the cake. When you add to it gargantuan height and weight you do not exactly produce a stiff KO victim who cannot move well nor have what I call the skeletal mechanics like other tall heavy boxers e.g. Anders Eklund via Tim Witherspoon, who was a sitting target for that overhand right.”

Ron stressed that his opinions of the Klitschko brothers’ boxing skills were very similar, but chose to focus on Vitali. “This is a superior intellect in a Goliath body who can apply himself to any endeavor of study and excel. Turn this Avatar loose in a barren wasteland of heavyweight talent with corpulent midriffs like Peters, Arreola, and or mustard seed heart performances like Haye, and then you have the epitome of the one-eyed king in the land of the blind.

“This is a very strong man blessed with genetic gifts who hung in there with Lennox Lewis, who was a true destroyer with both hands. Quite honestly I do not see great boxing skills here, but I do see an extremely tall and heavy boxer, who knows what it is like to be in that ring as far as range, radar, defense and how to use his limited skills against the mediocre opposition that boxing provides in that limited division.

“Joe Louis would annihilate him like Buddy Baer and Carnera. Tyson would break him in half and Foreman and Liston would chase him out of the ring.

“Vitali would paw, slap and lean back successfully against the rest of the crop where his size alone would allow him to survive his way to his usual decision win of sticking his long arms out, leaning back, pushing right hands into his opponent’s face and arm punching with pawing long and short hooks combined with awkward uppercuts thrown into the potpourri as usual.

“As soon as he got hit dead in the middle of his face, he would freak out like Mayweather does and grab and hold all night long, stinking out the joint like an unwashed rhino cage in the Bronx Zoo.

“He has skills, but so did Goliath. It is just there are no Davids on planet earth in boxing, they are all in the MMA where some of them would break him in half. Yet, I like him, for his dedication to training, his sportsmanship, as I do his brother. Both are gentleman and represent the sport well outside the ring and certainly are light years from being the usual thugs we hate that talk juvenile smack to their opponents.

“I respect Vitali and Wlad but do not think they have great skill, only great height, weight and reach. I respect with all my heart that they come into the ring in shape and earn their pay by at least looking the part and attempting although somewhat without any verve, to walk the walk.”

Of Wlad Klitschko, fellow writer Clarence George says: “Big and strong? Yes, that’s true. But skilled? Sure, if you consider moving with all the grace of The Tin Man in desperate need of oiling a skill.

“It’s bad enough when a garden-variety fan hip hip hoorays over this big frog lording it over the tadpoles in the small and scummy pond that is today’s heavyweight division, but when a boxing analyst does it…...

“Mind you, I don’t disagree with those who call him the best of the current crop. He is that. But I bristle whenever he’s favorably compared to true all-time greats, such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, and Rocky Marciano.

“The argument is that the heavyweight champs of yore would be considered cruiserweights today – just too small to take on the massive Ukrainian. But there’s more to boxing, even at the heavyweight division, than poundage. No? Then how did Louis manage to stop Abe Simon (“The Ape”) not once but twice? Joe weighed a little over 200 pounds in their encounters, while Abe tipped the scales (hell, knocked them over) at around 255 – about 13 pounds more than Wlad weighed during his recent draping-himself-over Alexander Povetkin.

“In terms of skill, toughness, experience, and savviness, Louis was pure magic, while Klitschko has only mastered ‘Pick a palooka, any palooka.’”

Debate

If we’re going to have a fair and honest debate about the heavyweights of today and yesteryear, then let’s have it on a fair and honest playing field. The modernists tell me that a 190-pound Jack Dempsey wouldn’t even get near a 250-pound Klitschko. That laughable statement in itself betrays their total ignorance of Dempsey’s speed, skill, explosive power and cunning boxing mind. Jack at his original weight would have butchered Wlad and Vitali and I will explain why in a little while. What amuses me is the arrogant (or conveniently intentional) assumption that Dempsey would still be coming into the ring at 190 pounds in 2013. How can that be?

Jack once said that he would have loved to have weighed 220 pounds. He regarded that weight as the perfect medium for a heavyweight boxer. He was right. Jim Jeffries, in his prime, scaled around 220 pounds. So did the young killer that was George Foreman. At that weight, a big puncher has all the power he requires without sacrificing the essential ingredients of athleticism and suppleness. Dempsey would certainly weigh around 220 pounds today with all the modern benefits of better food and nutrition. Like Marciano, he would also steer well clear (I hope) of wrecking his athleticism by lifting weights and messing around with ‘supplements’. The old-timers were sworn off all that nonsense by their trainers.

Dempsey, Marciano, Louis, Liston, Foreman, Frazier and Tyson were natural fighters. Wladimir Klitschko isn’t and never will be. Nor will Vitali. That’s why the Klitschko brothers would have lost to all the aforementioned. Any kind of physical advantage goes straight out of the window when a boxer doesn’t really care for the business of boxing and has to keep a memorized version of the textbook locked into his brain. The champions I have named here were instinctive fighters.

They had the killer instinct in their souls and they knew how to cut the ring off on their opponents. They knew how to negate an opponent’s superior reach and get inside. They didn’t have to be told when to pull the trigger. Dempsey and Louis threw fast and varied combinations of punches as naturally as they breathed. They didn’t have to say, “One, two, three” before they let rip. The Klitschkos, to me, look like men who do exactly that. They get away with it because their opponents are similarly programmed and mechanized but with less talent.

Wlad Klitschko improved greatly under the shrewd guidance of Manny Steward. But Manny, for all his duty-bound praise of Wlad, must have known that the improvement could only be finite. Steward was taping up a fragile package and making it as sound as he could. But he knew he didn’t have a fluid, natural talent in the mold of a heavyweight Thomas Hearns. In Wlad, Steward made a one-two-three fighter a better one-two-three fighter, teaching him as much movement as was possible and how better to protect the chin that had been shattered by Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. Mark those two names. Does anyone seriously believe that they would have knocked out Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali?

Wlad, even against the terrible opposition of his time, always looks like a man who expects the roof to fall in on him at any given moment if his memory should suddenly blank out and forget that ‘two’ comes after ‘one’. He is not a confident, dominant fighter who grabs the bull by the horns.

If a man is scared of a spider, it is the man who will be backing off and I don’t care how tall he is, how much he weighs or how much he can bench press. Wlad would be backing off against every champion I have named here and would either be knocked out quickly or brutally chopped up. He would become even more hesitant and he certainly wouldn’t have the natural instinct to bluff and hustle his way out of the crisis. One can see the same hesitancy and fear in brother Vitali, generally regarded as the technically superior of the two.

Would Wlad’s big punch save him? What big punch? This is another fallacy I hear all the time from the hopelessly hypnotized. “Wlad is a terrific puncher.” No he isn’t. He is a hard puncher but he is primarily a competent bludgeoner who is permitted to thump away pretty much as he pleases by a conveyor belt of clueless challengers who almost seem to invite the punishment. Carlos Monzon was a bludgeoner, but of a far higher class than Klitschko.

Stumbling

Against the incredibly talented Dempsey, the Klitschko brothers would be back-pedaling and stumbling around the ring in much the same way as Jess Willard. Here I must digress a little and explain the importance of proper and thorough research. If you’re going to shout from the rooftops that Jack Dempsey was a bum, that’s fine with me as long as you can prove that you have done your homework. Don’t just watch a couple of YouTube films. Don’t just read a few prosaic reports from the time.

