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The GOATs of Sport


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1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

Tyson is an interesting one about what it means to be GOAT. Does it mean the best to ever play the sport or does it represent the greatest someone has achieved in the sport?

Some people would argue that Tyson at his peak was unbeatable. This would suggest he was the GOAT to box, however if you take his career in the wider picture he can't be considered. As Teddy Atlas said, he's never won a fight in his life. 

Tyson never really had a prime. He was perhaps the greatest teenage boxer of all time. At 23, he was amazing, but that was also when Clay beat Liston, and Ali developed afterwards. Tyson ranks Ali as the greatest and I believe him.

Tyson could have by far eclipsed Rocky Marciano. He initially had the drive and far more technical skill. But, his style, Cus D'amato's style, relied on him being far fitter than his opponents.

1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

To play devil's advocate, Ali lost a number of times while Mayweather never did.

Ali is benefited greatly by his story and how well known his fights were. Barring a catastrophe, Tyson Fury will be higher up on the all time list than he probably should be because of the way his career has gone. 

I think the issue in comparison to Calzaghe or Mayweather is two fold.

Any fighter will lose a fight if they fight enough or long enough. The way to keep an undefeated record is not to go to those risks. Patterson enhanced his record by being willing to lose to Liston. Mayweather has avoided excessive risk and that is against him. Ali fought with imposed absence, into old age and accepting any terms. 

Furthermore a prime Ali would clearly beat a prime Mayweather to the extent the fight would not be allowed. The middleweight might be more skilled, but we do not have weight cataories in rugby. I am a middleweight, with a hard punch and good chin (no skill or co-ordination) and would typically do contact sparring with light heavyweights, but if I sparred with a heavyweight it was embarrassing.

The best athletes in black America were once all going into boxing. Now, it is american football or basketball.

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"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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If there’s a contender for Mohammed Ali’s crown as the boxing GOAT then I believe it’s Sugar Ray Robinson (whose name I haven’t seen so far in this debate).

I fully agree with Bob’s argument about a boxer’s pedigree being rated by who is on their record rather than the numbers themselves.

Tyson is hurt by this when reflecting on his career and Mayweather (an all time great for certain) might have elevated himself by fighting Manny Pacquiao earlier when at greater risk.

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Which is all why I stated boxing being a difficult one , the weight differences make it impossible , you had the proper boxers like Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard , and plenty others , then the ' clubbers ' like Tyson and Duran , and again plenty of others 

I feel privileged to have watched them all on't telly over the years 

The Leonard/Duran/Hagler fights being my favourites 

Not forgetting as I just did , Tommy hearns

Edited by GUBRATS
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2 hours ago, DavidM said:

Although Pudzianowski won 5 titles I’d agree Big Z is ahead of him in the rankings overall 

4x WSM titles, 8x Arnold Strongman Classic titles and multiple world Records.

 

That he still holds the log press record shows how hard it will be to break although I think Iron Biby will break it when comps start again.

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Messi or Ronaldo for GOAT ? I really can't make up my mind, but I think they both eclipse Pele and Cruyff simply because the length of time they've been at the top. Pele and Cruyff definitely 3 and 4 with  Maradona at 5, but Messi and Ronaldo 1 and 2, or 2 and 1.

 

GOAT in cricket has to be Viv Richards. 

 

Edited by HawkMan
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45 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

Tyson never really had a prime. He was perhaps the greatest teenage boxer of all time. At 23, he was amazing, but that was also when Clay beat Liston, and Ali developed afterwards. Tyson ranks Ali as the greatest and I believe him.

Tyson could have by far eclipsed Rocky Marciano. He initially had the drive and far more technical skill. But, his style, Cus D'amato's style, relied on him being far fitter than his opponents.

I think the issue in comparison to Calzaghe or Mayweather is two fold.

Any fighter will lose a fight if they fight enough or long enough. The way to keep an undefeated record is not to go to those risks. Patterson enhanced his record by being willing to lose to Liston. Mayweather has avoided excessive risk and that is against him. Ali fought with imposed absence, into old age and accepting any terms. 

Furthermore a prime Ali would clearly beat a prime Mayweather to the extent the fight would not be allowed. The middleweight might be more skilled, but we do not have weight cataories in rugby. I am a middleweight, with a hard punch and good chin (no skill or co-ordination) and would typically do contact sparring with light heavyweights, but if I sparred with a heavyweight it was embarrassing.

