Convicted Artist Magazine

May 27th
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chris_straitNow, it's time for another installment of the "over/under".  It's been a while since I've done of these, probably since I thought I'd said all there is to say in the modern era.  However, I will later be writing more based on the Ring's top 100 of 2009.  For now, though, I am glad to have had the gap in appreciation (or lack thereof) that I had, since it made me look into the past to see if there any fighters I feel deserve more/less mention. 

Now, looking into the past, one is tempted to immediately list the many black fighters who were denied shots at titles because of race. Those fighters, however, are properly rated nowadays, due to the attention their struggles have gotten them.  There are some other fighters, though, who are ranked only a bit below where they should be.  And I believe I am obliged to mention them as well.
Calling a fighter like Marcel Cerdan overrated, when he regualrly makes everyone's top middleweights of all time list may seem unnecessary, but let's look at the numbers.  Now, it's no big secret, I am not a big fan of the numbers that Julio Cesar Chavez put up against substandard opposition, but many give him credit for his 106 wins.  Cerdan himself had the same amount fo wins, and JCC existed at a time when you could not only pad your record, but rest in between those fights. 

At a time when all-time greats fought often, fought injured, fought in other fighters backyards, Cerdan only lost four fights.  DQ'd twice early in his carer, he also was (allegedly) the victim of home town judging, when he lost a 15 round Eurpoean Middleweight title fight to Cyrille Dellanoit in Belgium.  This was a loss he avenged, just before taking the title from Tony Zale. 
Even his final defeat, which took place at age 33 (an ancient age by fighting standards in those days) only occured due to a shoulder injury, in a title defense against Jake La Motta.  Now, credentials like this would be impressive in the career of a modern champion.  Cerdan, however, had 110 fights!  That leaves a record of 106-4!  This is even better than Chavez, and unlike Julio, teh Algeria-born Frenchman was not aided by corruption.  If anything, Cerdan was hindered by it.

Only his untimely death in a plane crash likely stopped him from regaining the title.  I feel that often his place at the lower end of the top 15 lists would be much higher, had he made it to the title sooner, and been able to hold it longer.  There appears to be no evidence, however, that this was his fault, and even with the fates stacked against him, he accomplished so much.  He deserves to have the writers of today mention him more often, if only whe comparing him with European fighters who show no inclination to cross the pond.
Chris Strait

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