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v2 G.O.A.T The Last 16 Group 1

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Please vote for the participant you believe has achieved the most in sport

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Total Votes : 76
 
 
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Post by MtotheC Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:24 pm

The final two groups of round 2 played out yesterday and group 7 proved to be an extremely close encounter between the eventual two qualifiers Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky who both secured 27 votes each. Elsewhere in the tournament Mohammed Ali progressed as group 8 winner with 52% of the vote closely followed by Don Bradman who also makes the last 16 with 33% of the vote.

We kick off the last 16 today with a blockbuster group of legends from tennis, boxing, athletics and cricket.

Please vote for the participant you believe has achieved the most in sport

Please leave a comment as to why you voted.

MtotheC
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Post by MtotheC Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:26 pm

Roger Federer- Tennis- Championed by emancipator

"2001, Wimbledon Centre Court; defending and seven time Wimbledon champion 'Pistol' Pete Sampras, the man who had reigned at the top of men's tennis for close to a decade and considered by many to be unbeatable on this hallowed turf is at crisis point. At two sets all, 5-6 and 15-40 down in the deciding set, the ruthlessly efficient Sampras is facing match point.

It had been five years since anyone had managed to beat him in this tournament. His opponent a relatively unknown challenger in the form of Swiss teenager, 19 year old Roger Federer, is considered to be a prodigious but erratic talent. He seems to have all the shots but doesn't know quite how to put them together. His temperament has also been questionable. Today, however, things appear to be different. For nearly four hours the two protagonists have battled. To the surprise of the enthralled on lookers it was Federer who took the opening set. But Sampras hit back as any great champion is expected to do. The audience fully expected him to motor on and over power the youngster, except, as the match wore on, it appeared as if the Swiss was the one getting stronger, whilst Sampras appeared more and more uneasy. By the time the match score had reached two sets all, the tension had become palpable. The Centre Court crowd knew that there were no longer any favourites in this match; this would be a dog-fight, survival of the fittest - and the bravest; reputations would count for nothing.

On countless occasions throughout his career Sampras had bailed himself out of tight spots with his booming, swerving, pin-point accurate serve; the serve universally acclaimed as the greatest in history. He wipes sweat from his brow, places the ball against the racket, looks up, coils himself into the releasing position, then with a seamlessly fluid motion he serves a missile out wide to Federer's forehand and charges towards the net. Federer takes a step towards the ball and unleashes a forehand that whizzes past Sampras for a clean winner. He crumples to his knees in disbelief and celebration. A split-second of silence is followed by an eruption as the Centre Court crowd rise as one to salute a new King. The BBC commentator proclaims the birth of a new star. It is indeed the dawn of a new era.. The Federer era.

Looking back it was a poignant moment in sporting history. The one occasion on which the two greatest champions of the modern era were to play each other, and as fate would have it, on the court most beloved to either of them. It was a reminder of days gone by and a harbinger of those yet to come.

It would be another couple of years before Federer would really hit the heights, and what heights! 17 grand slams from 24 finals, including 7 Wimbledon titles. Over 300 weeks as the number one player in the world, including 237 consecutive weeks at the top spot. 6 World Tour Final victories from 8 finals. 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals; 34 consecutive grand slam quarter finals (and counting); a run of 24 consecutive finals victories in all tournaments, 65 consecutive match wins on grass, 56 consecutive match wins on hardcourt, five consecutive Wimbledon and US Open titles, a run of 18 grand slam finals out of 19 grand slam tournaments played, 21 masters titles.. and on and on.. all of them records, many of them by a considerable distance. There are at least half a dozen Wikipedia articles dedicated to the career achievements and compiled statistics/records of Roger Federer. Peruse them at your own leisure - if you've got a few days to spare that is

But what makes Federer really stand out amongst the legends of tennis and indeed any sport is his unique game. Everything about his game is beautiful, everything is seemingly effortless. He glides around the court unhurried, with uncanny footwork and balletic grace. A sixth sense for being at the right place at the right time. He plays with perfect technique. Like an artist, Federer creates masterpieces; the court is his canvas. At heart, he is an attacking player who plays the game the right way; always looking to seize the initiative, to hit outright winners, to win spectacularly and brilliantly. He can hit every shot in the book. But he can also grind and play great defense. If it is so required he can switch to plan b, c, d, whatever it takes. In a sport dominated by super athletes, Federer at his peak was as fast and durable as they come. Modern tennis is played predominantly from the baseline (a stark contrast to the tennis of Sampras's heydey which was mainly serve and volley based, with the majority of points won at the net) and Roger Federer can play the baseline game as well as anyone. But he can do so much more. He can mix spins and slices, lobs and dropshots, powerful winners and delicate touch, from the back of the court or at the net. It is this unique fusion of power, skill and aesthetic grace, that has captured the imagination of millions of fans around the world. Federer doesn't just win, he wins with style.

