Thoughts on Henry Armstrong?

Where would rank him all time?

Very close to the top. Anyone who has the names Ross, Ambers, Zivic, Angott, Larkin, Jenkins, Bass, Garcia and Arizmendi in the win column of their professional records deserve consideration as one of the elites. Armstrong accomplished more in 1938 than most hall of fame fighters did over the course of their careers. Most boxing historians have Armstrong slotted in at number 2 or 3 on the list of all-time greats.Personally, I have Robinson number 1 and Armstrong tentatively thrown in my number 2 spot, but I think that strong arguments can be made on behalf of Greb, Leonard & Pep to place them in that spot instead.

What makes you give Robinson the nod?

There is a highlight vid of Armstrong on youtube and during it he is doing a drill/exhibition and it is similar to Floyd Mayweather.

I know they have extremely different styles , but I thought it was interesting.

Will find the link when I get home from work

<br />I place Robinson over Armstrong simply based upon the fact that I believe that he was a better fighter. Robinson had insane balance, speed, power and toughness and technically, he about as pure as they come. Armstrong might have a better resume, but I don't believe that he was a better fighter. For one, Armstrong was only 5'5 & and rarely ever threw a jab. Second, as great as hammerin hank was, his defense was not exactly stellar and was based more on pressure and overwhelming offense than on defensive skill. Third, Armstrong's run at greatness was fairly short lived. Between 1937 & 1939, Armstrong was truly something special, but as early 1940, when Armstrong was only 30 years old, he was losing to guys like Fritzie Zivic (no shame in that) and Rueben Shank and was already on the downside of his career.

By comparison, Robinson was a defensive genius who equally adept at the offensive end of the game. Sugar Ray had a lightening fast jab that he commonly threw in double or triplicate form and possessed murderous power in both his left and his right hand. In addition, Sugar Ray could throw power punches to the head or body with equal effectiveness. In addition, Robinson had the ability to apply pressure and walk a man down or to be a defensive stylist and to move around the ring and hide behind his left jab.

Similar to Armstrong, Robinson also commonly fought bigger men. Robinson weighed 139 when stepped and beat Fritzie Zivic who weighed 145, 144 when he first beat 160 pound Jake Lamotta and 157 when he fought Joey Maxim for the light heavyweight crown. Where as Armstrong's greatness was limited to a very short duration of time, Robinson enjoyed a 14 to 15 year period during which he was arguably the best fighter in the sport.

Sorry for the monolithic run on paragraph, the above was sent from cell phone while driving in heavy Las Vegas traffic. Phone Post

i once read that armstrong had a heart anomaly where between rounds his heart would relax and he was basically never tired. like his cardio reset at the beginng of every round

Good repsonses

Yeah I think that was it. Heard it years ago and in recent years I think I have got that fact mixed up with Carmen Basilio

martinburke - 
pharochuck - i once read that armstrong had a heart anomaly where between rounds his heart would relax and he was basically never tired. like his cardio reset at the beginng of every round

iirc, his heart was about twice the size of a normal one.

If that's true, Armstrong was on cruise control while the other guy was fighting on the very edge of cardiovascular output.

That just ain't fair.

just think, many guys now just simply try and weather the storm against high output guys and finish them later. there's no weathering the storm against a guy who essentially starts every round fresh

I still have yet to see Armstrong's fight with Beau Jack, I realize that Henry was on the backside of his career by the time that that fight took place, but I have always wanted to watch it simply to marvel at the pace that those two guys must have fought at.

Regardless, thanks for posting them, I have shown those stats to numerous people over the years. I am interested to know why that book was attached by the garv and other people that you referred to. Phone Post

of those great lightweights, where do you have chavez and whitaker?

I hate Whitaker too. But George Benton taught him well.

Whitaker was a brilliant fighter.

martinburke - I love to watch Robinson, but I put Armstrong above him. Armstrong fought bigger men, and fought them by coming at them.

In Armstrong's era, there were really only 8 world titles. The junior division titles were about as respected as the NABF title today. And Armstrong should have held 4 of the 8 titles simultaneously. He lost to Ambers because 5 rounds were taken from him due to low blows, and he beat Ceferino Garcia only to get a draw in a crooked fight.

Only Greb can compare to Armstrong in a pound for pound sense.

Agreed sir. Harry Greb my all time fav. Old mongoose once said this about Harry.. " when you fight Greb, you fight for your life " from a man as amazing as Armstrong that's quite a compliment. Phone Post

No. Its insane. What an amazing fighter.

Martin, why do you hate Whitaker?

Fair enough. Still, an excellent fighter.