|12-03-2011, 10:51 AM||#1|
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The Montana Standard 14 July 1929
Schmeling Adopted Flat Footed Style To Beat Basque Battler
Max Schmeling has introduced flat-footed fighting to America. The style isn't pretty and it isn't interesting. But it was quite effective enough to beat Paulino without giving the Basque a chance on earth to land his favorite body punch. In fact flat-footed fighting was perfect with Paulino as an opponent.
Used against any boxer with a variety of punches and resourcefulness in attack the flat-footed style might not be impressive at all. Sharkey for instance, certainly wouldn't walk in bent over and holding his face out for Schmeling to punch, the way Paulino did. He wouldn't meet Schmeling head to head, Billy goat style and stand motionless in that position for half a minute at a time, the way Paulino did, letting Schmeling set himself, flat-footed, and chug away with the left until he was ready to half straighten up for a moment and shoot, the right.
It is doubtful that Schmeling's trick of spreading his feet, standing perfectly flat on his heels, bending over and waiting for an opponent to come in and hold his chin to be hit would work against .anybody but Paulino. But perhaps Schmeling won’t try to use it against, anyone but Paulino. He was coached to fight Paulino that way .He may have an entirely different style when he fights Sharkey. If he does fight Sharkey later in the season he is smart enough to know that he can't beat boxers by spreading his legs, clamping his large flat shoe soles firmly to the canvas, bending double, and trying to feel his opponent's position with the top of his head before hitting. That was for Paulino. Schmeling met, him and beat him at his own game.
Schmeling has plenty of good fighting assets. He is tall enough, heavy enough, and above the heavy-weight average in strength. He moves flatfooted, not up on his toes, and is a little clumsy, but is smart and has a quick eye. He knows a lot about blocking punches with his gloves and
forearms, not his chin. Paulino practically didn't, hit him at all except on the sides and back – the only exposed by Schmeling when he stayed bent double with his hands in front of his chin.
Schmeling isn't a Dempsey, physically or mentally. He isn't a natural fighter. He is a workman, working at fighting with the deliberation of a mechanic assembling a car. Dempsey was a born fighter. He was perfectly built for fighting and filled with an eagerness to fight . Dempsey used to say "It’s the greatest fun in the world. The biggest thrill I know of is sitting there waiting for the first bell, wondering if you're going to sock the other fellow or if he's going to sock you."
Dempsey in the ring hardly ever let his heels touch the floor. He was up on his toes like Jeffries, Corbett, Fitzsimmons and the rest of that lot. But Schmeling can point to one flat footed fighter who could box and fight. Jack Johnson, former heavyweight champion, was as flat footed
as Schmeling. He moved around with flat -footed shuffle, which didn't prevent him from moving quickly at times. Because he was flat-footed Johnson floundered, when he tried to rush forward and attack — so he developed a perfect defensive style of fighting, seldom leading but always
ready to counter hit. Johnson stood straight up in all his fights. He didn't have to bend over to avoid being hit.
Many of Johnson's fights were tiresome because of his patient defense, but ho could cut loose if he wanted to. As Schmeling is now, Dempsey in the condition of his championship days, would beat him easily and quickly. Tunney would outpoint him and probably cut him up a bit without much danger. He might beat the Dempsey of today by wearing him out. He might beat Sharkey because Sharkey is an in and out fighter, and has been living softly for a couple of years and not fighting often enough. Sharkey on one of his good fighting nights ought to beat Schmeling, because Sharkey can move around faster and hit harder. But Jack hasn't had good fighting night, since Dempsey took the heart out of him with body punches. The fellow who is to beat Schmeling may need a heart. The German looks as if he might put up an obstinate fight.
At that, like Johnson, he is going to put up some tiresome bouts unless he has a different style for other fights. The fight with Paulino looked like the rawest of prearranged fakery all through the first 10 rounds. Schmeling thumped away with short punches at close quarters but never showed any inclination to "take a chance." Paulino put nothing into his punches and seemed to be pulling all except those that missed a yard or so. He showed no inclination to tear in and slam with everything he had, as he did in the Godfrey fight last year.
He looked puzzled and perhaps he was. Schmeling kept up a tap tap tap on Paulino’s face with his left, thumped and bruised him but did no damage except on the surface.
That may have been Schmeling's game — the slow waiting for something to break that would make it perfectly safe to cut loose. The time came when Paulino's eyes were put out of commission with cuts and bruises, so that in the fourteenth Paulino was apparently unable to see Schmeling at all. Then Schmeling tried eagerly for a knockout. He crowded Paulino into a corner and even socked him several times after the bell. That he didn't knock Paulino out, when the Basque couldn’t see blows coming, proves that while Schmeling is a dangerous mauler of the Bat Nelson type he isn’t any punching marvel.
In the last round Schmeling tried again to knock Paulino out and when Paulino jumped at him again and again blindly swinging and missing Max dropped into his low crouch and went right back to the careful defense. Caution may carry the German a long way but it never pleased the spectators and it never carried anyone, except Johnson, to a championship.
As Schmeling is smart, and wishes to succeed Dempsey as a crowd pleaser chances are he'll show more boldness in later fights. With more boldness he'd be dangerous to any of the present day heavies
Last edited by rob snell; 12-03-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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