Watch a lot of films, especially the old 16mm classics. Zoom in, break them down, correct the speed and see what you are looking at. Read a lot of newspaper clippings. Read a lot of books. If you truly care, then take the trouble, even though it can be absolutely laborious work. Some of my critics assure me they do all this, but it is quite apparent from their standard issue appraisal of old fighters that they don’t. They cobble together a few old stories they’ve read – usually inaccurate stories – and present them as a personal opinion.

With experience, if you are willing to persevere, your instinct will come to tell you what is probably true and what is probably false. It is a great pity that Dempsey’s all round greatness has been either forgotten or sarcastically dismissed by the smug and the lazy. What did Jack have? He had all the attributes of the perfect fighter. He was an excellent boxer, a tremendous puncher, fast of hand and foot and blessed with tremendous powers of recuperation. Along with Joe Louis, Dempsey was the greatest of the short range punchers, able to wreak terrible havoc with blows that traveled no more than nine inches. He dislocated Jack Sharkey’s shoulder with a misfired shot that had lost its steam by the time it landed.

Gene Tunney said of Dempsey: “Jack was no wild slugger. He was an extremely clever fusion of fighter and boxer. He fought out of a peculiar weave and bob and was very difficult to hit with a solid punch. In the 20 rounds I fought him – 10 at Philadelphia in 1926 and 10 at Chicago the following year – I never did get a clean shot at his jaw. He was always weaving and bobbing away from the direct line of fire.

“Dempsey was criticized for not being able to knock out Tommy Gibbons – one of the all-time great boxers. Actually, that fight was one of Jack’s most impressive performances. Unable to reach his clever opponent with a knockout punch, he was still a fine enough combination of fighter and boxer to outscore Tommy all the way.

“The most remarkable thing about Dempsey’s fighting make-up was the shortness of his punching. His blows seldom traveled more than six inches to a foot. He had a trick of hooking his left to the body and then to the head in practically the same movement.

“In his fight with Luis Firpo, Jack floored the huge Argentinian seven times in the first round and twice in the second before knocking him out. Yet, of all the punches he threw, only the last – a right to the jaw – was a long one.

“All the others were short, murderous jolts and digs to the heart and the kidney and the jaw. This ability of Dempsey to generate such punishing power over a few inches of swing, without seeming leverage, traced from a quick power inherent in his unusual shoulder conformation, with its high and bulging deltoid muscles.”

Do the Klitschko brothers possess even a scintilla of Dempsey’s talent? Do they get anywhere near the skills of Joe Louis or the truly exceptional punching power of Rocky Marciano? How can any sane and knowledgeable boxing mind even float the subject for debate?

I go back to my earlier point about research. It amazes me how many fail to appreciate Marciano’s punching power and just how hard he could hit. I am told by some that Earnie Shavers hit much harder than Marciano. I am told by others that George Chuvalo – for goodness sake – hit harder than Rocky. What utter rot.

Marciano was one of the true elite. Rocky didn’t possess the clever and versatile punching technique of Jack Dempsey and wasn’t Jack’s equal as a short range puncher. Jack still leads the heavyweight field in that department when one measures the actual distance of the punches. Nor did Marciano have the skill, economy and stunning accuracy of Joe Louis.

What made Rocky special was that he was a genuine, two-fisted knockout puncher who could damage an opponent with equal effect to both head and body. Marciano’s outstanding endurance enabled him to keep firing and he would fire at any available target. As Dempsey and Louis correctly noted, Rocky could knock a man out with a single shot or break his body and his heart over the long haul with a battery of powerful blows. Roland LaStarza suffered broken blood vessels in his arms in trying to fend off Marciano.

The punch of a knockout fighter carries a huge amount of energy. Scientists will tell you that an uppercut which lifts a man off his feet requires the energy of ‘mgh’, where ‘m’ is the mass of the opponent, ‘g’ the acceleration due to gravity and ‘h’ the height to which the opponent is lifted. On average, it is reckoned that 700 foot-pounds of energy is required to manage this feat.

Around 1955, Rocky Marciano had his punch measured at a USA military installation, where it is believed that the test was conducted on a ballistic pendulum. Rocky achieved a score of 925 foot-pounds whilst wearing a 12-ounce boxing glove. Those who witnessed the test could hardly believe what they had seen.

Power punching, for all its surface brutality and apparently meaningless violence to the eye of the layman, is a wonderful science. The precious few who genuinely possess it must marry a formidable range of components and make them flow in harmony.

Louis

Joe Louis was another genuine two-fisted knockout puncher who married his terrific hitting power to grace, balance and exceptional boxing skill.

New York Sun columnist Bob Davis said of Louis: “When he hits, something just has to go.” Davis noted the slight sway and lift of Joe’s legs as he moved into an opponent and started to punch. “Louis has everything – power, weight, marvelous co-ordination and the slash of a rapier in either fist. I watched him fight and watched him train. The kick in his blow is something terrific, for he gets everything in his legs and body into it, all swinging in perfect rhythm as he drives the fist for a vulnerable point.”

New Jersey sports editor Al DelGreco said: “Louis batted out rivals with such swiftness that writers at the ringside couldn’t pick out the finishing blow and by which hand it had been delivered. He had a defensive weakness, true, but when he was in his prime he overcame it with his offensive ferocity.”

Louis was a great thinker and an accomplished planner who could always vary his strategy when required. Joe was as much of a boxer as he was a puncher, something that cannot be said of too many heavyweight champions.

Trainer Jack Blackburn had a key word in his early coaching of Louis. That word was ‘balance’. Get your balance right, he told the Bomber, and all the other pieces of the jigsaw will click into place. “Chappie had drilled me so much on hitting and balance,” Joe once said, “that they were the main things I thought about. I wasn’t worried so much about the hitting. But getting my balance right was my main problem. As Blackburn said, ‘When you’re hitting right, you’re never off balance.’”

Blackburn instilled much of his own feinting and general boxing ability into Louis during the endless hours they labored in the gym. Jack regarded the Old Master, Joe Gans, as the perfect template, teaching Louis how to advance intelligently on an opponent and never allow the other man to set the pace. The objective was to make the opponent feel anxious, keep him ever guessing and never allow him respite.

By the time all the seeds bore fruit, Joe Louis was as near a perfect fighting machine as there could be, prompting Nat Fleischer to describe him as “…a pugilistic symphony with a tempo geared to bring him across the ring with all the grace of a gazelle and the cold fury of an enraged mountain lion. He combined excellent harmony of movement with crushing power stored in each hand.”

In short, here was a very special heavyweight who could knock out any man of any size – and did.

Scale Louis up to today’s ‘super heavyweight’ size – if indeed you really feel the need to – and how can anyone seriously give Wlad or Vitali Klitschko an earthly chance?

Sanitized

Wlad and Vitali are the perfect products of the new mechanical age, the chief owners of a once beautiful diamond that is now irreparably flawed. Just as society has become clinical and sanitized, so has the once prized heavyweight championship of the world. Once the biggest and juiciest steak in sports, it is now sliced into manageable cutlets with alphabet soup letters to denote what each cutlet stands for.

It has been medicated, managed and manipulated. The quality has been sucked right out of it and the marketing people have cleverly numbed us into believing that a budget package is a five-star product. It is almost family entertainment in its blandness, a good movie that we forget as soon as we have seen it, and it is aptly reigned over by two clockwork kings of no distinction. No passion, please. No drama. Somebody might be offended. Some of those Berlin crowds at the Klitschko fights look as if they’re dressed for the opera. It’s all so awfully nice. Clean. Respectable. But it’s not exciting, it’s not technical brilliance and it’s not greatness in our time.