The best athletes in black America were once all going into boxing. Now, it is american football or basketball.

The counter to this is the fact that sports people in all categories are far more professional than they once were and take into account things like nutrition like they never did. 

Football is a good example of this, footballers run far longer and far faster than they once did: a quick watch of the 1966 final demonstrates how poor the standard was in comparison to now. It is something we have to take into account when comparing eras.

I'm not bashing Ali I'm really not as I genuinely don't know good or bad, but the reality is we don't really know anything about the standard of boxer that he faced in comparison to other eras. He only ever faced 4 undefeated fighters in 61 fights and lost against 3 of them. We're presuming that the cherry-picking we see now is a modern thing. We're taking the opinions of others, much like we do when we're told the likes of Billy Boston and Dally Messenger were the best players ever. 

It's a bit like how in 50 years, if high-profile boxing is still a thing, the dramatic story of Tyson Fury will override the fact that Wilder was very limited boxer with a souped up resume or that Klitschko was old or that AJ had already lost to a fat unknown Mexican. 

As for Mike Tyson, I personally think that the way he was defeated later in his career suggests he could've always had problems. The greatest tests of his career would've always been post-1991 and it's hard to know whether Holyfield always had his number or how he would've done against a huge Riddick Bowe or a prime Lewis. 

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8 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

The counter to this is the fact that sports people in all categories are far more professional than they once were and take into account things like nutrition like they never did. 

Football is a good example of this, footballers run far longer and far faster than they once did: a quick watch of the 1966 final demonstrates how poor the standard was in comparison to now. It is something we have to take into account when comparing eras.

I'm not bashing Ali I'm really not as I genuinely don't know good or bad, but the reality is we don't really know anything about the standard of boxer that he faced in comparison to other eras. He only ever faced 4 undefeated fighters in 61 fights and lost against 3 of them. We're presuming that the cherry-picking we see now is a modern thing. We're taking the opinions of others, much like we do when we're told the likes of Billy Boston and Dally Messenger were the best players ever. 

It's a bit like how in 50 years, if high-profile boxing is still a thing, the dramatic story of Tyson Fury will override the fact that Wilder was very limited boxer with a souped up resume or that Klitschko was old or that AJ had already lost to a fat unknown Mexican. 

As for Mike Tyson, I personally think that the way he was defeated later in his career suggests he could've always had problems. The greatest tests of his career would've always been post-1991 and it's hard to know whether Holyfield always had his number or how he would've done against a huge Riddick Bowe or a prime Lewis. 

The greatest era of a sport is typically when the judge was young.

The question then is what sports the strongest, quickest, most talented American youth are going into these days. I suggest it is not boxing, as it was fifty years ago. I am not presuming cherry picking is new, Floyd Patterson was a notorius cherry picker. Larry Holmes always had to paid a lot to take a risk.

Soccer is even harder to compare, the balls, pitch etc has changed far more than the ring and gloves. Equally with rugby league. Even sprinting has seen huge advantages in the track be developed.

We know Ali was the fastest though, the USA had many of it most talented youth going into boxing, particularly blacks.

 

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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On 12/02/2021 at 20:48, Maximus Decimus said:

Basketball - no comment needed. 

Agreed. It's obviously "The Hick from French Lick", Mr Larry Bird. 

Bird vs Jordan Head to Head

Bird 23 wins, Jordan 11 wins

In the playoffs (when it matters) 

Bird 6 wins, Jordan 0 wins

Edited by Wiltshire Rhino
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10 hours ago, HawkMan said:

GOAT in cricket has to be Viv Richards. 

 

Statistically, not even close. Look at this:

image.png.1dd6f62f16ccae708eada9d429b9d676.png

Root is probably #4 in the world at the moment and his record is very similar to Viv's. He was also coming out to bat after his teams' fast bowlers had usually decimated the opponents. 

His effect as an icon of West Indies cricket elevates him above his stats - but he would struggle to get into an all-time XI middle order up against Lara, Tendulkar, Kallis, Dravid, Sangakarra, Waugh, and the current crop of Kohli, Smith, Williamson and Root. 

