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Challenging Boxing's Myths Part One - The Fans Respond
By readers Compiled by Jim Cawkwell (June 23, 2004) 
One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a writer is the feedback I receive from the fans. It is great to know that you have entertained and informed someone through your work. Through these discussions, we get to take this process a step further. The intention of these pieces is to provoke the thoughts of all who read them and to allow the reader to express those ideas and feelings, which may otherwise be left silent. As you read on, you will find that our loyal readers have grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

I would like to thank all of the readers who took the time to voice their opinions to this discussion and I look forward to many more in the future. Enjoy.

Blown-up Fighters 

Enjoyed your article very much. Here is my opinion:

The problem wth blown up fighers is they usually only do it for two reasons:

1] They get too lazy to train properly, can't loose the weight and they just move up in class. Roberto Duran is the classic example of this. Jake LaMotta in his final years, as a light heavy is another example.

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2] They just do it for the money to match into another big name in a heavier division. There are hundreds of examples here.

Most of the blown up fighters I have seen, do not take their original level of skill or punching power with them. Duran as a lightweight was a devestating one punch hitter as a middle weight he was an average hitter, travelling on experience. Granted, he did very well against Hagler, but he was not Duran of the Buchanano fight.

Exceptions? Sure: Evander Holyfield. He was a light heavy who twice handled Tyon easily. But look at Bob Foster against Frazier and Spinks against Tyson, etc, etc.


John Gerard

P.S. I should have added that the new wrinkle of steroids may well change the whole complexion of blown up fighters. I understand Roy Jones, the most successful blown up fighter of all time, has failed at least one steroid test. Time will tell.

Is it right to degrade the general talent level of a weight class simply because a naturally smaller fighter finds success there?
No, but it depends on the weight class.  If you are talking about an entire weight class, and not just an individual belt-holder or big name fighter, then I'd say that it generally proves something if a smaller guy moves up to find success.  Roy Jones and James Toney each fought one carefully chosen opponent in the heavyweight division.  This doesn't necessarily prove anything to me.  Floyd Mayweather has typically fought his way through each division he's been in.  According to reports, several other top 140 lbers turned down his challenge.  He's openly challenged Kostya Tszyu.  Neither Roy Jones nor James Toney called out Lennox Lewis, and neither one of them has gone on record challenging Vitaly Klitschko, although Toney make a point of talking trash about him whenever he gets a chance.
Is it accurate to dismiss a fighter as being blown-up simply because he fails to perform outside of his initial weight class?
Again, it depends.  A lot of fighters fight at a weight that is well below their natural weight anyway. 
Is it just to deny a fighter respect for beating a naturally smaller fighter who challenged him at his own weight?
If Floyd moved up to Jr. Middleweight, fought De La Hoya and lost, I'd give Oscar some credit for beating a legitimate p4p opponent, albeit a much smaller one.  This is because both guys moved up in weight throughout their careers, and there was overlap in the divisions in which they both campaigned in.  If Roy Jones had beaten Felix Trinidad, I would've been hesitant to give him much credit.  The overlap in weight class between those two is rather small.

gopal rao

In response to your article, The Blown-Up Fighter.

You mentioned just a few fighters that have dominated their perpective weight classes, and proceeded to move up in weight. I think in most cases fighters move up in weight naturally as they grow older. Going back to recent history with Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray leanord, Carlos Monzon, And many others. Apart from the personal challenge to move up and fight bigger fighters. I think money comes into play, with the bigger guys getting bigger purses. I think promoters promote these fighters well. (Their modo being the bigger the better……right) But that’s not always the case as is it with Oscar De La hoya. Your right as a super-feather weight and all the way thru welter weight he was dominant if not at least very competitive. But as he goes up to middle weight I think you have to sacrifice certain things, and sometimes those things are what made you a superstar to begin with, like power, speed, stamina. I think if promoters would promote fights rather than just fighters. And in a perfect world it would be great to distribute the purses evenly, by that I mean depending on the significance of the fight depends the significance of the purse. For example Oscar/Sturm (not to significant). But we got sold on it being a pay per view event. Now if they would have more elimination bouts between weight classes maybe it would make for great match ups no matter who the fighters are. And I think even boxers would concentrate on winning their division even more. There is only a hand full of fighters who make good money fighting. And in a sport with so much talent it’s a shame we have the likes of King and Aurum. Rather than say “American boxing association Presents 2004 WELTER WEIGHT CHAPIONSHIPS” And the winner is Joe Somebody.
Just a Thought.
Thank you for your time  

Juan Contreras

Myth Reply 

Is it right to degrade the general talent level of a weight class simply because a naturally smaller fighter finds success there?
No, especially if the fighter is "Pound for Pound" King, he should find some success up and down the weight classes.