Take that morphine drip from your arm, tell the thought police you’re not a number but a man and then treat yourself to a fresh look at Wladimir Klitschko. Why? Because you will see a modified and computerized version of Fred Fulton with a few value-for-money extras added on. Take a look at Vitali Klitschko and you will see near enough the same thing.

But let me not keep the hollow men from leaning together and continuing to chant. All together now….


Mike Casey is a Boxing.com writer and Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at https://sites.google.com/site/alltimeboxingrankings. He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

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  1. Brooks 08:20am, 01/12/2015

    Hi there colleagues, its fantastic piece of writing
    regarding culture and entirely explained, keep it up all the time.

  2. Ted 05:32pm, 12/08/2013

    nicolas, correct

  3. nicolas 07:05pm, 12/06/2013

    TED:  I think to compare Willard to the Klitschko’s is interesting. But to suggest that Dempsey would do to the Klitschko’s what he did to Willard is to be polite, way off. Willard had nowhere near the experience that both Klitschko’s have. From what I have read, Jess had started to box in 1911. When he fought Jack Dempsey, he had not boxed for three years. Clarence George once made an interesting point that had James Corbett had to fight John L Sullivan in his prime, perhaps the result would have been different. Perhaps Jack Dempsey would have had more difficulties beating the 1915 Jess Willard, who had only boxed for some four years. From what I have read, Willard did not really enjoy being a boxer, he would rather have been a farmer, but due to some bad luck, had to turn to boxing.

  4. Mike Casey 09:00am, 12/06/2013

    I’m going to need a while to recover after imagining those gents in combat!! Mr Hauser would certainly float like something - not sure how much he’d sting. Hey, we mustn’t be naughty…..

  5. Ted 08:35am, 12/06/2013

    That is not to say that you cannot write a fine article if you never boxed. All I am saying is that all other things being equal, having some ring experience can add to your effort.

  6. Ted 08:20am, 12/06/2013

    Ha, I knew I could get you out of there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What amazes me are the so-called “experts” (Boxing.com excluded) out there who write as if they know how to box. Can you imagine a Dan Rafael waddling around a ring trying to close it off? Or a Tom Hauser feigning a left hook upstairs and then coming around with a malicious one to the liver? Or the late Pat Putnam showing incredible courage in the face of adversity to snatch victory from defeat? Or many of the metrosexual buffet diving writers doing a bull rush—-err—actually I can imagine that last one.

    Maybe all fine writers but most don’t really understand the nuances and innuendos of the sport they write about. I wonder how many of these scribes have ever held a newspaper under their left armpit and tried to throw a left hook without dropping the newspaper?

    Every guy I ever met fought in the “Golden Gloves.” What utter bullshit. I fought but I can proudly say I never fought in the GG. I did PAL, CYO, and Park Leagues and not all that well, but unlike most of these morons, I can prove it.

    Please pass the puke bucket. BTW, an extremely well written article Mike.

  7. Mike Casey 04:47am, 12/06/2013

    True, Ted. I had assumed that knowing something about ‘actually boxing’ was an obvious requirement, but perhaps I should have made that point clear, bearing in mind that one has to draw pictures and write in bold capitals for many people out there today. You and I have met a few of those along the way. My old coach in Eltham used to smack me in the face with an open glove every time I dropped my left. I quickly learned to stop dropping it.

  8. Ted 09:00am, 12/05/2013

    “Against the incredibly talented Dempsey, the Klitschko brothers would be back-pedaling and stumbling around the ring in much the same way as Jess Willard. Here I must digress a little and explain the importance of proper and thorough research. If you’re going to shout from the rooftops that Jack Dempsey was a bum, that’s fine with me as long as you can prove that you have done your homework. Don’t just watch a couple of YouTube films. Don’t just read a few prosaic reports from the time.

    “Watch a lot of films, especially the old 16mm classics. Zoom in, break them down, correct the speed and see what you are looking at. Read a lot of newspaper clippings. Read a lot of books. If you truly care, then take the trouble, even though it can be absolutely laborious work. Some of my critics assure me they do all this, but it is quite apparent from their standard issue appraisal of old fighters that they don’t. They cobble together a few old stories they’ve read – usually inaccurate stories – and present them as a personal opinion.”

    All good except it also helps to know something about actually boxing. You know, telling if a fighter really knows how to throw an uppercut by the way he dips or doesn’t dip. Watching his foot movement. Watching how he leverages punches. Watching whether he uses athleticism such as punching while backing up—some might call it backpedding. . If one has been in the ring, one knows these things so I’d add that to the mix.

    This all said,  I will match my technical knowledge of boxing with just about any so-call historian anytime, anywhere. I’m getting might tired of people calling themselves historians when they don’t even know what acceptable research methodology is all about. The kind one learns while getting his or her PhD. For all his faults, Bert Sugar did know how to research. 


    So where am I going with this? Simple. I will hold off my evaluation on the Klits until they have RETIRED and until their entire body of work can be evaluated. And I add that I think Vitali is vastly better than Wlad—who has been a consistent, dominant, and long-standing champion.

    That is all—-(for now)

  9. Ted 06:13am, 12/05/2013

    Yes, Robert told me

  10. Mike Casey 02:50am, 12/05/2013

    Ron Lipton said it, Ted. Tried to reply to you yesterday but kept getting a message telling me I couldn’t. A technical hitch that Robert has fixed. I’m not going to reply on Ron’s behalf and I have refrained from commenting on the arguments of others here because I said everything I needed to in the article.

  11. Ted 03:39pm, 12/04/2013

    If Lipton said the following, he must have been on something very strange and strong:

    “This is a very strong man blessed with genetic gifts who hung in there with Lennox Lewis, who was a true destroyer with both hands. Quite honestly I do not see great boxing skills here, but I do see an extremely tall and heavy boxer, who knows what it is like to be in that ring as far as range, radar, defense and how to use his limited skills against the mediocre opposition that boxing provides in that limited division.

    “Joe Louis would annihilate him like Buddy Baer and Carnera. Tyson would break him in half and Foreman and Liston would chase him out of the ring.

    Say what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Vitali and Lewis savaged one another. Lewis knocked Tyson flat out. What am I missing? Vitali has a granite chin; Tyson does not.. How can you extol the virtues of a fighter in one paragraph and then tear the guy down in the very next paragraph? This kind of ying and yang destroys the credibility of the argument.

  12. Ted 12:50pm, 12/04/2013

    Anybody home?

  13. Ted 09:44am, 12/04/2013

    WHO SAID THIS?  “Joe Louis would annihilate him like Buddy Baer and Carnera. Tyson would break him in half and Foreman and Liston would chase him out of the ring.”

  14. Eric 02:00pm, 12/02/2013

    Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and all the other greats would whip both Klits at the same time, while wearing a blindfold and one arm tied behind their back. Long live old school. teehee.  The past champs were more exciting to watch for the most part, but that doesn’t make them better fighters. Someone like a Bob Satterfield type would be entertaining because of the either they go or he goes type of deal, but Satterfield wasn’t a “great ” fighter, good, but far from great.

