By: Sean Crose
It’s getting more and more common – the belief that today’s big heavyweights would defeat even the best old time heavyweights due to their size advantage. I’ve thought this over a bit, and have concluded that…I’m not so sure at all. While it’s hard to imagine a 175 pound Jim Corbett getting in on a 260 pound Tyson Fury, it’s not so hard to imagine a 220 pound Mike Tyson doing so. Nor is it so hard to imagine a 1960’s version of Muhammad Ali exhausting and frustrating a towering and prime Deontay Wilder. Size does matter, of course. There’s a reason boxing has weight divisions, after all. Size doesn’t seem to me to be the deciding factor of who would win a fight, though – at least not when it comes to dominant heavyweights.
While it’s probably true that fighters six and a half feet tall and over might have it all over most smaller foes – think Tyson Fury getting back from the mat to stop Steve Cunningham earlier in his career – certain high level heavyweights aren’t so easy to write off. Perhaps that’s why former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk is being given a real chance by some when he supposedly faces the very big and very fit Anthony Joshua in the coming months.
Perhaps it all comes down to one’s individual talent. Lennox Lewis was a super sized heavy who could really fight. The same holds true for Wladimir Klitschko. When it comes to today’s crop of big guys, however, the verdict is still out. Take Wilder and Fury, for instance. One is a power hitter of historic proportions. The others is a walking, talking skill set. Yet neither has been consistent enough to be considered truly great. Now there seems to be more action outside the ring regarding these two than inside the ring itself. What’s more, over the top personalities do not make for over the top resumes.
While it’s true super sized heavyweights are more skilled now than they were in the days of Primo Canera or Jess Willard, there’s a lot of questions to be answered before names like Fury, Wilder, and Joshua can safely be compared to the names of the all time greats. Here’s hoping each man is ready, willing and able to answer them. Thanks to Covid and the state of the boxing business, there’s a real threat that we may never know how good they could be as it is.