In pure cricketing terms, Jacques Kallis is first on my all-time team sheet. Phenominal record as an all-rounder. He just didn't have the type of "personality" that makes him stand out like Botham for example.  

image.png.e7b96775822b8d9fd6b9d1015a260593.png

image.png.72aee59fcfae08cde750b51f45f96a30.png

 

 

"I am the avenging angel; I come with wings unfurled, I come with claws extended from halfway round the world. I am the God Almighty, I am the howling wind. I care not for your family; I care not for your kin. I come in search of terror, though terror is my own; I come in search of vengeance for crimes and crimes unknown. I care not for your children, I care not for your wives, I care not for your country, I care not for your lives." - (c) Jim Boyes - "The Avenging Angel"

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As per my answer on cricket it depends on whether it's stats or stats+personality.

Football - Ronaldo. I don't like him very much but that's irrelevant. Greatest keeper - Gordon Banks.

Boxing - Ali because of context, the era he fought in, and personality.

Basketball - Jordan, obviously.

Athletics - Agreed on Bolt, but I did like watching Michael Johnson. Jackie Joyner-Kersee in women's athletics. 

Formula 1 - Schumacher, but Hamilton will take over when he retires. I have to say that since Lauda crashed it's a different sport and anyone who drove in it before 1980 had stepped over the the line between bravery and madness. 

Tennis - Federer at the moment, but it will be Djokovic when the big 3 careers are viewed in retrospect. Serena Williams in the women's game.

Cricket - my XI is Hayden, Cook, Tendulkar, Lara, Kallis, Sangakarra, Botham, Warne, Holding, Murali, McGrath. 

Rugby League - Vince Karalius, Ellery Hanley, Martin Offiah, Jonathan Thurston, Wally Lewis, Darren Lockyer amongst others. Can't choose. OK, Hanley.

Golf - Tiger Woods

Snooker - I'd go with Hendry but would watch Ronnie any day of the week rather than Hendry or Davis.

 

Edited by tim2

"I am the avenging angel; I come with wings unfurled, I come with claws extended from halfway round the world. I am the God Almighty, I am the howling wind. I care not for your family; I care not for your kin. I come in search of terror, though terror is my own; I come in search of vengeance for crimes and crimes unknown. I care not for your children, I care not for your wives, I care not for your country, I care not for your lives." - (c) Jim Boyes - "The Avenging Angel"

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2 hours ago, Bob8 said:

The greatest era of a sport is typically when the judge was young.

The question then is what sports the strongest, quickest, most talented American youth are going into these days. I suggest it is not boxing, as it was fifty years ago. I am not presuming cherry picking is new, Floyd Patterson was a notorius cherry picker. Larry Holmes always had to paid a lot to take a risk.

Soccer is even harder to compare, the balls, pitch etc has changed far more than the ring and gloves. Equally with rugby league. Even sprinting has seen huge advantages in the track be developed.

We know Ali was the fastest though, the USA had many of it most talented youth going into boxing, particularly blacks.

 

By this reckoning, older RL players must be better than newer ones in this country at least. The best athletes in Wigan, St Helens, Hull etc became rugby players whereas they haven't for at least a generation.

I would say football is one of the easiest to compare. A customary glance of old football shows its more than just heavy balls and bad pitches. It's just a fact that professionalism, statistics, nutrition etc has increased, as has the standard of the top leagues as they've drawn players from across the world. There's the famous example from when Souness took over at Liverpool and banned chippys and cans of lager on the team bus. 

It's not to say players or athletes were rubbish in the past, it's just something that needs factoring in in the comparison. RL in the UK certainly has worse natural athletes than in the past, but put Wigan 1994 up against Saints 2020 in a one off and they would lose pretty heavily IMO. Give them a year to get up to speed and it would be a different matter.

Also, whilst Ali might have come from a higher pick of athlete, the reality is that he'd be giving up 60lbs and 4 inches to someone like Tyson Fury. It's what makes comparing eras so difficult. 

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5 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

By this reckoning, older RL players must be better than newer ones in this country at least. The best athletes in Wigan, St Helens, Hull etc became rugby players whereas they haven't for at least a generation.

That's just not true.

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16 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

By this reckoning, older RL players must be better than newer ones in this country at least. The best athletes in Wigan, St Helens, Hull etc became rugby players whereas they haven't for at least a generation.