  15. Eric 01:53pm, 12/02/2013

    And just how good was Tyson’s chin? Maybe the Klits would test Iron Mike’s tinsel chin? Tyson certainly didn’t have an “iron” chin himself.

  16. tuxtucis 12:50pm, 12/02/2013

    @dafabet: Sorry, you can say Wlad had a weak chin, not Vitali. Vitali was never knocked down by punches, he was kayoed only by a kick in kickboxing. He absorbed some terrible right hands from powerful Lewis.

  17. Dafabet sports news 02:25am, 12/02/2013

    Sorry neither klitschko would stand a chance against ali, foreman or mike tyson in their prime. Especially tyson in his prime would attack their weak chins. Right now the heavyweight division is a joke and full of bums. that’s why the klitschkos are winning they haven’t fought any real contenders. They don’t get much respect from me but who am i just a fan of boxing.

  18. George Thomas Clark 08:49pm, 12/01/2013

    No sport pulls one involuntarily back into the past like boxing.  Golf is second in that regard: note all the Tiger v. Nicklaus comparisons.  I rarely find myself debating Willie Mays or Wilt Chamberlain or Jim Brown versus their contemporary counterparts.  But in boxing…

  19. Gordon Hartman 08:41pm, 12/01/2013

    I have followed boxing for about seventy years now. I do not pretend to know who was ‘the greatest’, or in what decade they lived. What I do see is that I read, too often, that “they ain’t what they used to be”.  Get over the old argument about who was greatest or when they existed.. Watch the sport and appreciate all of those courageous people who get up there and try, succeed, or fail. Whether they are modern fighters or early 19th century combatants, they are courageous and strong. Respect them, and stop looking back to compare. We/you probably don’t really know anyway.

  20. George Thomas Clark 08:32pm, 12/01/2013

    In regard to facing great punchers, Ali is in a unique and tragic position - he fought Frazier three times, Liston twice, and Foreman and Shavers once.  He also faced good punchers Norton, Patterson (see Johansson), Quarry, Lyle, Holmes and others.  His longstanding health problems are primarily a result of getting hit by these guys.

  21. Eric 07:27pm, 12/01/2013

    Just Googled up Manuel Ramos boxing record. He just started losing to everyone, Ron Stander and Terry Daniels the two ex-challengers for Frazier’s title. Luis Pires, Bernardo Mecardo, and even Duane Bobick. He wound up losing more than he won. Looked like he had a helluva right uppercut and he certainly had some size for the day but the guy apparently just fell apart.

  22. Eric 06:44pm, 12/01/2013

    Ramos definitely went into a tailspin after his title shot loss to Frazier. I believe Ron Stander even beat him. If you look at the Stander-Frazier title bout, I believe it was either the first or second round in which Stander rocked Frazier. Frazier didn’t have a weak chin but he didn’t have a great chin either IMO. Frazier’s heart and stamina can’t be questioned,  but I would put a question mark by his chin. He was tagged by Quarry in their first bout, but I wouldn’t classify Quarry or even Bonavena as “great” punchers, they both were good punchers but not in the category of what I would call “huge” punchers. You can see Bugner shook Frazier in their bout. The criticism with Frazier is that until Foreman he never faced anyone who could hit as hard or harder than himself. You could say Marciano and Tyson never had to face a huge puncher either, unless you want to count a 37 year old Joe Louis or a Bonecrusher Smith as huge punchers. The question with someone like Marciano will always be he never had to face a huge puncher like a Liston or a Foreman. Unfortunately for Joe, he did.

  23. George Thomas Clark 06:22pm, 12/01/2013

    In the first round Manuel Ramos briefly stunned Frazier with his best punch, a right uppercut.  Frazier recovered within a second or so, and resumed the bombardment.  This second round TKO was the first time Ramos had been stopped.  Evidently, Ramos never recovered.  He lost his final 15 fights and 21 of his last 24.  Ramos died at age 57.

  24. George Thomas Clark 06:01pm, 12/01/2013

    A lot of good points, Eric, but few would agree Joe Frazier had a weak chin.  He popped up from each of the Bonavena knockdowns in their first fight and rallied to win, and dominated Oscar in their rematch.  Joe was ultra aggressive so naturally was tagged quite a bit.  I haven’t seen clips from the Manuel Ramos fight in more than 40 years, but all I remember is Frazier backing Ramos against the ropes and pounding him.  Stander lasted five rounds.  Only two people decked Frazier - the aforementioned Bonavena and George Foreman, and he floored most people he fought.  And Joe was the only fighter in the world at the time who would’ve remained upright, and dangerous, after the Ali onslaughts in the first and third fights.

  25. Eric 04:48pm, 12/01/2013

    Just one more thought before leaving. It baffles me how people criticize Wlad’s cautious style, but isn’t the name of the game, or any sport for that matter, to win the actual contest? If Wlad realizes he doesn’t have a world class chin, then isn’t that intelligent of him to adapt and use a style to his advantage, rather than elect to go out there and slug caveman style. Would a short, short-armed slugger like Marciano have fared well by dancing and jabbing like Muhammad Ali? Would Ali have been successful if he emulated Joe Frazier’s style of boing? Wlad and Vitali’s opponents aren’t much worse than those of the Louis “Bum of the Month Club” or the sorry lot that Larry Holmes feasted on. And what “great” fighters did Jack Dempsey or Rocky Marciano ever defeat while they were in their primes? Sure, Dempsey beat Carpentier and Gibbons, but both of these fighters were light heavyweights. Marciano beat great fighters but they were all past their prime.

  26. Eric 04:11pm, 12/01/2013

    Wlad’s chin might be suspect but so was the chin of Lennox Lewis, Joe Louis, Floyd Patterson, etc. One could even throw Joe Frazier into the mix.  Frazier was decked by Bonavena twice in their first fight, and was even rocked by Manuel Ramos, and backed up by club fighter Ron Stander. Frazier was even rocked by light punching Joe Bugner and Ali staggered him in the second round in their second fight. When 200lb men start landing punches anything can happen. Corrie Sanders was a decent fighter and while he might have not been an elite fighter, he certainly could punch. If Sanders were to land right on anybody he would have been capable of knocking them out. Like another poster noted, Vitali’s chin isn’t suspect and actually Vitali might just be the better of the two brothers. I would certainly rank Lewis among the all-time greats and Lewis was flattened by Oliver McCall and Rahman.

  27. George Thomas Clark 02:45pm, 12/01/2013

    Someone commented that Dempsey wouldn’t have viewed Harry Wills as much of a threat.  Please check BoxRec.com and ask if Dempsey v. Wills would’ve been a good fight in 1919 or 1920, Dempsey defending his title against the 30-year old Wills.  Go much beyond that and Wills was over the hill, due to too much fighting, just like Dempsey was later beyond his prime in his early thirties, due primarily to too little fighting.  Dempsey v. Wills circa 1919-1920 would’ve been a great fight.

