Gene Tunney

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Gene Tunney

Rosco
He's not discussed too much around here. How good was he? I heard good things about him from Bert Sugar. Where does he rank amongst the ATGs? And whose the best boxers he would beat?
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
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He was good for his time. His record was impressive..he only lost one fight and avenged it later. He had the mobility to survive a fading Dempsey but would have been KO'd if Dempsey were younger. As it stands he should be viewed as an all-time great. Because of his speed and technical finesse I'd put "The Fighting Marine" somewhere in my top twenty.

I'd like to see him fight similar fighters like Jersey Walcott, Chris Byrd, or Jimmy Young.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Zorro
I've always maintained that Muhammad Ali's style was a combination of Sugar Ray Robinson, Gene Tunney and Jack Johnson.

Leaning away from punches with his head down = Jack Johnson

Playfully dusting his opponent's face with his left glove = Jack Johnson

Rapid fire Combinations/flurries = Sugar Ray Robinson

Footwork = Gene Tunney.

Gene Tunney was a smaller Ali to me and nearly as tough.

Muhammad said this about Gene Tunney.

"If you look at Gene Tunney, this is where boxers started getting better. He throws punches sharp and quick. He’s strong, fast and quick. He’s about the best of the old-timers. I’d say Tunney is the greatest old-timer, as far as punching is concerned, and skill. Tunney uses good movement and footwork, something that most heavyweights don’t have. I thought I was the only heavyweight to do it. He’s jabbing and moving.”

http://www.boxinginsider.com/columns/muhammad-ali-rates-the-pre-1970-all-time-great-heavyweights/
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Re: Gene Tunney

Friday The 13th...
But Zorro you left out some of the best parts from the Ali quote!

“He’s moving like me – but no rhythm.”

“Dempsey is dangerous in close, like Frazier and Marciano. Tunney wants to pop him and keep his distance. Dempsey is a good ducker, he could bob a lot. Tunney’s the best of that era. I see him sometimes and I tell him he was one of the best of all times.”

(On facing Tunney)

“Keep my distance, take my time. It’s easy to fight a guy with Tunney’s style. I don’t like in-close fighters like Marciano, Joe Frazier and even Jack Dempsey, because they were wild in close. I like to stand there, pick my shots, take my time. We’d be two fighters standing there. The man that is fastest would win. I would win because I’m faster than Gene Tunney.”
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
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I'd like to see Tunney versus Liston. Tunney had the footwork and speed to frustrate Liston the way Clay did. Sonny would still be the favorite and likely catch him eventually. But, is it possible that Tunney could frustrate Sonny even more because he was smaller than Clay/Ali?
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Re: Gene Tunney

Entaowed
No, because Tunney would not have the combination of speed height & reach to evade Liston & that enormous jab as well, being smaller would not be enough.  

having read much about Dempsey, I am forced to conclude that he was a great cultural phenomena & great at his peak, but there were many wholes in his record.  Who he fought, when he lost, sitting on the titles, who he did not fight...Speed & ferocity balanced w/boxing & bulk limitations.  Rocky had physical limitations but made more of his ponential.  Might start a thread about it.
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Re: Gene Tunney

J.C.
Entaowed wrote
No, because Tunney would not have the combination of speed height & reach to evade Liston & that enormous jab as well, being smaller would not be enough.  
Ali's height could also be a disadvantage. He's a much bigger target than Tunney.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
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This post was updated on .
J.C. wrote
Ali's height could also be a disadvantage. He's a much bigger target than Tunney.
That was my line of thinking. In addition to their speed and mobility, Walcott, Conn and Pastor were frustrating to Joe Louis because they were smaller. Someone like Ali or Holmes would give Louis similar problems but they're bigger and harder to miss. Conn and the others could (and often did) stay out of tight spots against Louis because of their miniscule size.

The tricky thing about a Tunney/Liston fight is that Liston might tire midway through the fight and enable Tunney to win a decision. I bet on Sonny to knock him out (Sonny was better than old Dempsey, and old Dempsey STILL clobbered Tunney, who was saved by a long count) but if Tunney is still alive past the 7th round or so, things might go in his favor.

Tunney versus Foreman would probably be similar to Foreman-Young, though pre-Zaire Foreman wouldn't be much hesitant to pull the trigger.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Entaowed
I cannot see if Tunney was saved by the long count.  Which was completely Dempsey's fault, he/his side insisted on the neutral corner rule that he refused to go to.  Tunney was waiting for the ref's count, I cannot tell if he could not get up earlier.

I also do not see prime Liston's endurance beings so limited.  Where did he get exhausted & fade then?

POST Zaire Foreman would indeed hesitate.  But before then he would have cut the ring & nailed Tunney & Young pretty handily.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
Administrator
Entaowed wrote
I cannot see if Tunney was saved by the long count.  Which was completely Dempsey's fault, he/his side insisted on the neutral corner rule that he refused to go to.  Tunney was waiting for the ref's count, I cannot tell if he could not get up earlier.

