Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

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Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
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This is taken from a new thread over at East Side Boxing. Do you think boxing decreases your life span?

I see some waives of life longevity for heavyweight champions:

Sullivan died at 59.
Corbett died at 66.
Fitzsimmons died at 54.

Average: 59.6.

Then there was a pocket of overall longevity:
Jeffries was 77 going on 78 at his death.
Marvin Hart died at 55.
Tommy Burns was 73, nearly 74.
Jess Willard died at 86, nearly 87.
Jack Dempsey died at 87, nearly 88.
Gene Tunney died at 81.
Max Schmeling lived to 99.
Jack Sharkey lived to age 91.

Average for this group: 81.



Thereafter, it appears that most champions, on the whole, are living shorter lives:



Primo Carnera died at 61.
Max Baer died at 50.
Jim Braddock died at age 69.
Joe Louis died at 66, nearly 67.
Ezzard Charles died at 53, nearly 54, of ALS.
Joe Walcott, the lone anomaly, made it to age 80.
Floyd Patterson died at age 71, Alzheimer's and dementia pugilistica.
Ingemar Johansson died at age 76, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and pneumonia.
Joe Frazier - 67.

Average for this group: 65.8

Overall total average age of death of all former champions combined: 71 years.
Out of 20 champions, 2 died in their 90s, 4 died in their 80s, 4 died in their 70s, 5 died in their 60s, and 5 died in their 50s.

I removed Johnson, Marciano, and Liston from the equation because of their premature deaths from unnatural causes. Johnson was 68 at the time of his death and appears to have been in good health.


If you account for race, using only Louis through Frazier, then the average for black champions is 67.4. Average for white champions is 72.

Ali is currently 69. Norton is 68. If history holds true, on average, plus the recent trend, I’d say Ali doesn’t have a whole lot of time left.

Just watch what all those wars do to Holmes, Holyfield, and Bowe’s life spans. I’m curious to see how long Foreman and Tyson live. They usually administered beatings, which might save them in one respect, but Foreman fought and got hit for a lot of years, late in life, and Tyson took a few beatings too, plus the drug abuse.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Shane
Hmmm. Never looked at things this way. George Foreman was a fat slob inbetween careers, but he's fit now and didn't take any beatings in the ring. He might live a long while. Lennox Lewis, too. I think Mike Tyson has shortened his lifespan with the drug use and ass whoopings he took, especially against Buster Douglas and Lennox Lewis.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Zorro
The human body isn't meant to get beat on like this. I don't think that your lifespan is affected by boxing unless you take some severe beatings over the course of your career. Mike Tyson indeed took a bad beating from Lennox Lewis. Lennox said that he hurt his hand from hitting Mike Tyson so hard. On the other hand, Lennox Lewis never took any beatings. The closest was his grueling fight with Ray Mercer and his last fight with Vitali.

But you never know. Frankie Campbell's brain was knocked loosely from his skull from a single blow from Max Baer. Ernie Schaaf took such a beating from Max that one jab from Primo Carnera killed him in his next fight. Boxing is a dangerous sport.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Urban Legend
Ali's parents both died at 77, so he may simply be hard wired for a specific life expectancy. Holmes is fat (and occasionally a happy drunk), while I can't see Holyfield and Bowe having an especially long life with the neurological issues both seem sure to eventually have to deal with.

Leon Spinks is in a state of deterioration, while Buster Douglas is probably lucky to be alive after that diabetic coma which hospitalized him before his improbable return to competition.

Foreman and Lennox seem to be the best candidates to reach 80 among the current crop of retired former HW Champions.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Evolution
Urban Legend wrote
Ali's parents both died at 77, so he may simply be hard wired for a specific life expectancy. Holmes is fat (and occasionally a happy drunk), while I can't see Holyfield and Bowe having an especially long life with the neurological issues both seem sure to eventually have to deal with.

Leon Spinks is in a state of deterioration, while Buster Douglas is probably lucky to be alive after that diabetic coma which hospitalized him before his improbable return to competition.

Foreman and Lennox seem to be the best candidates to reach 80 among the current crop of retired former HW Champions.
I agree. I saw the difference in Evander after his first fight with Riddick. He slurs a lot and seems disoriented. He's still a nice guy but the wars with Riddick affected him forever. I agree that Foreman and Lennox are doing the best healthwise. George Chuvalo never won the title but is in good shape today.

Some said that Joe Frazier was suffering from dementia before his death but it isn't true. He was a typical aging man is all. He was still cool as hell. He was in his right mind.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Malik Wright
In reply to this post by Zorro
Zorro wrote
Frankie Campbell's brain was knocked loosely from his skull from a single blow from Max Baer. Ernie Schaaf took such a beating from Max that one jab from Primo Carnera killed him in his next fight. Boxing is a dangerous sport.
Damn, rookie. Is that fight available to watch anywhere??
Malik El Debarge Wright
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
Administrator
Malik Wright wrote
Zorro wrote
Frankie Campbell's brain was knocked loosely from his skull from a single blow from Max Baer. Ernie Schaaf took such a beating from Max that one jab from Primo Carnera killed him in his next fight. Boxing is a dangerous sport.
Damn, rookie. Is that fight available to watch anywhere??
I don't think the fight between Max Baer and Frankie Campbell is available, but Ernie Schaaf's death at the left jab of Primo Carnera is available online. Here is a link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSrtLbTeukM

Primo Carnera was huge!!
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Evan Fields
Boxing definitely decreases your lifespan if you take some beatings in there.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
Administrator
I think stress and drugs played a role in Joe Louis' failing health and death. He had to deal with so much racism and the government taking his money. It didn't help that he became a drug addict during the 60s. So we have to look at their lives outside of the ring as well. If Louis wasn't stressed out so much and didn't get hooked on heroine, crack and cocaine, he would have probably lived longer. Other than the first Schmeling fight and his final fight with Rocky Marciano, Louis didn't take any serious beatings in the ring.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Entaowed
Banned User
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Evolution
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
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That's a sad story. Damn. Thanks for sharing. I think the Thrilla in Manilla permanently messed up both fighters.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
Administrator
I was talking to a friend (Gator Purify, who is one of my best friends in real life) about the beating Tyson took from Lewis. I think that fight shortened Tyson's lifespan. He took a beating there. Lewis hit him with some crushing blows with his feet planted. As a result he hurt his right hand, which is why he extended the knockout into the 8th round. (He could have done it much sooner).

Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield beat up Tyson too. But Holyfield did more clinching and butting than punching, and while Douglas landed some great shots, he was often up on his toes and moving backward, much like Ali. Most of Douglas' punches were distant punches anyway, like jabs and straight rights. (Although it was his uppercut that set up the knockout). Lewis pounded Tyson not just with the jab, but with inside power shots like hooks and uppercuts. In fact it was a right hook that knocked Tyson out!

Tyson doesn't seem to be showing signs of dementia or anything yet, but that Lewis beating had to shorten his days probably. I could be wrong but I can't imagine anyone taking that kind of beating from a huge heavyweight without suffering any damage later.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

49-0
Duggerman wrote
I was talking to a friend (Gator Purify, who is one of my best friends in real life) about the beating Tyson took from Lewis. I think that fight shortened Tyson's lifespan. He took a beating there. Lewis hit him with some crushing blows with his feet planted. As a result he hurt his right hand, which is why he extended the knockout into the 8th round. (He could have done it much sooner).

Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield beat up Tyson too. But Holyfield did more clinching and butting than punching, and while Douglas landed some great shots, he was often up on his toes and moving backward, much like Ali. Most of Douglas' punches were distant punches anyway, like jabs and straight rights. (Although it was his uppercut that set up the knockout). Lewis pounded Tyson not just with the jab, but with inside power shots like hooks and uppercuts. In fact it was a right hook that knocked Tyson out!

Tyson doesn't seem to be showing signs of dementia or anything yet, but that Lewis beating had to shorten his days probably. I could be wrong but I can't imagine anyone taking that kind of beating from a huge heavyweight without suffering any damage later.
Yeah. The Lewis & Tyson fight was one-sided and brutal. Lennox had a field day.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
Administrator
In reply to this post by Duggerman
Some Guy @ EastSide Boxing wrote
If you account for race, using only Louis through Frazier, then the average for black champions is 67.4. Average for white champions is 72.

Ali is currently 69. Norton is 68. If history holds true, on average, plus the recent trend, I’d say Ali doesn’t have a whole lot of time left.
Well, Norton unfortunately fell into the statistics. He died at 70, though you could argue his accident had more to do with this than ring wars. Either way, it's sad, although Jersey Joe Walcott beat the odds by dying at age 80.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Shane
Damn thats sad. Whoever did this got their statistics correct. If African American boxers keep dying around that age range (late 60s thru early 70s) then Foreman, Ali, Shavers and Holmes don't have much longer. I hope I'm wrong. But Frazier, Lyle, Robinson, Louis and Norton died in the same age bracket. Sad.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

49-0
Shane wrote
Damn thats sad. Whoever did this got their statistics correct. If African American boxers keep dying around that age range (late 60s thru early 70s) then Foreman, Ali, Shavers and Holmes don't have much longer. I hope I'm wrong. But Frazier, Lyle, Robinson, Louis and Norton died in the same age bracket. Sad.
Call me optimistic but I think Big George will be fine. Taking a ten year break from boxing helped him tremendously. Shavers and Holmes seem to be in good health and also talk fine. No signs of dementia from any of them. Muhammad Ali is the only one in rough shape. Isn't he the oldest heavyweight champion alive?
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

J.C.
In reply to this post by Duggerman
Duggerman wrote

Overall total average age of death of all former champions combined: 71 years.
Out of 20 champions, 2 died in their 90s, 4 died in their 80s, 4 died in their 70s, 5 died in their 60s, and 5 died in their 50s.

I removed Johnson, Marciano, and Liston from the equation because of their premature deaths from unnatural causes. Johnson was 68 at the time of his death and appears to have been in good health.

If you account for race, using only Louis through Frazier, then the average for black champions is 67.4. Average for white champions is 72.

Ali is currently 69. Norton is 68. If history holds true, on average, plus the recent trend, I’d say Ali doesn’t have a whole lot of time left.
Muhammad Ali made it to 74. So he outlived the average age of both black and white boxers and the overall total of former champions. That's amazing. Considering how bad his health was, I didn't think he'd have such a long shelf life. A fighter til' the end.

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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Friday The 13th...
In reply to this post by 49-0
49-0 wrote
Muhammad Ali is the only one in rough shape. Isn't he the oldest heavyweight champion alive?
Now that he's gone, George Foreman is the oldest living heavyweight champion. Man, the champs are really dying out. Just 10 years ago or so Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johanson and Max Schmeling were the oldest living heavyweight champions. Recent former champions like Corrie Sanders have died too.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Duggerman
Administrator
I kind of think these things are taken out of context. No one has mentioned that Jersey Joe Walcott died at 80. Jimmy Ellis died at 74. Jimmy Braddock was 69, etc. There's a lot of champions who haven't been mentioned.
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Re: Life Spans of the Heavyweight Champions

Courtney
Duggerman wrote
There's a lot of champions who haven't been mentioned.
Like Jack Sharkey, the only man to fight both Louis and Dempsey (he was knocked out by both). Jack Sharkey died at 91...
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