When Federer established himself as the number one player in the world in late 2003 people were already starting to whisper about this potential phenomenon. He emerged from a group of fantastically talented youngsters: Safin, Hewitt, Ferrero, Nalbandian, Roddick, Haas, to establish himself as THE man to beat. As the years rolled by he gathered steam, and the initial curiosity that follows the emergence of any great talent - the excitement of thinking about all the possibilites - was replaced by amazement then incredulity and finally awe. As Andre Agassi said, 'Federer was the guy who came and took the game light years ahead.' He looked like something from the future. The American media even dubbed him 'Darth Federer' (in reference to his super-natural gifts and black clothing) at the 2007 US Open. More than anything else, the Roger Federer phenomenon turned the sport of tennis, which had been suffering a slump in popularity following the years of serve dominated play, into one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. He was and remains to this day, although not to the same extent, a phenom. Or as David Foster Wallace wrote in the New York Times:

""Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws. Good analogues here include Michael Jordan, who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces. Particularly in the all-white that Wimbledon enjoys getting away with still requiring, he looks like what he may well (I think) be: a creature whose body is both flesh and, somehow, light."" http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (By the way - this article by Wallace entitled 'Roger Federer as religious experience' is a great read)

Federer's style and success has allowed him to transcend the sport in a way that few sportsmen in history can match. He is a record four time winner of the prestigious Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award. In a recent poll conducted across 25 countries with 51,000 participants he was voted as the second most trusted person in the world after Nelson Mandela. During the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, Federer received the loudest cheer of the night when he carried the Swiss flag into the stadium https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddojLWIjKK4 At the London Olympics Federer's pre-Olympic presser had more than 700 journalists, more than any other star at the games. He was mobbed by crowds during his recent tour of South America with political and sporting dignitaries (including Pele and Maradonna) feting him. He has the most impressive endorsement portfolio in all of sports including blue chip companies such as Nike, Mercedes-Benz (global ambassador), Wilson, Rolex, Credite Suisse, Gillette, Moet & Chandon etc.

But despite all the accolades Federer has remained a likeable, down to earth person. His fellow tennis professionals have voted him the winner of the annual Steffan Edberg Sportsmanship award a record eight times. He is the President of the ATP players council and in this capacity has campaigned for the benefit of all the players on the tour, including negotiating a fairer distribution of prize money for players who lose in the earlier rounds of the slams. The Roger Federer foundation is a charitable organisation with the stated mission of empowering children through education; it is involved in numerous projects throughout Africa.

It is incredible that with so many distractions (he's married with two young children to boot) Federer has still managed to stay at the top of such a global and competitive sport. As things stand he is the number 2 ranked player in the world and indeed was, just a few short months ago, the number one player in the world. Tennis has traditionally been a young man's sport but Roger Federer has redefined the parameters. I firmly believe that Federer is one of the outstanding candidates for the greatest sportsman of all time accolade. He fits all of the criteria: a sporting phenomenon, unmatched in his sport, an incredible record in a globally competitive sport which is both physical and skill-based, a global sporting icon who is one of the most popular sportsmen on the planet and a great role model, who plays hard but fair. But of course the Federer story is not over yet. He has declared his intention to play until the 2016 Olympic Games. There may yet be a few more pages to add to Wikipedia


Some quotes:

""[In the modern game], you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist ... or you're Roger Federer"" - Jimmy Connors

""He is the most naturally talented player I have ever seen in my life"" - John McEnroe

""He moves like a whisper and executes like a wrecking ball"" - Nick Bollettieri (legendary tennis coach)

""He is the most perfect machine I have ever seen playing tennis"" - Diego Maradonna

""Federer is capable of playing shots that other players don't even think of"" - Ivan Lendl

""We are witnessing history. This is the most dominant athlete on planet earth today"" - Jim Courier (4 time grand slam champion)

""Federer is the best player in history - no other player has ever had so much quality"" - Rafael Nadal

""Roger's got too many shots, too much talent in one body. It's hardly fair that one person can do all this—his backhands, his forehands, volleys, serving, his court position. The way he moves around the court, you feel like he's barely touching the ground. That's the sign of a great champion."" - Rod Laver

""He's the best I've ever played against. There's nowhere to go. There's nothing to do except hit fairways, hit greens and make putts. Every shot has that sort of urgency on it. I've played a lot of them [other players], so many years; there's a safety zone, there's a place to get to, there's something to focus on, there's a way. Anything you try to do, he potentially has an answer for and it's just a function of when he starts pulling the triggers necessary to get you to change to that decision."" - Andre Agassi

