WHY ISN’T BOXING GREAT BOB FITZSIMMONS IN ALL-TIME TOP 10?
BOXING HAS DONE FITZSIMMONS WRONG!
Charlotte, NC– When discussions come up about all time greats, or all time ‘pound -for-pound’ greats, I am kind of amused that the name of Bob Fitzsimmons never gets mentioned. Despite the fact that Fitzsimmons was throwing leather more than a hundred years ago, and you can’t exactly go down to your local video store (Red Box) and rent a “Fitzsimmons’ Greatest Knockouts” DVD, the fact remains that with an “official” record of 60-7-5, 50 KO’s and 20 no contests, Bob Fitzsimmons is one of the greatest fighters of all time.
CLASS TIME FOR 20TH & 21ST CENTURY BOXING FANS
But just for a change of pace, don’t take my word for it, or don’t automatically discount me as a doddering idiot; I challenge you, boxing fan, to do what I do, research and assimilate the evidence on Bob “Ruby Red” Fitzsimmons, that is if you truly want to be an educated boxing fan. If you do, you will find a thread that runs through Fitzsimmons’ career, one that goes way beyond mere praise or even awe. That thread is one of utter disbelief at what Fitzsimmons could do as a boxer and as a puncher.
NAT FLEISCHER RATED FITZ #3 HEAVYWEIGHT
As you do your research you will find a middleweight who was rated as the third greatest heavyweight by no less an authority than Nat Fleischer. Fitzsimmons weighed in at almost 150 pounds when he won the middleweight crown from Nonpareil Jack Dempsey, and only 167 pounds when he wrested the heavyweight title from Gentleman Jim Corbett. It seems that “pound-for-pound” was invented for Fitzsimmons!
NAT RAN WROTE FOR TRUE “BIBLE OF BOXING”
Until his death in 1972, Ring Magazine icon Nat Fleischer saw most of the great champions in his lifetime, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Now, was Nat really just an old guy living in the past (as I have been accused of)? He was one of the first to recognize and publish news of the blinding talent of “Sugar Ray” Robinson. Nat also sung the praises of Eder Jofre and was a consistent bell ringer for Dick Tiger. (Don’t know Eder Jofre? Do some research!) Back in 1966, when it was still in style to bash Cassius Clay/Ali’s style and technique, it was Nat Fleischer who foresaw Clay/Ali as “A thoroughbred champion to be.”
EVEN OLD NAT HAD WRITING RIVALS!
One of Fleischer’s peers, Broadway Charley Rose, who also had a great eye for pugilistic greatness, was also very generous in his praise of Clay/Ali. And Rose also never wavered in his high praise of and belief that Fitzsimmons, Jim Jeffries, and Sam Langford were three of the greatest pugilists ever to swap leather.
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION WHEN IT WAS ALL THAT & MORE!
Jim Jefferies, who dethroned Fitzsimmons, was always amazed at Fitzs’ talent in the ring and his character outside the ring. And, boxing fan, as you continue to do your research to shoot holes in my contention that Fitzsimmons deserves a place in the all time pound-for-pound greats, you will find that not only is it hard to shoot holes in my contention, but that the positives keep adding up in Fitzsimmons corner.
LOOKED LIKE FROGGY FROM “THE LITTLE RASCALS”
You can forget the way he looked, the bald head, the freckles, the skinny legs that contemporary writers loved to make fun of. The genius of Bob Fitzsimmons came from a mind that was highly analytical that was able to perfectly relay messages to the broad shoulders and muscled arms and powerful back that was formed from long and hard at the anvil as a blacksmith.
ONE OF BOXING’S GREATEST PUNCHERS IN HISTORY!
Folks could call it the “Solar Plexus” punch or whatever they they wanted. Jim Jefferies knew differently. He knew because Fitzsimmons himself himself had told him. In an interview with Fleshier, Jeffries said, “Fitzsimmons was the greatest short punch hitter I ever saw. He could sure snap them in with a jolt. You remember how everyone thought he knocked Corbett out with a solar plexus punch? Well, Old Fitz told me years afterwords that he didn’t hit Corbett in the pit of the stomach at all. He got Corbett to leave an opening, shifted, and just stiffened his left arm out and caught Corbett on the edge of the ribs on the right side of the solar plexus, to drive the ribs in with the punch. I used the same punch myself on Corbett in San Francisco, and you remember how he went down. That was Bob’s greatest punch and nobody else ever learned to use it the way he did.”
NO TELLING HOW MANY FIGHTS FITZ HAD
Although he has an “official” record of 60-7-5, with 20 no contests, we really do not know how many fights Bob Fitzsimmons really had, or how many men fell to his amazing power. Boxing historian Tracy Callis’ research shows that Fitz had a record of 85 wins, 8 losses, 2 draws, 125 “exhibitions” and 32 no decisions.
FOUGHT THE HEAVYWEIGHT’S AT NO MORE THAN 170!
Fitz fought almost all light-heavys and heavyweights during the last half of his career, while weighing no more than 170 pounds. If he had campaigned his whole career as a middleweight (his natural weight) one can only imagine what his record might have been. Fitzsimmons himself claimed to have had had more than 350 fights.
LOOK AT THE GUYS FITZ LOST TO!
Fitzsimmons had seven official losses. Yet consider to whom he lost: Jim Jeffries (twice), Jack Johnson, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, and Bill Lang. He also lost to Mick Dooley and Jim Hall very early in his career, while the DQ loss in Fitzsimmons’ first fight with Tom Sharkey was due to a foul called by the referee and Tom’s good friend-Wyatt Earp.
MAYBE THE “TOP-FIVE” OF ALL TIME!
As you conclude your research, I believe that you might just find that Bob Fitzsimmons could possibly be much better than believed by many of today’s “experts.” And as to where Fitz fits on the all time pound-for-pound great list…you do the research.
Professor Chuck Marbry