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Home Boxing GIANTS WITH STAMINA
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GIANTS WITH STAMINA

 

heavyweight-boxers-with-stanimaWhile watching the recent NBC card, it dawned on me how well conditioned these athletes are today.  True, they only have to go 12 rounds, compared to athletes of the past.. but back then, one could spend the entire round recovering and clinching.  Nowadays, that lack of action is broken up immediately.  However, sometimes fighters do not have a style that matches their size... or expectations.

Take Jim Jeffries or Tyson Fury's inside game for example... given their immense reaches, that has to be a surprise to their opponents.  Tiny Ivan Calderon and Willie Pep's incredible outside boxing skills are just as impressive, if not moreso.  However, there is another stereotype that rarely gets mentioned... that is the big man's penchant for getting tired late.  Derrick Jefferson, John Tate, Buster Mathis, all lost winnable big fights because they ran out of gas.  This is not always the case, however.  Here are a few big men, who were not only in it for the long haul, they were usually the fresher at the end.

Jess Willard - This was a man who did not even turn to boxing until he was 27, yet learned enough in only a few years to dethrone the great Jack Johnson.  His victory came in 100 degree heat in Cuba, against a man known for his stamina.  Johnson had not trained, however, and spent most of his energy outboxing Willard.  Most fights in those days were scheduled for 20-25 rounds.  If that had been the case, Johnson wins a decision, but they fought a 26th round, and Johnson was the one losing energy, when Willard caught him with a big right hand and dropped him.  Willard was the size of Klitschko, but back then, that was a huge giant of a man.  For him to have greater stamina than his opponent took a lot of training.  It was pretty much his only reason for victory in that case.  The big man also managed to go 2 more rounds after an absolute assault from Jack Dempsey, before retiring on his stool due to injuries.  If nothing else, he had a great heart, both in literal, and figurative terms.  He even lived until 86, combating another stereotype about giants and health.

Nicolai Valuev - Valuev was not the typical giant in many ways.  First, he was a sufferer of acromegaly.  His gigantism was the result of a genetic quirk, not heredity.  Just ask Andre the Giant how many health problems that usually results in.  However, Valuev not only was a healthy 7-footer, he was not even a huge puncher.  He routinely went 12 rounds at the higher levels, and was rarely winded afterwards.  He was by no means a hall of famer, and won his share of dubious decisions (as does any Sauerland fighter), but he gets to call himself a former world title holder, who was never stopped.  Pretty impressive.

Paul Williams - The heavyweights are not the only people who can be "giants" as it is all relative.  Sure, at heavyweight there could be massive weight disparities, which one would not find in other divisions, but height and reach can still be disproportionate. Paul Williams was much taller than most of his opponents, but he didn't have the tall-man's style.  He would brawl, throwing punches almost non-stop for as long as the fight would last.  Other than against Antonio Margarito, he never appeared to even fade in these fights as well.  He could throw for an astonishing 12 rounds.  He even had a better chin than most long lean punchers... other than the Martinez loss, he was rarely even wobbled in the ring.  Even after throwing punches for 36 minutes, he always had enough energy to give a fast talking interview after the fight.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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