  28. Eric 02:17pm, 12/01/2013

    The heavyweight division is a different animal altogether because of no size restrictions. The more talented fighters have always been in the lighter divisions and that is partly the reason why the heavyweight champ is never the finest fighter P4P. The past champs like Marciano and Dempsey were tough as nails. And Ali and Louis were certainly something special. However, the Klits, while they don’t have the speed of Ali, the stamina or workrate of Marciano, or the combination punching skills of Louis, would probably beat all the past champs except for a scant few of them. Marciano and Dempsey were far too small. I know Dempsey and Louis beat giants like Carnera, Buddy Baer, and Willard, but honestly those men aren’t on the same level with either Klit brother. The Klits huge size advantage over someone like a Marciano or Dempsey would come into play. Regarding Corrie Sanders and Brewster, Wlad easily defeated Brewster in a rematch and probably would have done the same to Sanders. Anyhow, wasn’t the great Joe Louis flattened by Max Schmeling their first bout?  Could anyone imagine a 170lb featherfisted Billy Conn whipping either Klit for 13 rounds? The Klits would have run through Dempsey’s opponents, including Tunney, all of Louis’s opponents, and probably all of Ali’s opponents. They might have lost to either a prime Liston or Foreman. Frazier, too small, too predictable.

  29. kid vegas 12:35pm, 12/01/2013

    I’m just proud to be here.

  30. Clarence George 03:58pm, 11/30/2013

    Oh, understood, Nicolas.  No doubt I was inartful (not for the first or last time!) in conveying that their skin color doesn’t enter into my assessment.  As you point out, with characteristic politeness, I needn’t have bothered.

  31. nicolas 01:55pm, 11/30/2013

    Clarence, as I mentioned, I don’t think you or Mr. Casey are critical of the Klischkos because of the color of their skin.

  32. Clarence George 01:31pm, 11/30/2013

    Nicolas:  In many (not all) respects, we are far less civilized today than we were then.

  33. Clarence George 01:28pm, 11/30/2013

    The Barker:  Quite right.  I don’t at all hold the Klitschkos responsible for their era.  But I do find them wanting relative to the champs of the past.

  34. nicolas 01:24pm, 11/30/2013

    CLARENCE: i also want to take issue with you on our age being more barbaric than Dempsey’s era. they had just got out of World War I, and World War II would be a lot worse. 1919 race riots, 1923 Rosewood in Florida, a town of blacks and whites burned down because of a rape accusation, the KKK being at there most powerful. Also as you said, the general perception that mixed race bouts were considered not good because of possible race riots, does not really speak to well of 1920’s society. . Even by blacks in 1930’s there were some race type riots in black areas when Joe Louis lost the first time to Max Schmeling. The reason things may seem more barbaric today is that we have a news system where news travels faster. Back in the 1930’s in some central American country, there was a massacre in some village, but this was not reported because there was nothing like an amnesty international to report such things.

  35. Clarence George 01:23pm, 11/30/2013

    Nicolas:  If I understand you correctly, you think that at least part of the reason the Klitschkos aren’t universally acclaimed is because of their skin color.  I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I can tell you that they could be black as midnight and I still wouldn’t hold them in high regard.

  36. The Barker 01:23pm, 11/30/2013

    @Nicolas, I think you make an interesting point. The American dismay or lack of interest in fighters like Calzaghe and the Klitschkos may very well be cultural. Their styles aren’t appealing as say, a Manny Pacquiao. They’re not brash, like Floyd Mayweather. They just go about their business which, I can imagine for many of us in the US comes across like boxing is more “sport” than life or death (entertainment).

  37. The Barker 01:17pm, 11/30/2013

    @Clarence, I definitely don’t want to make the assumption that Dempsy was racist. Personally, I believe he drew that color line due to the pressures of the times and honestly who could blame him? However, I maintain that such “policies” may very well have not allowed us to know the depths of his ability. Does any of this deplete his legacy? Not anymore than that of Babe Ruth’s. We can only judge from the circumstances afforded them at the time. I say the same for the Klitschkos. We really can’t fault anyone for the circumstances of their respective eras.

  38. nicolas 01:11pm, 11/30/2013

    Clarence, according to George Thomas Clark, in his recent article about Tiger Flowers, and I did ask him about that if it was accurate, and according to him it has been noted that Jack dempsey criticized Harry Greb for giving Tiger Flowers a title shot. Perhaps he said it in a joking manner, because Flowers won. I don’t think that Dempsey was a racist either, as he was criticised for sparing with black fighters. Sadly however, and not because of you or Mr. Casey, I think that Sullivan not fighting Jackson, Jeffires not fighting Johnson when he was champion, and finally Dempsey not fighting Wills, and perhaps all winning as you have suggested in at lest two of the cases to me and others, the Klitschko’s hae been somewhat tarnished as not being all that good strictly because of the color of their skin. Larry Holmes in his racial tirade after losing to Michael Spinks and not tying Rocky Maricano’s undefeated record stated that until the black man loses any interest in winning the heavyweight title, there will never be an undisputed white heavyweight champion. Well now we do, and look at the result by many, especially in the US, they are not all that good. Even Joe Calzaghe I think by many, an undefeated fighter, is somewhat put down by people for the same reasons.

  39. ability to make distinctions 12:48pm, 11/30/2013

    “Does anyone seriously believe Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster would have knocked out Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali?”

    Vitali has never been down (or behind on scorecards), so never been knocked out (but once tkoed). He has never lost a fight in the way his brother did.

    As it has been highlighted in the comments: the historical “HW-All-Timers”, against, according to the articles author, none of the Klitschkos would stand a chance, were knocked out by fighters of or below the quality of Sanders and Brewsters (at t h e i r time)

    Wladimir, since those losses, prevented further damage by fighting the style he does (worst case Povetkin).
    Vitali is less or not at all driven by this history (scaryness).

    Althogh they look kind of identical, the Klitschkos are two different persons and boxers. The altogether Anti-Klitscko-Style is always the same: 1) Look for failures, losses, disappointments etc. in both bios. 2.) If you find one (it must not be rational), attribute it to both fighters.

    Example the other way around: (1) V i t a l i s loss to Byrd. (2) KlitschkoS have no heart.

    See the beginning of the article.

     

  40. Clarence George 12:06pm, 11/30/2013

    The Barker:  I respectfully disagree with your assumption that Dempsey drew the color line because he was a racist.  He did so, rather, to accommodate the concerns of the general public (though not necessarily boxing fans) and the authorities, both of whom were very wary of mixed bouts since the race riots following the Johnson-Jeffries match.  That said, Dempsey did eventually agree to face Harry Wills.  The fight fell through less because of racial concerns and more because Dempsey wasn’t going to get the money he expected and been promised.  Anyway, could “The Black Panther” have beaten “The Manassa Mauler”?  Good as Wills was, and he was, I don’t at all see it.  And I’m sure Dempsey didn’t either—I doubt he had any real fear of losing to Wills.

  41. The Barker 11:10am, 11/30/2013

    @Clarence, the only one guilty of Political Correctness was Mr. Dempsey who adhered to the “color line” set forth by white champions at the time. True, Jack Johnson did the same, but, his reasoning was strictly economic, not racial. Does this diminish Dempsey’s legacy? That’s for historians divorced from their passions and unfettered by mythology to judge. For me it’s simple, you’re the best because you beat the best, not how great and entertaining you looked beating your opponent.

  42. Clarence George 10:16am, 11/30/2013

    “Dempsey?  Exactly how many men of color did he fight again?  I rest my case on him.”

    Really?  One of the greatest heavyweight champs of all time dismissed with a wave of a politically correct hand?  I don’t believe in judging the past by the standards of the present, especially as our own era is in a whole host of ways considerably more barbaric and savage than Dempsey’s.  But even if I did, Dempsey’s reluctance to fight black fighters has damn all to do with his being a lord of the ring.