""He's a real person. He's not an enigma. Off the court he's not trying to be somebody. If you met him at McDonald's and you didn't know who he was, you would have no idea that he's one of the best athletes in the world"" - Andy Roddick

""Today I was playing my best tennis, trying lots of different things, but nothing worked. When you're playing like that and he still comes up with all those great shots you really have to wonder if he's even from the same planet"" - Novak Djokovic

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Post by MtotheC Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:27 pm

Sugar Ray Robinson- Boxing- Championed by superflyweight

"Let’s start at the beginning for the man almost universally recognised as pound for pound, the greatest boxer who ever lived. Walker Smith Junior was born 3rd May 1921 and following his family's move to New York, started boxing in a local Harlem gym. At 14 he wanted to enter a tournament and in order to circumvent the age restrictions (the minimum age was 16) he borrowed his older friend's Amateur Athletic Union card. His friend's name was Ray Robinson. The ""Sugar"" (a reference to his ""sweet style"") came later but from the moment he borrowed his friend's identity, a legend was born.

Robinson quickly went about putting together an outstanding amateur C.V. eventually racking up a record of 85 wins with no defeats. 69 of those wins were via knockout and 40 of those came in the first round. He was Golden Gloves featherweight champion in 1939 and then lightweight champion in 1940.

Turning pro in 1940 at the age of just 19, Robinson quickly went about making a name for himself, comprehensively beating current lightweight champion, Sammy Angott (who had refused to put his belt on the line) in just his 21st fight and then twice defeating (the second via a stoppage) the experienced master of the dark arts and former welterweight champion, Fritzie Zivic. A few fights later he won an unanimous decision against future middleweight great, Jake La Motta who outweighed Sugar that night by almost 13lbs (two whole weight classes in today's fight scene). Robinson was no protected fighter and fights against Angott, Zivic and La Motta as well as other tough, experienced opponents (including an ageing Henry Armstrong who is often regarded as the second greatest boxer who ever lived), represents a tough induction for a young fighter who was a relative novice. Despite this tough induction, it wasn't until his 40th fight that Robinson tasted defeat, losing a decision in his second fight against La Motta who outweighed him by 16lbs that night.

How did Robinson react to that defeat? He went unbeaten for the next 8 years winning 91 fights in the process defeating La Motta another 4 times along the way. Across their 6 fights, La Motta (who was a top drawer and very tough middleweight who would go on to win the middleweight title from the great Marcel Cerdan) outweighed Robinson by an average of 12lbs.

During that run of 91 victories, Robinson eventually won the welterweight title in 1946 at the age of 25 (boxing politics (in the form of the notorious Mob run, International Boxing Club) had kept him away from the title). Having amassed a record of 75 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat, Robinson was allowed to compete for the vacant welterweight world title, triumphing with a unanimous decision over Tommy Bell. Finally, the man everyone knew was the best welterweight on the planet, had the belt that was rightfully his. Robinson remained undefeated as welterweight champion until he vacated the belt in 1950. During his reign he notched up wins against fellow welterweight great and future champion, Kid Gavilan before increasing problems making the 147lbs weight limit had Sugar setting his sights on the middleweight division.

Robinson won the middleweight title from La Motta in the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre which features prominently in the film Raging Bull. La Motta was stopped in brutal fashion in the 13th (the only legitimate stoppage of the legendary granite chinned, La Motta in 95 fights) and Robinson was champion at a second weight. Robinson subsequently went on a valedictory tour of Europe (fighting in various European cities against European opponents) which by all accounts was little more than one long party. Robinson turned up in the UK slightly worse for wear and somewhat undercooked and lost his title to Britain's own Randy Turpin having been outpointed over 15 rounds. Robinson immediately won the title back from Turpin, stopping him in the 10th round when behind on the cards. Robinson then defended the title a further twice against future champion, Bobo Olsen and former champion Rocky Graziano.

Having successfully defended his middleweight title, Robinson immediately turned his attention to Joey Maxim’s light heavyweight title. Against a very fine light heavyweight in Maxim and operating in a division way above his welterweight peak, Robinson was well ahead on all of the cards when he failed to emerge for the 14th round due to heat exhaustion. The fight had been held outdoors at Yankee Stadium in New York in sweltering heat and humidity and in the end it proved too much for Sugar. Following that defeat, Robinson immediately announced his first retirement from the sport.

