SOMETIMES BOXING FANS, TV reporters and "experts" mention a, what I call, "bombastic statistic". That's a figure that sounds good but is pretty useless in assessing quality.
It's similar to a bombastic statement like "As a child I started to read and write earlier than John F. Kennedy" or "I could use forks and knives earlier than Albert Einstein".
It has some value as an anecdote but is only of limited use as an actual achievement.
Comparing walk-ins and hair cuts
Let's check some examples of bombastic statistics of boxing:
- Number of times you became a world champion
Usually Evan Fields is introduced as "X times world champion" which indeed sounds impressive but basically means that he lost or retired (x-1)*times.
- Length of reign (= how many years you've been the world champion)
- Age of first world title win
- Consecutive KOs in world championships
- The least losses during prime
- Number of fame-name fights
Longest boxing reign
Let's take the above mentioned "Length of reign". Joe Louis holds the record of "longest reigning world champ". He was champion from 1937 to 1950 (13.2 years). He won/defended his title in 28 fights in this time, that's equivalent to 2 fights a year. In other words: A champ who would be more active (let's say, 4x a year) (1943 and 1945 Joe Louis didn't fight at all, World War II) would have a reign half as long as Louis. Thus not Louis' reign (13.2) years should be impressive but rather his "number world championship wins".
Age of first world title win -OR- Youngest heavyweight world champion
Let's check another bombastic statistic… "Age of first world title win" (Tyson fans and AliFans love this!):
|#||Name||Age of first world heavyweight title win||How many years after start of career||Age of first world title win (200×2)||How many years after start of career|
|01||·Herbie Hide||22.5 yro||4.40 years||22.56 yro||4.40 years|
|02||·Muhammad Ali||22.1 yro||3.32 years||22.11 yro||3.32 years|
|03||·George Foreman||24.0 yro||3.57 years||24.03 yro||3.57 years|
|04||·Jack Dempsey||24.0 yro||4.88 years||-||-|
|05||·James J Jeffries||24.1 yro||3.61 years||26.58 yro||6.04 years|
|06||·John Tate||24.7 yro||2.45 years||24.73 yro||2.45 years|
|07||·Leon Spinks||24.5 yro||1.08 years||-||-|
|08||·Michael Dokes||24.3 yro||6.15 years||24.33 yro||6.15 years|
|09||·Michael Moorer||24.5 yro||4.19 years||24.51 yro||4.19 years|
|10||·Tommy Burns||24.6 yro||4.09 years||-||-|
|11||·Tommy Morrison||24.4 yro||4.57 years||24.43 yro||4.57 years|
|12||·Wladimir Klitschko||24.5 yro||3.90 years||24.55 yro||3.9 years|
|13||·Joe Louis||23.3 yro||3.15 years||24.93 yro||4.78 years|
|14||·Floyd Patterson||21.9 yro||4.21 years||-||-|
|15||·Mike Tyson||20.3 yro||1.71 years||20.39 yro||1.71 years|
|16||·David Haye||29.0 yro||6.91 years||29.07 yro||6.91 years|
|17||·Evander Holyfield||28.0 yro||5.94 years||28.02 yro||5.94 years|
|18||·Hasim Rahman||28.4 yro||6.38 years||28.46 yro||6.38 years|
|19||·Joe Frazier||26.8 yro||5.25 years||27.16 yro||5.56 years|
|20||·Larry Holmes||28.6 yro||5.21 years||28.6 yro||5.21 years|
|21||·Lennox Lewis||27.6 yro||3.86 years||27.68 yro||3.86 years|
|22||·Nikolay Valuev||32.3 yro||12.17 years||32.32 yro||12.1 years|
|23||·Riddick Bowe||25.2 yro||3.68 years||25.26 yro||3.68 years|
|24||·Rocky Marciano||29.0 yro||5.51 years||-||-|
|25||·Sonny Liston||30.3 yro||9.06 years||-||-|
|26||·Vitali Klitschko||27.9 yro||2.61 years||27.94 yro||2.61 years|
|27||·Ernie Terrell||25.9 yro||7.80 years||26.57 yro||8.46 years|
|28||·Frank Bruno||33.7 yro||13.46 years||33.79 yro||13.4 years|
|29||·John Ruiz||29.1 yro||8.53 years||29.17 yro||8.53 years|
|30||·Shannon Briggs||34.9 yro||14.28 years||34.92 yro||14.2 years|
|31||·Trevor Berbick||31.6 yro||9.48 years||31.64 yro||9.48 years|
Fistic Statistic [#2943.1] AgeWorldTitle
And now what? What conclusions for the ranking can you draw from it? That Tyson should be above Ali? That Riddick Bowe should be above Lennox Lewis? That Floyd Patterson should be above Larry Holmes?
Additionally the statistic is inconclusive because the American interpretation "being the youngest = exceptionally strong boxer" could be very wrong and should be rather interpreted the other way around as "being youngest = exceptionally weak era", which may be especially true with Muhammad Ali who became the second youngest by beating the Eric Esch of the 70ies (Sonny Liston), who himself only became a world champion by beating a cruiser (189 lbs, Floyd Patterson). But, that's another story.
Most boxing fights in a single year
Here you have another bombastic statistic "The highest number of fights in a single year". This is usually mentioned when fans complains about the little fights that boxers have nowadays and express their wishes to return to such times when Joe Louis fought 12x in a single year.
|Name||Max fights in a single year (including NC)||Max wins in a single year||Max KO'wins in a single year||Max real heavyweight fights in a single year (200×2)||Max real heavyweight wins in a single year (200×2)||Max real heavyweight KO'wins in a single year (200×2)|
Fistic Statistic [#2943.MaxFightsInASingleYear] Maximum number of fights in a single year
Consecutive KO'wins in heavyweight world championships
Now, let's check "Consecutive KO'wins in heavyweight world championships". A record (8 KOs in a row) that is held since 1907(!) by ·Tommy Burns.
When you actually analyze these 8 KOs then it turns out that
- 7 of the 8 were against cruisers and only 1 was against a real[?] heavyweight (200+)
- 1 of the 8 came in round 13 (thus you give Tommy Burns an unfair advantage over nowadays heavyweights)
- ALL of the KOs were against bums[?] (with a median[?] record of 20-11)
In other words: Burns holds this record because
- modern heavies would never fight 8 times in a row against such bums in world championships
- AND would not be allowed to fight (because of too low weight)
- AND if they would perform exactly as Burns then it would count only as 6 consecutive KOs.
It gets especially ridiculous when you know that Jimmy Burns did not score 1 single KO IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER against a non-bum.
It's a stupid statistic, but let me complete the stupidity by the following table.
|Name||Longest streak wins||Longest streak KO'wins||Longest streak wins (200×2)||Longest streak KO'wins (200×2)||Longest streak wins (world title)||Longest streak KO'wins (world title)||Longest streak wins (world title, 200×2)||Longest streak KO'wins (world title, 200×2)|
Fistic Statistic [#2943.3]
This bombastic statistic shows you not only useless arguments ("Boxer A has more consecutive wins than Boxer B") but also useless counter-arguments ("But Boxer B has more consecutive KOs than Boxer A").
Each of the boxers Marciano, Klitschko, Bowe, Louis is leading in some category while Ali and Lennox are leading in none.
I am sure you can invent a lot of statistics that make one boxer look good and another bad.
But for a stat to not be useless it should pass the litmus test: Does it increase the chances of the boxer with the better statistic to win against a boxer with the worse statistic?