  43. The Barker 09:49am, 11/30/2013

    Muhammed Ali was beaten by an 8-0 Leon Spinks. Joe Louis in his prime was bested by the Klitschkos’ mentor Max Schmeling, who by all accounts had no business in the ring with the then fearsome Louis. Also, have we suddenly forgotten Joe Louis’ “Bum of the Month” luminaries. Marciano though undefeated, struggled against fighters years past their prime, Walcott and Moore to name two. I concede the Klitschkos aren’t the most entertaining to watch, but, for all of us who drool over Mike Tyson, can you name an all time great, save for a retired Larry Holmes and a terrified, underweight Michael Spinks who he actually beat?  Dempsey? Exactly how many men of color did he fight again? I rest my case on him. Styles make fights who’s to know if Sanders or Brewster would have bested anyone of the aforementioned greats. Do we define Frazier by his annihilation at the hands of Foreman or Floyd Patterson’s legacy by the destruction he received at the hands of Sonny Liston or is Liston’s worth summed up by Leotis Martin’s right hand that Ko’d him? The real question is how would the Klitschkos fair vs. their fellow greats during their prime years? Who knows? What we do know is this, the Klitschkos are only guilty for uneventful combative styles. They didn’t choose their era, nor its crop of fighters. As far as sportsmen go we couldn’t ask for better. They are men of brawn, class, and brains; and have been sober and respectable ambassadors for their sport. The notion that anyone would suggest they are not real fighters can only be asserted by those of us who have the luxury of staying outside the ropes.

  44. Adam Berlin 08:24am, 11/30/2013

    Amen to this article.  The next time I have to defend my dislike of Wlad and Vitali, I’ll send them a link to Mike Casey’s thorough and well-written breakdown of why mediocrity should not be praised.  The Klits are two good heavyweights, nothing more.  They are not pure boxers.  They are not pure bangers.  They never inspire.  They just happen to be physical specimens fighting at the right time.  When a Klit gets hit, look in his eyes—the panic Casey sees is there.  I hope one day soon a heavyweight, even a mediocre heavyweight, seizes the moment and takes advantage of this panic.  Maybe then the defenders of boxing’s dull twin towers will stop protesting so much.

  45. nicolas 07:42pm, 11/29/2013

    I forgot to name that Middleweight champion, it was Paul Pender.

  46. nicolas 07:39pm, 11/29/2013

    To Mr. Casey and Mr. Ecksel. the question could be asked, does anyone seriously believe that Fireman Jim Flynn would knockout either of the Klitschkos, or that Willie Mehan would beat any of the Klitschkos? As they say, shit happens. the late Middleweight champion in a book I perused through said in the 1990’s, or thereabout, “there are 25 middleweight fighters today who could have beaten Sugar Ray Robinson, but guess what, those 25 could have beaten me too.” While I don’t agree with him entirely, I think that he had more of a handle on some reality. Could Dempsey or Marciano have beaten the Klitschkos. I would say yes, maybe one time out of three. I think the Klitschkos might have beaten the other mentioned fighters one out of three times. I will concede that perhaps pound for pound Marciano and Dempsey are better, but against both Wlad and Vitali, they would be giving up about 50 pounds. While the heavyweights today may not be as good as they were forty years or twenty years ago, I do feel they are better than in Dempsey’s time, especially when one looks at the opposition that Dempsey faced in his runup to the heavyweight title. Can Wladimir punch, I guess Mr. Casey should interview Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and Calvin Grove about that. He also defeated a very talented Chris Byrd, twice, and easily, the second time by knockout. .

  47. AKT 06:12pm, 11/29/2013

    @Kenm You just inferred that Wlad is a ‘Distance Manager’; and a great one at that. Like that a lot! lol. I think that Footwork is also very key in boxing, but if I pay money to see a boxer and that’s the best tool in his arsenal, he would have lost a fan. Most definitely.

    In the same vein, by Wlad managing distance in a full contact sport, he turns off a lot of people. In fact, in my mind’s eye, when I picture Wlad, all I see is his left arm almost permanently stuck out. Almost like he is looking for his way out of a maze in the dark.

  48. Matt McGrain 02:23pm, 11/29/2013

    Great, great post Pete The Sneak.

  49. Don from Prov 02:11pm, 11/29/2013

    “It has been medicated, managed and manipulated. The quality has been sucked right out of it and the marketing people have cleverly numbed us into believing that a budget package is a five-star product. It is almost family entertainment in its blandness, a good movie that we forget as soon as we have seen it, and it is aptly reigned over by two clockwork kings of no distinction. No passion, please. No drama. Somebody might be offended. Some of those Berlin crowds at the Klitschko fights look as if they’re dressed for the opera. It’s all so awfully nice. Clean. Respectable. But it’s not exciting, it’s not technical brilliance and it’s not greatness in our time.”

    The truth can be unpleasant.
    Mr. Casey, all the way through this article, is laying out truths, IMO.

  50. Pete The Sneak 02:05pm, 11/29/2013

    Mike, another gem of a write up. As it is, I will sum up the K’s as so. Good fighters, bad heavyweight era. End of story. Not their fault, but it is what it is. Good and decent guys out of the ring and I have much respect for them. Great? Maybe after they are done boxing and some years down the road it may dawn on some of us one day that perhaps they were. Particularly as the HW talent continues to deteriorate as we progress. But for me, that day is not today…Peace.

  51. El Bastardo Magnifico 12:47pm, 11/29/2013

    Ladies and gentlemen you are now entering “THE TWILIGHT ZONE.” Mike Casey, a superb boxing writer and world recognised boxing historian has woken up in another world, a world where all the great heavyweights are fighting live on TV this very night. All Mike Casey has to do is click a button to watch which heavyweight action he wants. Somewhere in the back of his mind our Casey knows that once he hits that button he will be transported live ringside to that great fighter’s live bout. Welcome to the Twilight Zone as Mike Casey picks .......one of the K. Bros. HA HA, NO FOOKIN WAY, GOTTA BE SHITTING ME, give me the animal of Dempsey, give me the power of the Rock, give me the speed and durability of Ali, give me the heart and tenacity of Frazier, give me the stretch you out power and killer instinct of Liston and Foreman… Ladies and gentlemen, our Casey has had enough. He has clicked over to, and entered a long distance marathon where he enjoys the boys going round and round a circle track, round and round, as they manage distance. wee hee wee hee

  52. Rolling Thunder 12:30pm, 11/29/2013

    Why do I get the feeling that I have read this a thousand times before… At the same time, articles like this one and the (more or less) insightful comments are the reason why I visit Boxing.com as often as I do.

  53. Kenm 12:22pm, 11/29/2013

    Let’s unpack these criticisms a little…

    Neither a natural fighter?
    Vitali was world kickboxing champion as well as a boxer, & if anyone has checked out some of these bouts on Youtube it was like watching a lion against a domestic dog.
    When he turned pro as a boxer he preceded to shred his opponents, facing much the same kind of quality that Tyson did to such fanfare, & was 27-0 with 27 ko’s when his shoulder gave out with Byrd, the beginning of a long line of career threatening injuries.
    Inspite of this, he went on to have many excellent victories dishing out plenty of punishment in many genuinely exciting bouts (with the occasional flat performance mixed in), consistently facing the best opponents around.
    —-

    While brother Wladimir was not a natural fighter & initially had stamina issues, he was a superb athlete who continually improved as his career progressed through hard work & dedication to his craft, and eventually grew into possibly the best manager of distance the heavyweight division has ever seen.
    It may be boring for many to watch but managing distance is possibly the most fundamental skill in boxing & the most difficult to truly master, and Wlad truly is a master at it.