Is it accurate to dismiss a fighter as being blown-up simply because he fails to perform outside of his initial weight class?
Do you dismiss a Linebacker because he can't play free safety also? Do you dismiss a shooting guard who can't play power forward? Certain athletes styles lend themselves to that particular weight class better than others. No, Don't dismiss them. Instead, celebrate the athlete who can perform in different weight classes, because he is even more talented.

Is it just to deny a fighter respect for beating a naturally smaller fighter who challenged him at his own weight?
No, especially if the winner outboxed the "smaller" guy, as the smaller guy should be more skilled. And if they fight in the same weight class on fight night, then all things are "equal".

Less attention should be paid to the 0 at the end of a boxers record, as baseball, football, and basketball teams need not be undefeated to be considered successful. If a player has a bad night, his teamates can pick up the slack. If a boxer has a bad night, he's all alone and it shows. Give the fighters some leeway, and we'll see them take more chances and make more exciting fights!


It's called the "Excuse Bird", that's what me and my friend, like to call it, retards always have some excuse about any and everything. I agree about the part of not giving a heavier fighter credit when a smaller fighter moves up to his weight class and challenges him. After the heavier guy will win, people will downplay it and come up with all these excuses like "He was picking on smaller fighters" "he could'nt pick on anyone in his own weight" or he was just a blown up welterweight"...I hate these people. I don't even get mad anymore i just ignore these retards.
A good example of this was one of my favorite fighters Terry Norris, who was one of the top P4P back in the early 90's at the same time as Chavez (who was many people top P4P and also one weight class lower (140) then Norris) and also Whitaker who was also in the 140 divison. I've heard people criticize Norris for calling these fighters out. Little do they relize, that Norris the competitor and warrior that he was he was just so hungary to prove himself to the world and to these fighters who were being called "better" then him and better P4P and they only one weight class below him, why not call these fighters out and silence the critics once and for all. Why do we criticize a fighter for actually trying to make challenges against other considered top fighters, why criticize fighter for taking risks, Little do they relize that Norris had already taken on most of the fighters in his divison and he was also trying to set up fights in higher divisons with Jackson (again since he was knocked out) and Mclellen and even Jones, all of these fights were possible.
I agree though man, there always somebody ready to say something, ready to make an excuse ready to downplay something, not wanting to just step back and just accpet it for what it is. A lot of times i think it's people are so caught up in trying to look like a genius or a "Know It All" that they lose sight of what actually has happened and immediatly try to make excuses and explenations for what's taken place. Sometimes some things can't be explained especially in some fights. Forgewt weights, forget lucky punches,forget personal problems, forget he wasn't at his best, forget it all. Sometimes another fighter just gets beat by another fight. Why? Sometimes there is no explnation, and quite frankly there shouldn't always have to be one.


Is it right to degrade the general talent level of a weight class simply because a naturally smaller fighter finds success there?
Is it accurate to dismiss a fighter as being blown-up simply because he fails to perform outside of his initial weight class?
Is it just to deny a fighter respect for beating a naturally smaller fighter who challenged him at his own weight?