Robinson stayed retired for 2 and a ½ years before returning at middleweight to take the title back from Bobo Olsen (via a 2nd round knockout) at the age of 34. His form on his return was patchy – he would lose the title three times (regaining it twice) but it was in this run of fights that contained Robinson’s greatest and perhaps most famous moment in the ring. At the age of 35 and up against the formidable champion Gene Fullmer (a man who had already beaten Robinson convincingly in their previous fight), Robinson was just about holding his own and then in the 5th round unleashed what many consider to be the greatest knockout punch of all time. Robinson hit Fullmer with a lightning quick left hook to the jaw which sent Gene plummeting to the floor. The fight was over in an instant and Robinson was middleweight champion for the fourth time. How good was the punch? Judge for yourself in the video below and consider that Fullmer had never been off his feet in any fight until that point and was considered iron jawed. Here’s what Fullmer had to say about it – “I still don’t know anything about the punch except I watched it on movies a number of times. The first thing I knew, I was standing up. I asked my manager, ‘What happened?’ and he said, ‘They counted ten.’”

Robinson would lose and win back the title once more and then would fail in a couple of more title challenges. However, he was long past his best by this point and pushing 40. Unfortunately Robinson (driven by a need to keep earning money) would fight on for many more years and would tarnish his record by losing to men who would not have been fit to get in the ring with him at his peak. This should not detract from how good he was. If we consider him only at his peak (generally recognised as being everything up to , but not including the Joey Maxim fight), he amassed a record of 128 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats. Just incredible numbers made more incredible by the names on his record. Robinson defeated 10 Hall of Famer’s in his career; Jake Lamotta, Sammy Angott, Fritzie Zivic, Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan, Rocky Graziano, Randy Turpin, Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio.

The following description of Robinson is by Monte Cox and is taken from the excellent website “Cox’s Corner” and it describes Robinson better than I ever could:

“What other fighter could beat you more ways than could Sugar Ray Robinson? Ray could out box boxers and out punch punchers. He could do it inside or outside, going forward or backward. Ray could do it with his powerful left hook as he did against Gene Fullmer or with his perfect straight right as he did against Rocky Graziano. Joe Louis could throw triple left hooks with speed, power and accuracy that could destroy a man. Robinson could throw triple left hooks and triple right hooks that could do the same. Who else could do that and maintain frightening power?... Ray Robinson was the archetype of a complete fighter. If one combines his polished, grand boxing style with his powerful punching and cast iron chin with a will to win unsurpassed in the annals of boxing one has a perfect fighter.

“To sum it up, Robinson was the consummate professional fighter who possessed every physical asset; speed, agility, mobility, and tremendous punching power. He rates among a select few of the all time greats who could defeat fighters using their own best assets against them. Robinson, a true sharpshooter, easily rates among the best pound for pound punchers in history. Robinson is possibly the greatest combination puncher of all time. His quality of opposition is among the top five. Ray’s peak won-loss record is among the top three. Ray’s overall ring record and accomplishments also rate among the top three. Robinson is among the top five of all time in the category of longevity. Ray had all the intangibles, great experience, killer instinct, a tremendous chin and heart.”

Let’s finish by looking at what his fellow greats had to say about him:

“Someone once said there was a comparison between Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. Believe me, there's no comparison. Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest.""
Sugar Ray Leonard

“The king, the master, my idol.”
“That man was beautiful. Timing, speed, reflexes, rhythm, his body, everything was beautiful. And to me, still, I would say pound for pound...I'd say I'm the greatest heavyweight of all time, but pound for pound, I still say Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest of all time.”
Muhammad Ali

Quite simply, Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest boxer who ever lived and operated the peak of one of the toughest sports for a period of more than 20 years. He is regarded as far and away the greatest welterweight who ever lived (ahead of men like Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Jose Naploles) and most observers have him in their top 5 middleweights. He had great talent, he faced and beat the best and he reigned at the top for an incredible period of time. In short, he was the complete sportsman!

"

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Post by MtotheC Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:28 pm

Usain Bolt- Track & Field- Championed by ChequeredJersey

"Usain Bolt

In the eternal discussions about the greatest ever in any category, most of the argument is based on subjective opinion backed up by a few selected stats rather than fact. Sport is no exception especially as finding absolute comparisons between different sports is impossible. One man though, we can give specific facts about.