    And while people have carped constantly about the level of their opposition, there has been plenty of excellent heavyweight scraps at the level below the Klitchko’s and plenty of excitement generated by up & coming fighters - then they face a Klitchko who proves to a complete level above.


    The only real criticism in the P4P stakes is that only Vitali faced another great in Lennox & lost due to injury, but both have faced plenty of good fighters & shown themselves to operate at a level that only great fighters can reach, & they’ve done it consistently, year after year.

    While their actual place at the ultimate of p4p greatness should be debated, both are unquestionably great fighters.

  54. George Thomas Clark 12:19pm, 11/29/2013

    Trux is correct; I made a 3:30 a.m. error - intoxicated by food, since I don’t drink.  Johnson was indeed TKOed by Klondike in 1899 - from memory I’d mistaken him for Bearcat Wright - but the following year Johnson stopped Klondike, a fact you did not mention.  And yes, Johnson was KOed by Choynski.  Fortunately for Choynski, there was never a rematch, as the San Francisco left hooker was athletically up in years and being phased out. 

    Given Vilali’s strong chin, he’d beat a lot of great fighters.  The K Brothers aren’t any more responsible for their relative lack of great competition than Joe Louis and Larry Holmes were for theirs.  You can only fight the best guys from your time, unless you’re John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, and Gene Tunney, and then you avoid them.

  55. Matt McGrain 11:07am, 11/29/2013

    Aye, you’re either moved by a fighter or you’re not.  There are things I like very much about watching Wladimir fight, but I can definitely see why somebody wouldn’t.

  56. El Bastardo Magnifico 09:44am, 11/29/2013

    They are the best of an as weak as ever heavy division. From their perspective, what the hell, they sell out like hotcakes in Europe, they win win win, and they get paid massive dollars. Great business model but they sure are not exciting to watch—at least not for this guy.

  57. Matt McGrain 09:16am, 11/29/2013

    I’m not saying that Wlad is a superstar in the Uk - i’m saying all his fights are broadcast in the uk.  I’m saying that he was paid 20m recently and that people that have boxnation watch his fights.

  58. AKT 09:14am, 11/29/2013

    @Matt I disagree. Klitschko can afford to get paid that much mostly due to his fan base in Germany and similar ‘Klitschko-style-loving’ Euro countries. After Groves’/Froch’s dust up last week, you can hardly say that there is any comparable interest levels in any of the Klitschko fights. I live in London, and that has been my observation (except when Wlad fought David Haye)

  59. Matt McGrain 08:51am, 11/29/2013

    As many as watch other non terrestrial tv stuff i guess, as much as watch anything that is on BoxNation.  Certainly not the 18m that watched Benn-Eubank, but they are draws.

    Wlad just got paid 20m for a fight.

  60. AKT 08:47am, 11/29/2013

    Yes, Klitschko fights are broadcast in the UK, but who watches them? Not many.

  61. Clarence George 08:42am, 11/29/2013

    I’m at a loss to understand what the Klitschkos’ humanitarian activities have to do with their supposed ring greatness.  I’m equally stumped by the aversion to comparing the brothers to those heavyweight champs of the past who are universally recognized as great (and that’s leaving aside Harry Greb’s complete irrelevance to the discussion). 

    There are two questions:  First, are Wladimir and Vitali great because they’re the best of today’s heavyweights?  Given how they conduct themselves in the ring and the poor quality of much of their opposition, the answer is no.  Second, how do they fare in a historical context?  Badly.  I mean…really badly.

  62. Matt McGrain 08:37am, 11/29/2013

    Yeah.  Every single Wladimir Klitschko fight is broadcast in the UK and has been for a long time.

  63. FrankinDallas 08:04am, 11/29/2013

    “They can’t draw flies”?!? Their bouts in
    Germany are sell outs. Millions watch on TV throughout
    Eastern Europe when they box. Believe it or not, boxing does not
    stop at the US border.

    In addition, they’ve both received humanitarian
    awards for their work in children in Africa and
    South America. Both men do projects with UNESCO.
    Vitali is currently risking life and limb in protests
    against Ukrainian overtures with Russia.

    Unbelievably provincial thinking here. Bunch of old
    guys (and I’m 62!) talking about Joe Louis and Harry Greb,
    and we wonder why boxing doesn’t resonate with young people
    in the US while it is a hot commodity in the rest of
    the world due to the efforts of boxers like the Klits.

    Over and out.

  64. NYIrish 07:27am, 11/29/2013

    “Any old lump with cartoon muscles and a bucket of bullshit can get into the top ten.” You scored a flash knockdown with that one, Mike. It’s a brutal truth wrapped in a smile.
    Regarding the Klitschkos, they are Orwellian. They are the Doublemint Twins of BORING. Mike Tyson is more exciting doing a monolog on HBO than they are boxing a twelve rounder. Pay per view? Fagettabout it ! They can’t draw flies.
    Back in the day the old trainers held a belief that the really big heavyweights had trouble getting over a punch. See Corrie Sanders, above. Any good heavyweight with a heavy punch and 12 round stamina that can pull a Klitschko out of his pace, and break and his rhythm could stop him. BUT I don’t see any good heavyweights today. That in itself is a head scratcher. Strange days have found us.
    Some non champion heavies I think would give the Klits fits;
    Jimmy Ellis, George Chuvalo, Cleveland Williams, Jerry Quarry, Jerry Cooney, Mike DeJohn, Ron Lyle and Earnie Shavers. Oscar Bonavena could match them in strength and clumsiness, and yes, Chuck Wepner. I would PPV these bouts. So it’s not the brothers’ fault. There is just no one to give them a good go. See sentence one.
    P.S. Under the age of 40, Archie Moore would dump them both.

  65. Magoon 07:26am, 11/29/2013

    I’m with Mr. Casey. Whatever qualities the Ks have demonstrated, greatness isn’t one of them. The present heavyweight division stinks so bad that a fish market is a perfume factory in comparison. They’re better than any of their fellow heavies, but if that isn’t faint praise I don’t know what is.

  66. Ezra Salkin 07:19am, 11/29/2013

    I began seriously watching boxing at the end of the Lewis era. Those KO losses that Wlad suffered shocked me, but I’ve always thought they’ve given him more dimension. I respect how he put them behind him, and I have always seen the K bros as excellent champions who well represented themselves and the sport. It does SOMETIMES bother me how quick many are to shoot them down, though I admit their styles aren’t thrilling. That said, Mike Casey’s perspective has always intrigued me. It’s voices like his, among the other diverse opinions boxing.com offers, that make it different than any other boxing site.

  67. El Bastardo 06:30am, 11/29/2013

    And that in the case of the Heavy division is a sad comment I make- -hat I am watching video from forty years ago plus as opposed to current DVD’s of today’s bangers!!!! Adios—and by the by you will see two guys this weekend in Stevenson and Kovalev who want to come and git ya and they will do it with skill, speed and power!!!!