I also do not see prime Liston's endurance beings so limited.  Where did he get exhausted & fade then?

POST Zaire Foreman would indeed hesitate.  But before then he would have cut the ring & nailed Tunney & Young pretty handily.
The extra four seconds definitely gave him time to clear his head more. My point though, was that old Dempsey nearly KO'd Tunney, so he could be caught.

Sonny faded against Ali in the first fight but was under-trained and underestimated him. But if you look at Sonny's fights, particularly against fleet-footed boxer types, he wasn't half as dangerous late in the fight as he was early on. Like Dempsey and Tyson, Sonny was a front runner. It wasn't impossible for them to score a late KO but it rarely happened. This is something Tunney could exploit. Not saying it's an automatic win for him, though.

I had a typo I've since corrected. I meant to say pre-Zaire Foreman wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Entaowed
I saw tunney's son arguing otherwise, though he is biased.  But you can see Tunney watching the count closely.  I think he could have risen before 10.  The question is would he have been significantly more compromised for the rest of the round, which really would be the difference & risk.  I don't think that we can know.

Sure Liston faded vs. Ali due to those factors, & age did not help.  Not as dagerous against fast smaller guys?  OK, though I was asking about him gassing, I have seen him not able to put guys away, not pooping out.  He seemed better than prime Foreman this way.  Yet he did not have the most elite competition-though we can say this about many...The more you look at things we can see how things can be argued either way.

Sure Tunney had a chance.  Yet from '59 until Ali, the WORST Liston did was one UD win against Machen.  His only loss had been in '54 when his jaw was broken in round 2.  i had not realized that he fought Martyu Marshall TWICE more.  It is I think very likely that a prime Liston does better than a post prime Dempsey.

Tunney was a great technician, but his resume is quite limited at HW.  He started beating the great largely forgotten Greb when Greb had the eye injury & was fading, & Greb was smaller than him.  Gibbons was a good win, but he never beat anyone like peak Sonny in power, size & skills.
Though you could counter boxers beat sluggers, though Sonny could box too...
And that is when they are close enough in quality.

We agree Sonny is the favorite.  
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
Administrator
Check out what Bert Sugar had to say about the long count.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Entaowed
This is very good, thanks Duggy!

Now if'n Bert said something else, i would be fairly impugning his credibility, because he was often imprecise or exaggerated & was a sentimentalist who favored the old timers.  But the film seems to support the though that Tunney was attentive, waiting, got up very quikcly...And could have done so, & likely lasted the round, with 4 less seconds.

Only quiblle I have with the video is when discussing Jack Johnson, Sugar describes the avergae man at the turn of the 20th century as "only 5' 9 1/2".  Now, it was shorter, today the average man is right around 5' 10".  Better nutrition has had folks fulfilling their genetic potential, he just has the #s wrong.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
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I've got this special on DVD. "Burt Sugar's Top 10 Heavyweights." Admittedly, most of what I know about Tunney is from this program and Burt's book, 100 Greatest Boxers.

I did find out recently that Gene starred in a film that was lost. No one has seen it. It disappeared as mysteriously as Emelia Earhart.  
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Re: Gene Tunney

Zombies Ate Me
^^I heard about that missing film. Strange.

Gene was a thinking fighter. Foreman said that thinking fighters gave him problems. Gene was a thinking fighter with speed, something else Foreman struggled with. (Watch the fight with Jimmy Young). Makes me wonder if Gene would survive Foreman if he stayed on his bicycle? If Jimmy Young could, surely Tunney might.
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Re: Gene Tunney

J.C.
I was watching the long count fight earlier today. I find Gene to be faster (and technically better) than Billy Conn.

He was fast and could hit if provoked. I think he would have beaten David Tua the way Chris Byrd did.
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Re: Gene Tunney

redfeng007
In reply to this post by Duggerman
Does he remind you of Riddick Bowe?

Only lost one professional fight. Later he avenged his defeat by KO Holyfield.
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Re: Gene Tunney

Malik Wright
redfeng007 wrote
Does he remind you of Riddick Bowe?

Only lost one professional fight. Later he avenged his defeat by KO Holyfield.
Almost but no cigar, homie. Riddick had one no contest. Gene had one draw and one no contest.
Malik El Debarge Wright
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Re: Gene Tunney

Duggerman
Administrator
In reply to this post by Rosco
Rosco wrote
 whose the best boxers he would beat?
Maybe David Tua? Tua never learned how to evade a jab...his technical flaws and lack of motivation may allow Tunney to steal a decision. Although Tunney was similar in size to John Ruiz and we saw what happened there....Tua destroys him if he lands....hell, I don't think Tunney would have survived the Dempsey knock down if not for the long count.
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Re: Gene Tunney

49-0
Gene was the Lennox Lewis of his day...the public didn't find him exciting one bit. They preferred Dempsey. I do think he was a swift and clever guy though. I can imagine Baer and Foreman having problems catching him early on but destroying him once they do.
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