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To Judge A Fighter's Legacy Before Or After Their Retirement? Are we all too Critical?


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By @Skav

To Judge A Fighter’s Legacy Before Or After Their Retirement?

I am going to begin this editorial by first stating that judgments in all of us are automatic. This has been scientifically verified. We all have our own biases and likes and dislikes. I needed to make this odd start to what I would like to say in case anybody spots a “hypocrisy” here. It is a scientific fact that none of us can help judging (also known as making an impression or having an opinion) some thing or another.


To Judge A Fighter's Legacy Before Or After Their Retirement?

Are we all too critical?

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I think if we qualify our position, it's OK to have an opinion on a fighter's historical standing even as he remains active. If he's accomplished enough to say if he does nothing else his legacy is secure, that's fine so long as we leave space to adjust our opinion based on further developments. I don't think it's a matter of being overly critical; rather it's too many people spouting off with no common sense. It's like following the standings in team sports while knowing nothing's decided until the season's over. Where people express definitive conclusions making historical comparisons between active fighters and all-time greats is where they put their feet in their mouths. Since elite fighters compete so infrequently, we're left with a lot of downtime to talk and debate. Historical comparison is part of the discourse. It's inevitable. It's also a promotional tool. The press float topics to attract clicks. A lot of it's blowing smoke.

Certainly the further from the end of a fighter's career the riskier it is to talk about his legacy. A lot can change. Consider the elite fighters up and down the boxing scale and there's really not too many you can say maybe the end is near. The only one I'd talk about based on accomplishments to date - although the end is hardly nigh - would be Canelo. He's done as a middleweight. He didn't accomplish nearly enough there to be considered with the all-time greats imo. Supermiddleweight has a much shorter history. I'd simply say that Canelo is on track to be the greatest supermiddleweight in history. IF he keeps winning. Lose to GGG and that changes everything. Beating Benavidez is also an essential piece to the puzzle as that would clean out the current crop of elite supermiddleweight contenders. What's getting in the way is his management's constant search for megabucks thus the circus act of jumping divisions. But so long as we attach TBD to any active fighter's legacy discussion, it's a topic worth debating.

As for the few fighters who may be nearing the end, let's start with Fury. Whether or not you believe his weekly retirement announcements, it's reasonable to believe he may only one or two fights left. It may depend on how many Brits keep winning and can lure an undefeated Fury back into the ring (assuming Fury fights and beats Usyk). Facing another Brit in Britain will always appeal to Fury expecially while his travel is restricted. An AJ fight will still be worth a fortune if AJ can put a few wins together. Joyce and/or Dubois could position themselves to call out Fury if they keep winning.

As for Fury's legacy I think he's a victim of a lower level of opposition than most of the all-time greats. Not his fault but you can't give a guy credit for something he didn't do. He'd need to add to his quantity of wins to make up for the comparatively lower quality but again he's doesn't seem to be motivated beyond another fight or two.

I'm going down the entire boxing scale in my head and the only other two fighters I can think of who may be close to the end are both at 115 - Estrada and Chocolatito. Both on track to be considered among the all-time greats of the little guys with more evidence to consider in future fights. Presently Estrada has the edge head to head imo - they split two fights but compare how each performed vs Srisaket and for me that makes the difference. Perhaps Chocolatito gets another crack at Estrada to settle the score. Hearn certainly wants that fight badly. So badly he shamelessly left Srisaket in the gutter after Srisaket beat Chocolatito TWICE and split with Estrada. Then Srisaket gets blown out by Bam Rodriguez and everything's forgotten. But I digress.

Any legacy discussion on any of the other current champions is largely useless as there's too much we don't yet know. But as I said the debates fill the downtime. The opinions are largely disposable. Take it all with a grain of salt.

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