I would say football is one of the easiest to compare. A customary glance of old football shows its more than just heavy balls and bad pitches. It's just a fact that professionalism, statistics, nutrition etc has increased, as has the standard of the top leagues as they've drawn players from across the world. There's the famous example from when Souness took over at Liverpool and banned chippys and cans of lager on the team bus. 

It's not to say players or athletes were rubbish in the past, it's just something that needs factoring in in the comparison. RL in the UK certainly has worse natural athletes than in the past, but put Wigan 1994 up against Saints 2020 in a one off and they would lose pretty heavily IMO. Give them a year to get up to speed and it would be a different matter.

Also, whilst Ali might have come from a higher pick of athlete, the reality is that he'd be giving up 60lbs and 4 inches to someone like Tyson Fury. It's what makes comparing eras so difficult. 

True. Don Revie was famous for not thinking it ok for players to go to the pub on a Thursday before the game. The longevity of Stanley Matthews shows the difference it might have made.

To take your example, you cite in the sibling thread that we are with the Australians in many positions aside from the halves. I would suggest that is where the soccer players are and we have been missing out.

In terms of fitness in boxing, I am not sure we have seen better than Rocky Marciano in the heavyweights in terms of fitness. I suggest he as the edge on Ruiz. The boxing of the 1920's is clearly more basic than that of now, I cannot say the same once we get to the Liston era.

I would back Liston against Fury every time, he even had the reach advantage. How about  1988 Tyson vs Joshua?

Edited by Bob8

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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I wanted to make the boxing comparison separate from the wider discussion around comparing old and new athletes.

It's not often I would quote Mayweather on anything but I think he does have a point when he said,

"What are we judging fighters on?" he asked.

"Because if we're judging fighters on standing for a cause, then it's Ali hands down.

"But if we're talking about taking the least punishment and breaking records, it's Floyd Mayweather.

I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the last line (although I will defend him later) but Alis unquestioned position as the GOAT is as much to do with the mythology built up around him as it is as a fighter. If you asked 100 people on the street for the boxing GOAT, 95%+ would say Ali and many could name the Thriller in Manilla and the Rumble in the Jungle but how many have actually seen a full fight? Probably 10%.

Mayweather suffers from the fact that he isn't a nice person, fought negatively and is hated by so many. I watched pretty much every fight he was in after the De la Hoya fight wanting him desperately to lose.

He has a reputation as that of a cherry picker (largely based on Pacquiao) but he beat all the top names around him and usually made them look average. He might not have fought them all at their absolute peaks but the way he beat Pacquiao, Cotto, Marquez, Hatton, Mosley, Marquez, Canelo etc vanquished any doubts whether he could've beaten them in their prime. 

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3 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

What isn't, that the best athletes don't become rugby players or that they ever did? 

Both, you are making a very simplistic, sweeping generalisation to make a false argument. It is more often what sports people enjoy and what they are good at that determine what sport they play. When I was at school there were very good athletes that did athletics, boxing, wrestling, football and of course rugby. Some hated rugby and didnt have the heart or skill for it, even in Wigan were Rugby was king. A good athlete doesn't necessarily make a good rugby player, but of course it helps. I don't see any noticeable difference now than what happened decades ago.

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23 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

True. Don Revie was famous for not thinking it ok for players to go to the pub on a Thursday before the game. The longevity of Stanley Matthews shows the difference it might have made.

To take your example, you cite in the sibling thread that we are with the Australians in many positions aside from the halves. I would suggest that is where the soccer players are and we have been missing out.

In terms of fitness in boxing, I am not sure we have seen better than Rocky Marciano in the heavyweights in terms of fitness. I suggest he as the edge on Ruiz. The boxing of the 1920's is clearly more basic than that of now, I cannot say the same once we get to the Liston era.

I would back Liston against Fury every time, he even had the reach advantage. How about  1988 Tyson vs Joshua?

I'm not sure this is a fair comparison, as there are significant questions about AJ now especially with his chin. He'd be in serious trouble against Tyson. But AJ vs Michael Spinks? I'm not so sure he would.

I actually agree with you that boxing was ahead of the game regarding fitness and that standards probably haven't risen nearly as much as in other sports. There was always the issue of making weight and that if you weren't in top shape you could find yourself in hospital. 