Over the accepted minimum distance, he is the fastest man in the world and in recorded history, running 100m in a ridiculous 9.58 seconds. He also holds the 2nd fastest time, 2 other world records at the distance, the most times a man has broken the 10s barrier and 2 Olympic Gold Medals won with incredible ease and seeming lack of effort. In a 150m run (at which he also holds the World's best time), he ran the last 100m in 8.70 seconds, the fastest recorded 100m run in any context by a human being, at over 40km/hour. If he hits a child, there is a 40% chance they will live

In the 200m, he holds the world record of 19.19. He set the record before that, beating one that many thought could stand for ever when Johnson set it, at the 2008 Olympic games. He won the double gold in the 100m/200m twice in a row. Michael Johnson calls him the GOAT. He can probably run a fantastic 400m, long jump and was offered to play for Manchester United, the most marketable Football brand in the world. He hit Chris Gayle, one of the best allrounder cricketers playing today, for 6 in an exhibition match and clean bowled him! He shares the 4x100m WR with his Jamaican team-mates as well as Gold in that event.

He has , at 26 years of age, 6 Olympic Golds, World Records in every race he competes in, 5 WC golds and 2 silvers, and numerous other medals. Bolt is one of only eight athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.He was the youngest junior gold medallist ever.

Beyond sport itself, he is the face of and the rejuvenation of athletics and the Olympics. Known throughout the world, the most famous man from his Nation. He has inspired millions to try athletics with his youthful approach and joy.He was the main draw and the star of the London 2012 games, the most viewed sporting event in recorded history. Countless times the sporting icon of the year. Fastest man on Earth.

I genuinely dislike Bolt, I find him arrogant and inconsiderate of others in his demeanour before, during an after races. One of the most amazing things about him is that he could clearly run much faster if he tried throughout the race, he could train much harder in his own admission, he could do other events, he slows down towards the finish line if he can get away with it, he ate chicken nuggets before winning Gold on Beijing. Still untouchable. His technique is poor, especially his start. Doesn't matter. He is in a league of his own. Despite my dislike of his attitude, I can still accept that he gas inspired many and is a positive factor for his sport and sport in general. Despite disliking him, I can still say he is probably one of, if not the only, GOAT"

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Post by MtotheC Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:29 pm

Don Bradman- Cricket- Championed by Fists of fury

"Sir Donald Bradman
Australia
Test record: 6,996 runs in 80 innings at an average of 99.94 (29 centuries)

It is a rare phenomenon indeed where an individual can be undisputedly and universally acknowledged as the finest to have ever participated in a sport. It is rarer still for that individual to be recognised as the greatest there ever will be, despite seemingly no human being beyond Mystic Meg and the recently unmasked Eric Bristow possessing the gift of foresight.

For Pele, there is Maradona. For Nicklaus, there is Woods. For ‘The Don’, there is no rival. He stands alone.

Such are the statistics of Donald George Bradman. Plying his trade throughout the 1930’s and 40’s in the famous ‘baggy green’ of Australia, Bradman compiled a record almost twice as formidable as anyone else in the history of Test cricket. In a sport harking back to 1877, that is an astonishing feat. Bradman’s final Test average of 99.94 grows all the more impressive when you consider that the widely recognised barometer for a modern batsman attaining greatness is, in comparison, a mere 50. For a sportsman to be so far afield of his predecessors, contemporaries and successors is surely unique.

Perhaps indicative of the supremacy asserted almost every time The Don walked to the crease, former Australia captain Bill Woodfull proclaimed Bradman to be “worth three batsmen to Australia.” Where a team scoring 300 in one day is classed as operating at a fairly brisk pace, Bradman once single handedly made 309 on the first day of a Test against England at Headingley. Such dominance of bat over ball was unusually rare in the age of uncovered pitches, and remains so in today’s comparatively batsman friendly era.

Despite being the holder of records that will likely never be challenged in anger, let alone broken, statistics are but one facet of what makes a great sportsman. It often takes a truly inspirational individual to transcend the sport within which they participate. Much as Muhammad Ali transcended the sport of boxing, Don Bradman transcended cricket. Bradman emerged during a period of great economic hardship in Australia, and through the sheer force of his on-field performances it is said gave happiness and hope to a populace in the midst of depression.

You can't tell youngsters today of the attraction of the fellow. I mean, business used to stop in the town when Bradman was playing and likely to go in - all the offices closed, the shops closed; everybody went up to see him play. – England bowler Bill Bowes, 1983

Bradman would go on to exhibit a further trait of any world class sportsman: success in the face of adversity. After scoring an extraordinary 974 runs at an average of 139.14 in the 1930 Ashes tour of England, Bradman was infamously targeted by hostile and aggressive ‘Bodyline’ bowling during the 1932-33 return series in Australia – a theory designed with the sole intention of taking Bradman’s wicket, whereby the English fast bowlers would deliberately target the body of the batsman with a packed leg-side cordon of fielders lying in wait – The Don was almost rendered mortal with a series average of 56.57 (still a world class average by anyone’s standards). It was his own controversial tactic of combating bodyline by backing away and hitting the ball in an unorthodox manner in to the vacant off-side that won Bradman plaudits for attempting to find a solution to Bodyline.