a. No its not right to degrade the talent level of a weight division because a smaller fighter finds success however, a shallow division can be further exposed and exploited by fighters from a lower weight class. The evidence that shows the contradiction for example would be Byrd, Jones, and De la Hoya who move up and win only against a select number of hand picked fighters. Although Byrd has the tough style and is generally not a crowd pleaser (excluding the Golota fight) he still has proven his inability to really handle a true power punching, technically sound heavy weight. Hand picking and exploiting are synonymous in my book. Now James Toney is in the boat with Floyd Mayweather up to this point and they provide a perfect contradiction. They are not hand picking. True, Holyfield was a perfect minimal threat to Toney. But in Cruiser, Toney went there with the intension of fighting the best. Mayweather shows that a small guy with talent can prove his "hall of fame" or "Pound for pound ability by moving up and then CLEANING OUT. That's the difference. I do believe, like in the case with De la Hoya, that if you continue to perform with less effectiveness at higher weight classes then you did previously then you are proving with each fight that you are basically "Blown Up". Nutritionist can help you gain weight effectively but if the only thing that really made a difference in you winning fights was your ability to be lighting fast, well then the more you move up in weight the more trouble you are going to have with fighters who are naturally fast in that weight division. You eventually begin to hand pick the slower less agile opponents with minimum punching power. Or if you are power hitter in one weight class you look for the easily "bust-up-able" in the next weight class. Once the hand-picking begins you are grooming yourself to be considered a blown up. When the knock out or easy points defeat comes, what you left in the divisions below becomes exposed.

Lastly, I TOTALLY disagree with anyone who disrespects a fighter for losing to someone from a smaller weight class. I would get on the manager first. Ruiz's handlers were plum money hungry to let him fight Jones. Its well documented that Ruiz needs to grab and jab with a little hunch and punch. With Roy's speed Ruiz's marginal punching power, and a good talking to the Ref it was by far Jones's best performance OUTSIDE of the ring. No disrespect to Ruiz though, he just happens to have the perfect style for Jones, Toney, Byrd, Tarver, and probably Hopkins and Mayweather... basically try to hug me and all you get is my fist, then I'm gone. Ruiz will provide trouble for Klitscho, if he makes it thru the first 4, trouble for Brewster, Guinn, and the Rahman's of the world if they don't keep him at bay. So I repeat, an effective heavy like Ruiz may be disrespected for his style but he should be respected for taking on a fighter that his handlers never should have picked for him and was tailor made to beat him. To wrap up on that point ANYONE who loses to the Floyd Mayweather jr, move 'em up and clean 'em outs of the world should never be disrespected unless they disrespect themselves. Giving it your best and coming up short against a guaranteed hall of famer is nothing to be ashamed about.

I could keep punching and I could roll with the punches....

-side note

I have no idea why a lot of today's fighters abuse the word 'Could'. If I hear one more fight say "he could punch" I am not sure what I could do. I could expect everyone to have decent grammar skills but I also know I could mess up the English language a bit myself. I could suppose that its just the latest Boxer slang. Either way I could thank you for opportunity respond to your insightful literary piece and I could holler at you later.

-Hollis from VA.


I think it is among us fans that such terms are more regularly used. So use this opportunity to have your say and let us clear this situation up finally.

Is it right to degrade the general talent level of a weight class simply because a naturally smaller fighter finds success there?

Is it accurate to dismiss a fighter as being blown-up simply because he fails to perform outside of his initial weight class?

Is it just to deny a fighter respect for beating a naturally smaller fighter who challenged him at his own weight?

I don't think it's right to degrade the general talent level of a weight class simply or soley because a smaller fighter found success there. However, as in the case of Roy beating Ruiz, the discussions of the poor quality of talent in the heavyweight division were on our lips for years before the fight. Furthermore, Roy won a belt that many fans thought was purchased and protected by King for Ruiz. The talent pool is shallow because one no longer earns or respects the belts. For instance, How did Mesi become ranked #1? How did Akinwande earn his #5 ranking?  20 years ago, Mesi, Ruiz, and Akinwande never would have made into the top 5.

The tendancy to dismiss a fighter as being blown as mentioned in question two is born from a fighter's need to try to make excuses for every loss or poor performance. Today's fighter's are so protected with hand picked apponents that every loss hurts their career. Again, we look at Mesi. Ranked #1 without ever beating a top 10 fighter. If fighter were still fighting for idea of being recognized as the best, then there would be no real shame in losing. And losing wouldn't mean the end of ones carrer because chances are high that you would be losing to a respected and talented fighter who has "earned his stripes" with blood and sweat in the ring against his peers.

The final question is up for grabs. It simply depends on the fighters. If Brewster or Mesi beat Jones or Toney they would receive more praise than if Mcline were to do the same. Because of the size differences in the heavyweight division, this debate will last forever.

Tanx for your questions. Hope I didn't ramble too much for you.

James Goins

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of 'Challenging Boxing's Myths'.
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