Where things have changed is size at the HW level. We've grown up seeing the likes of Tyson beating guys who dwarfed him like Berbick, Bruno and Spinks and being amazed. Yet the likes of Fury and AJ are actually significant taller and heavier than they are. 

To put it into perspective, the Fury that beat Wilder a year ago was 6 inches and 60lbs heavier than Berbick or Spinks. 

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6 minutes ago, Damien said:

Both, you are making a very simplistic, sweeping generalisation to make a false argument. It is more often what sports people enjoy and what they are good at that determine what sport they play. When I was at school there were very good athletes that did athletics, boxing, wrestling, football and of course rugby. Some hated rugby and didnt have the heart or skill for it, even in Wigan were Rugby was king. A good athlete doesn't necessarily make a good rugby player, but of course it helps. I don't see any noticeable difference now than what happened decades ago.

I completely disagree, and we're not actually talking about exactly the same thing.

I'm talking about the natural athletes, the kids who were the best at everything. The sort of kids who would have naturally gone into the backs. It should go without saying that I'm not talking about every single athlete.

In my opinion, we have increasingly lost most of these types of kids to football at a young age. In my school that kid was Stephen Myler. He was the fastest, the best at cricket, football, rounders, tennis etc. He played rugby, but if he was at school today he'd be more likely to be playing youth football. If we're talking the 1950s/1960s in places like Widnes, then most of them probably went to RL over Football. 

I've coached youth rugby, and it was great for the kids that played it. So often we would get a kid who wasn't very sporty but they would take to rugby and the physical nature that in many ways you can't teach. I've seen chubby little teenagers stuck on their computers, turn their lives around through rugby. 

However, they were rarely natural athletes and those that were often played rugby as a secondary game. IMO it explains why we've struggled to create top backs for well over a generation, and almost all of our top players who have been really successful in the NRL are forwards. Isn't it odd that we've only really had a couple of high-profile backs switch to play NRL since SL began and I don't think any were successful? 

 

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7 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I completely disagree, and we're not actually talking about exactly the same thing.

I'm talking about the natural athletes, the kids who were the best at everything. The sort of kids who would have naturally gone into the backs. It should go without saying that I'm not talking about every single athlete.

In my opinion, we have increasingly lost most of these types of kids to football at a young age. In my school that kid was Stephen Myler. He was the fastest, the best at cricket, football, rounders, tennis etc. He played rugby, but if he was at school today he'd be more likely to be playing youth football. If we're talking the 1950s/1960s in places like Widnes, then most of them probably went to RL over Football. 

I've coached youth rugby, and it was great for the kids that played it. So often we would get a kid who wasn't very sporty but they would take to rugby and the physical nature that in many ways you can't teach. I've seen chubby little teenagers stuck on their computers, turn their lives around through rugby. 

However, they were rarely natural athletes and those that were often played rugby as a secondary game. IMO it explains why we've struggled to create top backs for well over a generation, and almost all of our top players who have been really successful in the NRL are forwards. Isn't it odd that we've only really had a couple of high-profile backs switch to play NRL since SL began and I don't think any were successful? 

 

With very few exceptions - not just in RL but all sports including union and cricket - I've thought for about 30 years that soccer just hoovers up the best athletes from pretty much everywhere now. It has more opportunities throughout the year for everyone, everywhere. And if you're good - decent non league good - then you'll make more money than anyone other than a regular international in any other sport in this country.

You have to really want to play a different game - really really really - if you're a decent athlete who gets a chance in football.

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1 minute ago, gingerjon said:

With very few exceptions - not just in RL but all sports including union and cricket - I've thought for about 30 years that soccer just hoovers up the best athletes from pretty much everywhere now. It has more opportunities throughout the year for everyone, everywhere. And if you're good - decent non league good - then you'll make more money than anyone other than a regular international in any other sport in this country.

You have to really want to play a different game - really really really - if you're a decent athlete who gets a chance in football.

I completely agree. I remember taking my U14s to an away game once where they had something like 12 football pitches and one rugby pitch at the back. This was somewhere that'd once been a RL hotbed. 

Football probably always got more than its fair share, but I doubt it hoovered up like it does today. The money, fame, opportunities are just incomparable. 

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57 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I completely disagree, and we're not actually talking about exactly the same thing.

I'm talking about the natural athletes, the kids who were the best at everything. The sort of kids who would have naturally gone into the backs. It should go without saying that I'm not talking about every single athlete.