It should be noted that, despite the whole of Australia being in uproar over the “vicious and unsporting” tactics employed by the English captain Douglas Jardine, and despite his own misgivings, Bradman conducted himself with dignity throughout and fought the onslaught in the way he knew best – by scoring runs. ‘Bodyline’, or ‘fast leg theory’ as it was also known, would later be outlawed.

Somewhat ironically, and perhaps unfortunately, the great Don Bradman is as much remembered for his final innings than the unsurpassed genius that had carved a path of destruction through the cricketing world wielding but a plank of willow in the preceding years. Striding to the crease at The Oval in 1948, Bradman required a mere 4 runs from his final Test innings to ensure an overall perfect Test average of 100. Whether through the emotion stirred in The Don through the adulation of the English crowd and opponents as he walked out that day (as much cheers of relief that his utter dominion over England’s bowlers was nearing an end, perhaps?), or the cricketing Gods inflicting a cruel twist of fate as if to reclaim the immortality they had lent him, Bradman was bowled for a duck by Warwickshire leg-spinner Eric Hollies, thus ending his career with that infamous average of 99.94 – a now magical figure in its own right. It will never be bettered.

Next to Mr. Winston Churchill, he was the most celebrated man in England during the summer of 1948. His appearances throughout the country were like one continuous farewell matinée. A miracle has been removed from among us. So must ancient Italy have felt when she heard of the death of Hannibal – cricket writer R.C. Robertson-Glasgow upon Bradman’s retirement, 1949

Sir Donald Bradman died in February of 2001 aged 92. It would have come as a surprise to many that he failed to get out of the 90’s. There are numerous others with a rightful claim to being the greatest sportsman that ever lived, but in Bradman there has surely never been another so superior to their peers. A genius, an icon and a gentleman; The Don satisfies all of the criteria.

Sir Donald George Bradman was, without any question, the greatest phenomenon in the history of cricket, indeed in the history of all ball games. – Wisden Almanack"

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:52 pm

It's getting down to the big guns now. Will have to vote for Bradman again.
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Post by VTR Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:18 pm

Bradman. I kind of see this as the battle of the v2 boards, Tennis vs Boxing vs Cricket, who can get the most numbers onto here.

Think Federer might win this as the man-love for him on the Tennis board is beyond worrying.

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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:44 pm

There is one clear weak link in this group and he seems to be winning, Bradman has no place alongside the greatest boxer, the greatest tennis player and the greatest sprinter.

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Post by hjumpshoe Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:48 pm

Tough group this, 4 absolute legends going head to head. Going for Fed today purely because he's given me personally the most entertainment. Never saw SRR or The Don live obviously and only really see Bolt at the major champs. Crap reason maybe but its all i got!!!

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:59 pm

Honestly wouldn't grumble at anyone's pick for this - it's a phenomenal group. Can make claims for all of them but I've edged Bradman ahead by a whisker. Further ahead of his all-time rivals in his discipline than the others are in theirs, I reckon, and also helped by the fact that, despite sixty-five years passing since his international retirement, still nobody has managed to even get close to him. Perhaps the records of Federer, Bolt (and Robinson's consensus place as the greatest boxer of the lot) will still all be intact in sixty-five years time as well, but we can't be sure of that. No such problem for Bradman. The only mark against him is that cricket isn't as physically challenging a sport as boxing, tennis or sprinting, but if that doesn't disquality the likes of Nicklaus and Woods in golf, then it can't be the end of the Don's claim either.
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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:01 pm

Bradman was also a scratch golfer and beat the world billiard champion.....at billiards.
People also said that he could have played pro tennis, had he given it time.
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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:02 pm

Bradman over Robinson is madness, he's a god damn cricketer have people gone insane?

As far as cricketers go anyway i'd take the all round ability of Sobers over Bradman every single day, a man who stands on the same spot all day swinging a bat around is one of the all time greats, dear oh dear.

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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:22 pm

So 3 of my top 5 of all time GOATS are in this alongside my top boxer!

Erm


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Post by guildfordbat Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:24 pm

An exceptionally strong foursome. Gone for The Don. His supreme and enduring dominance with the bat wins the day.

Stella - it didn't influence my vote but it's hugely impressive that Bradman beat the world champ at billiards. Back then, billiards was a very highly regarded game.

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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:26 pm

Anyway.

Begrudgingly I choose FED.

