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Fights where the result became better or worse


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Fights where the result became better or worse as the years went by.


Sometimes in debates (especially in boxing) we'll bring up a bout where the end result seemed a lot more impressive at the time it happened than it would do a few years down the line.


On other occasions, a result will look more impressive down the line.


For example, anybody that beats Bernard Hopkins could very easily be accused of "beating an old man". But, when Hopkins fights a year later and schools a prime young champion, the last boxer to beat Bernard Hopkins immediately gets extra credit for his win over the "old man".


A great example:


- Joe Calzaghe vs Bernard Hopkins:


At the time, it was very easy to swipe away this win and claim Joe beat an average and ageing Bernard Hopkins. That's exactly what i did. But, only 6 months later, the same Hopkins absolutely schooled Kelly Pavlik and took away his undefeated record. Two and a half years after losing to Joe, he got a controversial draw against Jean Pascal and looks like 2011 could be, arguably, his biggest year in boxing.


But, it also works the over way round, probably more often in fact:


- Joe Calzaghe vs Jeff Lacy:


Jeff Lacy inherited the IBF title from the recently retired Sven Ottke. Unlike Ottke, Lacy actually wanted to test himself against the best. Joe put on a masterclass and beat the sense out of Lacy. But, Lacy hadn't actually fought a single top contender. He was merely a "very good prospect". Since his fight with Joe, he is 4-3. But, he definitely lost the bout immediately after the Calzaghe bout, against Vitaliy Tsypko. I watched the fight and Lacy knew he'd lost and Tsypko's team were celebrating. Even the crowd booed the decision if i remember right. So he is really 3-4. Could this mean Lacy wasn't quite as good as he was made out to be? Jeff Lacy was no Gerald McClellan.


- David Haye vs Enzo Maccarinelli:


David Haye beats the WBO cruiserweight champion. It seemed like a big win at the time. He also beat Jean Marc Mormeck only a couple of fights before for the WBC+WBA titles. But, since then Enzo's record is 4-3 and the 3 losses were brutal KOs. Was Enzo really that good to begin with? We also need to take into account that the IBF champions during Haye's cruiserweight days were Steve Cunnigham and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk who were both better than Maccarinelli. Add to that the fact that Haye has fought very average HWs since moving up.


Would it be cynical to suggest that there is a pattern in Haye's career of fighting the less dangerous opponent? Maccarinelli instead of Cunningham or Harrison instead of Adamek, for example?


I think these comparisons are very important in determining how successful a boxer's career really was. Especially when we analyse records of all time greats. It's easy to say "Rocky Marciano was a legend, he beat Joe Louis". But, when you look at their records and realise Joe Louis was 39 years old and 17 years into his pro career, the win loses all of its sparkle.


Any other examples?

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A few more:


- Carl Froch vs Jean Pascal: Carl beats Pascal in a brawl and wins his first World title. At the time it might have seen like two novices fighting it out for a vacant title. Pascal would later go on to beat the number one guy at 175lbs and take his title away from him.


- Roy Jones jr vs Bernard Hopkins: Hopkins wasn't anywhere near the finished article and it might not have seemed like the biggest win in the World at the time. Little did we know Hopkins would go on to win all 4 titles and remain undefeated for the next 12 years.


- Bernard Hopkins vs Glen Johnson: The Glen Johnson that Hopkins beat was not the one we know now. But, he was 32-0 albeit against lower calibre opposition. Hopkins beat him easy and became the first and only man to stop him. Probably looked like a routine win at the time. The next 13 years would show us, this was no ordinary fighter.

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I would say it's a bit harsh to say that Haye has a pattern of fighting less dangerous opponents...he did face Mormeck in France, and Enzo didn't turn out to be great but had a reasonable run as a champion.

I think the trend only really started once Sky Box Office picked him up.

He must have been on around £4-500k per fight, max, on Setanta, and they were openly encouraging him to face Wlad.

Sky are paying him many millions to do quite the opposite, and he's become lazy, too inactive now he's earning crazy money for often effectively very little...

He doesn't want to take the risks that might take his celebrity away.

Fair enough, he left the cruiserweight division when it became very active with good fighters, and he may have turned his back on Vitali to face Valuev and he may have opted for Harrison instead of Wlad...yeah okay...



I would say another couple of good examples along the lines you mention;


Margarito beating Sergio Martinez.

The victory came when they were both relative novices, but is now probably the biggest scalp on his resume.


Bradley's win over Witter.

Witter was the champion, was often under-rated and overlooked, Bradley was a 21 fight novice, but it was Junior who never had a decent top level win after that fight and another loss to Alexander effectively ended his world level hopes...

I remember it being a relative upset at the time, yet looking back, few would pick Witter over Bradley at any point.

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It must be taken into account that sometimes a loss - and the way that it happened - can ruin a fighter.


Davey Moore's lost almost half of his fights after Duran destroyed him.That doesn't change the fact that,at the time,Moore was a highly regarded young fighter that was favoured(I think) over Duran.Same thing with Trinidad's win over Vargas and perhaps even David Reid.

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