In my opinion, we have increasingly lost most of these types of kids to football at a young age. In my school that kid was Stephen Myler. He was the fastest, the best at cricket, football, rounders, tennis etc. He played rugby, but if he was at school today he'd be more likely to be playing youth football. If we're talking the 1950s/1960s in places like Widnes, then most of them probably went to RL over Football. 

I've coached youth rugby, and it was great for the kids that played it. So often we would get a kid who wasn't very sporty but they would take to rugby and the physical nature that in many ways you can't teach. I've seen chubby little teenagers stuck on their computers, turn their lives around through rugby. 

However, they were rarely natural athletes and those that were often played rugby as a secondary game. IMO it explains why we've struggled to create top backs for well over a generation, and almost all of our top players who have been really successful in the NRL are forwards. Isn't it odd that we've only really had a couple of high-profile backs switch to play NRL since SL began and I don't think any were successful? 

 

We are taking about the same thing, just because you don't like it doesn't mean we are not and again I disagree. It doesn't tally with my experience of growing up in Wigan at all, which was one of the places you mentioned. RL picked up some of the best athletes but certainly not all of them and there were plenty of other variables in the mix as to why. Pretty much the same as now. Football has always been hugely popular too and many have always played both, I know I and all my friends did including ones that later played professional RL. We'll have to agree to disagree.

As for the NRL that's a completely different discussion and its a very simplistic view. For much of the games history many of our top backs were RU converts with a liberal sprinkling of players from Australia and NZ. Teams going back to the 80s and beyond have been full of them. RL towns were never churning out these backs as you describe to any greater degree than now. There are probably more home grown English backs now than there has ever been in my lifetime. In the early 2000s things were truly grim.

Also its impossible to overlook the skills reasons for players not going to the NRL and the systemic reasons at junior age that means that no big fast kid is going to be stuck on the wing or centre. That is before the fact that the said athletic kid usually waltzes through defences at will until turning professional and actually develops few core skills because he doesn't need to. That is usually then as a forward. I actually cant think of a single high profile back that went to the NRL in his prime or anywhere near it in recent years. All have been either past it, out of form or not good enough in the first place. Hall would have certainly been a success if he went a decade ago. Herbie Farnworth was an immensely talented athlete, tutored by Brian Foley, and seems to be doing rather well in the NRL. I remember Martin Gleeson telling me of his formative RL years in Australia when he came back home and played at St Pats and it was night and day. Environment counts for a lot.

I actually think in terms of RL areas I think there is an argument that RL struggles size wise due to living standards, nutrition, poverty etc when it comes to the calibre of athlete produced, if we are talking about a comparison with the NRL, but that's a completely different discussion.

Edited by Damien
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1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I wanted to make the boxing comparison separate from the wider discussion around comparing old and new athletes.

It's not often I would quote Mayweather on anything but I think he does have a point when he said,

"What are we judging fighters on?" he asked.

"Because if we're judging fighters on standing for a cause, then it's Ali hands down.

"But if we're talking about taking the least punishment and breaking records, it's Floyd Mayweather.

I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the last line (although I will defend him later) but Alis unquestioned position as the GOAT is as much to do with the mythology built up around him as it is as a fighter. If you asked 100 people on the street for the boxing GOAT, 95%+ would say Ali and many could name the Thriller in Manilla and the Rumble in the Jungle but how many have actually seen a full fight? Probably 10%.

Mayweather suffers from the fact that he isn't a nice person, fought negatively and is hated by so many. I watched pretty much every fight he was in after the De la Hoya fight wanting him desperately to lose.

He has a reputation as that of a cherry picker (largely based on Pacquiao) but he beat all the top names around him and usually made them look average. He might not have fought them all at their absolute peaks but the way he beat Pacquiao, Cotto, Marquez, Hatton, Mosley, Marquez, Canelo etc vanquished any doubts whether he could've beaten them in their prime. 

Mayweather is clearly a great fighter, but was careful.

Holmes was similar, and knew the value of the -0, Mayweather took this further and also insisted on weight classification. He might have had the talent, but there is no doubt a journeyman heavyweight would smash him.