A sportsman in a global sport that strikes the perfect balance between fitness and skill. As much as I want to choose Sir DON , I cant do it

Bolt is the ultimate athlete , but his sport lets him down in this case.


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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:27 pm

Stella wrote:Bradman was also a scratch golfer and beat the world billiard champion.....at billiards.
People also said that he could have played pro tennis, had he given it time.

Hey you what!!

This could influence my vote.

he is a legend!


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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:28 pm

You're not a fan of cricket, Ghosty. We get it. I'm not a fan of cycling but I didn't blow my top and brand you insane when you were talking up Merckx a while back.

Bradman is more universally accepted as the greatest within his field than the other three candidates are in theirs (although if Bolt can remain injury free for another couple of years he may well be challenging in that respect, as his ability is just out of this world). Lines like "a man who stands in the same spot all day swinging a bat around", if it's what you really view batting as, just shows that you don't have the necessary appreciation and knowledge of the skills required to be a top batsman to make an accurate judgement on Bradman's legacy as far as I'm concerned. There are varying skills and natural assets needed to succeed in all sports and cricket is no different.

Why do you need to act as if anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot all the time? Bradman's scored consistently well across this whole process, which suggests that maybe it's you who needs to slightly adjust your views on him, and not everyone else - unless of course everyone on here apart from you is "insane." As I said, you can make a case for all four of these men to top this group, so it's nothing to get in a twist over if your favourites don't do so.

We're not talking about Eddie the Eagle, David Beckham or Duncan Goodhew here: Bradman's been revered as a sporting giant for decades upon decades.

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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:30 pm

"Eddie the Eagle, David Beckham or Duncan Goodhew"


That's a bit harsh pal..












On Eddie the Eagle Whistle

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Post by barragan Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:38 pm

federer - a true modern great.

its a shame but the legends of today look like they are going to be up against it here when head to heading against the legends of yester-year.

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Post by dummy_half Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:42 pm

Well, I did the easy pick first. This one is a real battle of the big guns - I can make a viable case for each of the 4 deserving to go further, although given my sporting prejudices I think the cases for Federer and Bradman are stronger.

Bolt is already an historic figure - the first guy to repeat the 100m - 200m double at the Olympics, and someone who is redefining sprinting. Conventional wisdom said 'too tall for 100m', but he didn't just break the world record, he smashed it, and then (perhaps even more impressively) broke the outstanding 200m record. The concerns in the GOAT debate are whether at 26 he has peaked and also whether he has absolutely fulfilled his potential as an athlete. A true sporting icon of our time though, and someone who deserves serious consideration.

Sugar Ray Robinson - Well, those who know about boxing seem to have him as the consensus pick for the p4p all time greatest. Objectively, his record (excluding carrying on too long) shows him to have been a staggeringly good fighter, and the boxing fans keep making the subjective argument that the absolute standard of boxing in the mid 20th century was at least as good as the more recent era. My problem is that with having only seen a little footage of the man, and then in fights where he was considered past his best and fighting at middleweight (where he was less outstanding than his earlier welterweight career), it is difficult to understand quite how good he was.

Bradman - the stats are clear, that objectively he was the greatest sportsman of all time. I also think the statistic that was used (no of standard deviations ahead of the 'average' batsman) was misleadingly disadvantageous, because by including non-specialist batsmen the standard deviation was widened. Comparison with the next best batsmen give a better indication of his superiority: the next three best test batsmen average between 60 and 61, with a handful of others averaging between 56 and 60 - Bradman famously fell 4 runs short at the end of hs career of averaging 100.
The question regarding the relative strength of opponents does have some validity, in that the Don's international career was dominantly against England, and there is an argument that playing conditions of the 1930s made batting a little easier than in many subsquent eras (although there is an argument that the current era is even more batsman friendly) - however, the counter argument is why then is Bradman's average 165% of any of his contemporaries?

Federer - Objectively the finest record in men's tennis in the Open era, based on slam titles, finals, semi-finals and time at #1 in the rankings. Has been at or very close to the peak of the game for a decade, and indeed has been a fixture within the top 4 of the rankings since June 2003 and has been in the quarter final of the last 35 Grand Slam tournaments. All this success, and to many observers Federer is the most gifted player in the game - someone who on account of his skill and his fantastic footwork can make a difficult game look ridiculously easy.
If there is a weakness in the case for Federer as a serious contender for the 'all sport' GOAT, it would be his record against Nadal. The argument has 2 linked parts - firstly, Nadal is probably the finest ever clay court player, so has prevented Federer winning the French Open more than once (indeed Nadal has only lost one match at Roland Garos since his debut in 2005 for a current 52 - 1 win/loss record ) and secondly he holds a significant head to head advantage over Federer (currently 18-10 in Nadals favour overall, although the 12-2 h2h on clay skews the record somewhat). It should be noted that when considering head to heads, the way the style of the two opponents matches up is a big factor, and it has been argued that if you wanted to design a player to counter Federer, Nadal would be a very good start point - fast, great defensive skills, very low error count and with a very heavy topspin forehand that he can get high to Federer's single handed backhand (which as with almost all single handers is far better against low balls than those at shoulder height).