  68. El Bastardo Magnifico 06:26am, 11/29/2013

    “Brave New World” Sir Mike “I Make my” Casey. “O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here…..” In the red corner, weighing 265 lbs…. snore, zee zeee zee, snore, snore. None of us know who would have beaten who on any given night and those bullshit arguments can go on forever. This much I would say Sir Casey—THIS IS THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS. I will go down in the basement to my home gym soon enough, put on the DVD and it WILL NOT BE A REPLAY OF A TOTAL LACK OF SWEET SCIENCE OF A BIG BUY DRAPING HIMSELF ALL OVER AN OTHERWISE CHUBBY CRUISERWEIGHT IN POVETKIN. I will watch the skill of one of the best, if not best, combination puncher, and killer, in Joe Louis, I will watch with a smile of enjoyment of the speed and Iron jaw of the 1960’s version of Ali in the first Liston fight and the Williams fight, I will watch the animal dissection that Dempsey explodes upon his opponent, I will watch the heart, desire, and punching power and volume of the Rock, the body work and tenacity of Smokin Joe, .... your frustration shines bright Sir Casey but you must also put on the hat of these two gents of giants—they win the way they know how to win, they always come in great shape, and they represent themselves outside the ring as class acts—for that, if for nothing more for some, we should say ah what the hell, we could have much worse in this day and age of fat boy, man boob, out of shape, out of skill heavies.

  69. Bob 05:07am, 11/29/2013

    Great article, Mike. I would love to be in the room when historian Mike Silver reads this.

  70. tuxtucis 05:00am, 11/29/2013

    Sorry, George Thomas Clark, when Jack Johnson was kayoed by Klondike, he was 21 and at his 4th pro fight…Klondike was his Ross Puritty :-)
    I see no Klitschkos and even less Norton in a top 10…I don’t believe in “who would have won between A and B”, when A and B primes are more distant than 15-20 years…I believe Liston would have beaten Marciano and Frazier would have beaten Holmes, but Tyson vs. Jeffries or W.Klitschko vs. Dempsey are no sense…

  71. AKT 04:35am, 11/29/2013

    “As soon as he got hit dead in the middle of his face, he would freak out like Mayweather does and grab and hold all night long, stinking out the joint ...”


    Ref Linton must have made this statement before the Mosley fight?

    That night, Mayweather showed that he could hold his own in ANY era. Mayweather and Klitshko should never be mentioned in the same sentence as far as boxing abilities or gifts are concerned.

  72. George Thomas Clark 03:28am, 11/29/2013

    Every fighter has some unexpectedly difficult fights: Louis v. Schmeling 1 and Conn 1; Wlad v. Sanders and Brewster; etc.  Regarding Jack Johnson v. Klondike - get real, Tux, Johnson was in his late 40s; I just read about that fight.  And Ketchel probably double-crossed Johnson in what was supposed to be a sparring match, really, and Johnson immediately flattened him while knocking out three or four teeth.  Johnson would have a good chance against either Klitschko, provided Jack wasn’t 37 which he was against Willard, who was demonstrably less talented than either K brother. 

    Regarding the question -  Does anyone seriously believe Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster would have knocked out Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali?  I’d definitely takes either Sanders or Brewster by KO over Dempsey.  Jack avoided guys who can hit, but we’ve been over that.  The more relevant question is: how would Wlad have done against the aforementioned old timers?  He’d have beaten Dempsey and probably Marciano, and probably would have lost to the others. 

    I hope Irish Frankie Crawford weighs in on this one because he’s a K Brothers admirer and many times rebuked me for putting Norton in the Top Ten and not Wlad, and I now agree: Wlad in the Top Ten.

  73. tuxtucis 01:14am, 11/29/2013

    Alas it’s true the average technique level is far lower today than in past: in boxing as in soccer-football, basket or tennis…

  74. tuxtucis 01:09am, 11/29/2013

    I can add Marciano had a gift decision in first meeting with La Starza and was knocked down by natural light heavy Moore…Alì had constantly near even matches judged in his favor, so his record could be 47-12 instead of 56-5 (I can’t count the matches with Liston, please…)...That means the Klitschkos are at the same level of those greats? Not at all, but simply if you want to find stains, you can find stains in anyone’s career…

  75. tuxtucis 01:01am, 11/29/2013

    I agree with Klitschkos not being in a top 10 all-time heavyweight ranking, but I difficult see them out of a top 20. In his ranking MIke Casey has Jack Johnson 3; anyway he was kayoed by the likes of Klondike, Choynski (past prime light heavy) and was knocked down by natural middleweight Ketchel. Liston had his broken jaw and lost with far lighter Marty Marshall. Joe Louis was kayoed by an over the hill Max Schmeling, and even in his prime he had troubles against the likes of Godoy, Farr and super-middleweight Billy Conn. Dempsey was knocked down 9 times by Johnny Sudenburg. That was mostly in their youth, but so was for Klitschko…

  76. Matt McGrain 11:12pm, 11/28/2013

    It’s very difficult for me to imagine 47-41 journeyman Jim Flynn knocking out either Klitschko in seconds.

  77. Darrell 09:28pm, 11/28/2013

    To answer that question, which is loaded & pointless is, dependent on each fighter….possibly not or probably not.  In reality, it doesn’t prove a single thing.

    Either K bro would, without a shadow of a doubt, give ALL of those champions a hard nights work.  And most of them an L.

  78. Robert Ecksel 07:56pm, 11/28/2013

    I’d like to see Mike Casey’s detractors, as it relates to his critique of the Klitschkos, answer the simple question he posed in the affirmative: Does anyone seriously believe Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster would have knocked out Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali?

  79. Clarence George 07:41pm, 11/28/2013

    What boxing writing should be, and only rarely is.  And not just stylistically, but also in terms of thought, research, and argumentation. 

    I’ve made abundantly clear (in Mike’s article and elsewhere) my low opinion of the Klitschkos, especially when compared with the genuine greats of the heavyweight division, such as Dempsey, Louis, and Marciano.  Reiteration is pointless, but saying the following isn’t:  The negative comments, at least thus far, on “We Are the Hollow Men” are of an abysmal quality.  Disagree with Mike, by all means, but both the topic in general and the article in particular are worthy of a great deal more than variations on “Oh yeah?  Well your momma wears combat boots.”

  80. FrankinDallas 05:53pm, 11/28/2013

    Author either ate too much turkey tonight or not enough.
    Sure..Harry Greb would have beaten both Klits…on the same
    night..in the same ring…with one hand behind his back…and
    blind in one eye. Right. Sure.

  81. unskilled comment 05:34pm, 11/28/2013

    “Dempsey, Marciano, Louis, Liston, Foreman, Frazier and Tyson were ...”- Americans?

    “HW is dead” - the argument gets stupid. It is easy to falsify: Cruiser is in no way dead, but there isn’t any bigger amount of reporting and interest within US.

    Since America has no more champions in most upper weight classes, I guess, “supersized”, unskilled boxers from outside US must have recently dominated everything above population average height and weight. Of course, all won’t gain a legacy and would have been destroyed by former US champs easily.

     

  82. Darrell 04:52pm, 11/28/2013

    I get it, you don’t like either. Dross filled article with nothing useful to add. Tired and worn clichés….you’ve said it all before & it’s still probably a fact both brothers would likely beat down most of the other heavyweight champions.

    Just can’t wait for Tex Hassler’s comment (I won’t be).....the same cut & paste tripe. It should fit in with this nadir of an opinion piece.

  83. Lennox is a farce too. 04:29pm, 11/28/2013

    My sentiments about Lennox Lewis as well. Would Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman KO Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Foreman or Ali? No way. Lewis too came along at the right time. In their prime Holyfield, Tyson, Holmes would of smacked him from pillar to post.

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