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#1
Old 11-20-2014, 02:00 PM
billeau2
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Default Jack Johnson and the concept of the ambush fighter

Often in this section we are asked to consider some fairly bizarro scenerios. Vlad against Jack Johnson is one of those. This fight in a very real sense (along with a fantasy sense) could never happen. It would probably look like when Ali fought the wrestler because of so many differences that have to be accounted for. Whats to stop Johnson from simply staying away from Vlad for fifteen rounds? Whats to stop Vlad from clinching to an extent that simply no fight could take place? etc etc ect.

I mean no derision to either opponent, but I do think that when a fighter is unfamiliar, when normal reactions are shut down, strange things can happen. Think of it this way: Imagine being the first martian to open up a time capsule about Earth...and seeing a description of boxing showing two guys in classical repose, faces taunt, legs spread just so, hand up and ready....now lets say a practical joker in NASA decides to sub that series of images for the Ali versus the wrestler (Inuki sp?). One can well picture the martian scratching his two heads and going "what the fvc?"

But sometimes these situations create innovation, or rather bring innovation to the surface and when society is ready..great, until then? good luck! The first crossover SUV/Car was a vehicle called the Aztec. It is still considered a bad joke...why? society thought the idea of a crossover SUV car was ridiculous! the SUV had not even been invented yet! But was there in the genius of jack Johnson....lying latent, a truly innovative boxing approach?

I believe that in Johnson's thinking & strategizing about prize fighting theory and application remained, undiscovered, a new way of thinking that may well inluence the way smaller fighters, choose to challenge bigger guys. I think this applies almost exclusively to the open divisions in boxing....vis a vis the heavyweight division.

JOhnson was unique in how he measured opponents. He did not only deal with distance from sword length...3 feet from the opponent, like most fighters at that time (fencing was still somewhat close to boxing theory), rather Johnson would often set up from across the ring, and ambush an opponent. there are many pictures of Johnson looking like he is running while playing patti cake. His hands are up, and he is charging into his opponent. We see how fighters imitated that move by blocking punches with a hand parry...Jones loved that technique! BUT there was more to it than that.

Johnson was creating an ambush. He saw something that told him to attack at that moment from a relatively great distance. Common logic would dictate that an opponent can adjust to such an ambush relatively easily. i mean the opponent has all day as the ambusher runs towards them...it would seem. Hence we have the methodical short stepping of Liston, the patient cutting off the ring from Louis and the angular attack of Dempsey...All copied by heavyweights that became great fighters standing on these shoulders. Ali, who was the progeny of johnson's wily ways was so fast that he could sweep across the ring with a right hand lead (call it a jab if you like). But with Ali the emphasis was on the speed, he was not so much waiting to counter as choosing to initiate the action....with Johnson he saw an opening that he was trying to set up, and in a few movements caught his opponent.

Why does this work? The eye is a strange instrument indeed. We see movement much better when we use our peripheral vision than our frontal vision. In fact. If you launch a punch from more than about 3 feet from me, if I make a small subtle movement you might miss it and catch me. One rule of martial confrontation is small and subtle in close, gross and out of the way at a distance. A quick knife cut to the throat demands an angle and slight body shift...a parry to a stick weilder running towards one, you make a large circular movement as you bring the body out of the line of the stick. At any rate, you first catch movement from the side of the eye, not from the front of the eye. As a bouncer I learned to lean my head and talk to a dangerous individual while watching out of the corner of my eye where I would instantly see any sudden jerky movements.

Boxers always have to switch between the two visual reference points but usually are depending on the front vision to give them time to react. This is for many reasons. Mainly because you cannot square up and fight mano to mano if your head is turned, you need to react in a way that gives you specific information about the blow that depends on direct visual recognition, etc.

Johnson somehow found a way to exploite that space between the visual switch between combat range and when one looks to not be a threat because they appear to be out of range. If I catch you in bad position across the ring, start an attack to make you respond thinking you have some distance and then...suddenly you have to react quickly and defensively you have been ambushed! again this is not quite the same as just being caught because I leaped across the ring with a shot.

Dwyer, when he still had some sense (my opinion my opinion!) coined the term ambush fighter to describe, the first time i heard it from him....David Haye. It is an apt description. Haye is not fast enough to hit you from across the ring with his shot, he is not angular enough to bob and weave you into a shot, he is not savy enough to cut the ring off with footwork, and he does not have an eccentric reach. David Haye spends a good deal of a fight staying far away from his opponent. At these times he has no concern because any action he sees can be picked up at a good distance. When he decides to attack he will often try to trap the opponent into a position where in two steps or so, the opponent will be backed up and susceptable to being trapped and unable to react to a bomb.

I believe we will see more of this strategy. I think Johnson was a master of it, and if people like Haye watched johnson carefully they could be quite effective. The strategy does not work well against pressure guys who are right on top of you...Good luck trying to ambush Holyfield or Tyson! But against a big man who is limited with movement it is a good strategy. Jack Johnson may have or may have not understood how he employed this strategy but latent in his game was the roots of the ambush fighter.
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#2
Old 11-20-2014, 02:13 PM
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Vitali knocks out Jack Johnson within the first few rounds. He would do a Kirk Johnson on him, recall that fight.
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#3
Old 11-20-2014, 02:41 PM
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Johnson Ko's Wlad as Vitali looks on in fear that he's next!
Both brothers join a traveling circus and reap the rewards of staging something they actually become good at!
Johnson is considered an ATG and Wlad is NOT!!!
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#4
Old 11-20-2014, 02:56 PM
billeau2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Weltschmerz- View Post
Vitali knocks out Jack Johnson within the first few rounds. He would do a Kirk Johnson on him, recall that fight.
your mancrush has been expressed. We get it. You might get a signed jock strap if you asked either brother nicely.
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#5
Old 11-20-2014, 03:05 PM
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Nice post billeau2. Shame on responses, thought we almost had gotten away from comparing our current HW champ against past champs.
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#6
Old 11-20-2014, 09:50 PM
Scott9945
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Weltschmerz- View Post
Vitali knocks out Jack Johnson within the first few rounds. He would do a Kirk Johnson on him, recall that fight.
Well hopefully Jack Johnson would show up in better physical condition than the bloated Kirk Johnson did.
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#7
Old 11-20-2014, 11:46 PM
One more round
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i really can't envision a scenario other than wlad piledriving johnson into the ground in brutal fashion
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#8
Old 11-21-2014, 04:23 AM
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I think Johnson loses to both brothers to be honest.
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#9
Old 11-21-2014, 10:35 AM
billeau2
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There seems to be a misconception that this thread is about a contest between Johnson and Vlad it is not. If people want to discuss this by all means have at it. But my interest is specifically in how an ambush fighting strategy might become more prevelant particularly if fighters look at how Haye functions in the ring.

Haye gave a pretty good account of himself and would be a real threat to Vlad if they fought again.

I know the original post is a bit wordy, but at least a cursory glance should let people know what I am on about! Not every topic has to be about head to head fantasy fights. I believe that Johnson and Vlad, for all practical purposes fought in two different sports. Also to be fair johnson dealt with size and strength and if that fight had been when he was younger, with less rounds, etc it mght have ended quite differently.
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