I question the level of coaching. We know the NRL as improved massively over the last few decades, I do not think the same of boxing. And, reduced skill levels mean size matters more. The reduction in round number also favoured larger fighters. I am going to mention Ruiz!

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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4 hours ago, Wiltshire Rhino said:

Agreed. It's obviously "The Hick from French Lick", Mr Larry Bird. 

Bird vs Jordan Head to Head

Bird 23 wins, Jordan 11 wins

In the playoffs (when it matters) 

Bird 6 wins, Jordan 0 wins

I’m a massive Larry Bird fan, but it has to be mentioned that a young Jordan broke the playoff record for points in a game against the Celtics in 1986 with 62 (Sixty Two).

That’s against the 1986 Boston Celtics who are considered one of the greatest basketball teams of all time by others and usually number one by Bostonians themselves.

Larry (unbelievable shooter) and Magic (incredible passer) are all time favourites of mine, but it’s Jordan’s all round game that makes him supreme and also his constant evolution as a basketball player.

 

Edited by Gerrumonside ref
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37 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

Mayweather is clearly a great fighter, but was careful.

Holmes was similar, and knew the value of the -0, Mayweather took this further and also insisted on weight classification. He might have had the talent, but there is no doubt a journeyman heavyweight would smash him.

I question the level of coaching. We know the NRL as improved massively over the last few decades, I do not think the same of boxing. And, reduced skill levels mean size matters more. The reduction in round number also favoured larger fighters. I am going to mention Ruiz!

I think careful is a good word. I suppose one of the points I was making, is that we are so far removed from boxing in the late 60s and 70s that we wouldn't know if there were any comparable shenanigans back then. Boxing is a corrupt sport now but I don't think you could argue it is more corrupt now than it was in the past when they were far less scrutinised. Had Mayweather existed in the 60s we might not know about his demands. Liston was widely rumoured to have taken a dive in the 1st round against Ali because of the mob.

I think it's unfair to rule out lower weight classes purely because they would lose to heavier fighters. The nature of any discussion about the best ever or the best team takes into account the reality that Bradman probably wouldn't last 2 overs against modern cricketers, or that England in 1966 would lose 15-0 to England 2021 or that Australia RL in 1982 would lose heavily against Australia RL in 2021. It sort of assumes a kind of level playing field, one where those players were given the same advantages as modern sportsmen were given. This is essentially what happens with P4P in boxing and IMO any discussion of the GOAT in boxing has to be P4P. Otherwise, you end up with the absurd situation where you could argue that Tyson Fury is better than Ali because he would stand a very good chance of winning purely on size.

Ruiz in some ways proves my point. He looks like a short fat guy, but he is the same height as Trevor Berbick and Michael Spinks. 

I actually agree about coaching methods in a limited sport like boxing compared to team sports but it is still hard to truly compare. If you look at something like track and field, where coaching can only increase so much, you can see that in some areas standards haven't improved very much if at all over the last 30 years. If you look at the 400m hurdles final in 1988 and 2016, the times are very comparable, probably being slightly better in 1988 overall.

On the flip side, if they weren't able to record times, how often would we hear remarks like the current 100m crop couldn't hold a candle to Carl Lewis? When in reality he's not even in the top 15 for fastest 100m times.

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To go back to Tyson, I grew up throughout Tysonmania and in many ways bought into the myth about him as this unstoppable superhero who only lost because he lost motivation after Gus died, and then was never the same on his return in 1995.

As someone who as watched nearly all of his fights, I'm not so sure he was ever the unstoppable potentially best ever heavyweight. He had an electric streak where he was terrifying fighters and was a true cultural icon, but consider who he actually beat that was truly impressive. The best names that he beat in that spell were probably Spinks and Holmes, both of whom were at the end of their careers, with Holmes coming two years out of retirement. None of the other names he beat ever went on to become big names in the HW decision. There were also a couple of fighters who managed to survive the onslaught with some success during this period. I think there are enough doubts about whether he would have dominated during the emergence of Holyfield, Lewis and Bowe and even the Klitschkos towards the end of his career.

There is an interesting observation by Teddy Atlas who trained him during his peak years. He suggests that he was great when he was in control, and would knock out sparring partners at will but when he met someone he couldn't knock out he would easily lose heart. At first he thought it was youthful inexperience but that he didn't grow out of it during his time with him and is essentially what happened whenever he lost throughout the later part of his career.

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