Really torn on this group - Bradman's statistical freakery against Federer's ability to play so gracefully and easily and yet still be staggeringly effective. Both would make my top 5, so it's really a thin decision.

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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:48 pm

Chris, i'm grammar school educated so played a fair bit of cricket in my youth, it was alongside rugby the sports we were pushed towards but from an athletic point of view and we have to consider such things when talking about sporting greats it's not that difficult. Bradman has his statistic which while impressive doesn't cut it when I compare his ability with that of Lara, Tendulkar or even Ponting, the sport has moved on a lot since the 1930's which can't be ignored.

Merckx had to cycle up and down mountains for 3 weeks at a time with sprints all over the place, that takes a level of fitness very few of you appreciate.

As far as grand tours go Merckx was the supreme all rounder
Robinson is the all round greatest boxer of all time
Usain Bolt is the fastest man to ever live
Federer is the greatest all round greatest tennis player

All four of them are simply better sportsmen than Bradman and you talk about him being a sporting giant well he is the world of cricket limited to the 3/4 countries who think of him that way.

Bradmans skill is akin to Merckx tactical excellence, being physically exhausted and knowing the exact moment to attack is superhuman, riding solo for 140km over 4 cols is unheard of.

Now i've cycled a fair bit and know exactly what it's like to ride up Mont Ventoux, aside from the physical exertion you have to keep your rhythm at all times, as soon as that starts to go you're in for a long hard time. I've played cricket a fair bit, i'm fortunate enough to have played against some pretty well known players thanks to my school so a comparison of the two sports is quite easy for me.

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:51 pm

Hasn't boxing not improved since Robinson's day?
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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:55 pm

I would personally say it's regressed quite a bit since the 50's and 60's, less boxers boxing less make it quite unique in sport. Participation levels tend to keep going up but in boxing they keep going down.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:56 pm

Imperial Ghosty wrote:Chris, i'm grammar school educated so played a fair bit of cricket in my youth, it was alongside rugby the sports we were pushed towards but from an athletic point of view and we have to consider such things when talking about sporting greats it's not that difficult. Bradman has his statistic which while impressive doesn't cut it when I compare his ability with that of Lara, Tendulkar or even Ponting, the sport has moved on a lot since the 1930's which can't be ignored.

Merckx had to cycle up and down mountains for 3 weeks at a time with sprints all over the place, that takes a level of fitness very few of you appreciate.

As far as grand tours go Merckx was the supreme all rounder
Robinson is the all round greatest boxer of all time
Usain Bolt is the fastest man to ever live
Federer is the greatest all round greatest tennis player

All four of them are simply better sportsmen than Bradman and you talk about him being a sporting giant well he is the world of cricket limited to the 3/4 countries who think of him that way.

Bradmans skill is akin to Merckx tactical excellence, being physically exhausted and knowing the exact moment to attack is superhuman, riding solo for 140km over 4 cols is unheard of.

Now i've cycled a fair bit and know exactly what it's like to ride up Mont Ventoux, aside from the physical exertion you have to keep your rhythm at all times, as soon as that starts to go you're in for a long hard time. I've played cricket a fair bit, i'm fortunate enough to have played against some pretty well known players thanks to my school so a comparison of the two sports is quite easy for me.

Why couldn't you have posted a reasonably well constructed argument like this first time round then, instead of posting something a 12 year old would be embarrassed by.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:57 pm

But a boxer's defence, tactical nouse must have got better? I'm sure the great Robinson would have harder fights these days.
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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:02 pm

The best defensive fighter of all time in my opinion was Willie Pep and he fought primarily in the late 1940's, a great boxer is a great boxer regardless of when they fought. Mayweather, Jones and Pacquiao are as good as anyone from the 1950's but there's less of them.

Using the extreme case of Jake LaMotta, he was for all intents and purposes a face first brawler who relied on strength and toughness but he was very adept at rolling with the punches to take the sting out of them compare that to the modern day equivalent of Chavez jnr and he's a fairly stationary target.

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:11 pm

But people are bigger and stronger, these days. A fighter from 70 years ago would have had to deal with that as well.

Robinson may have been the best then, but you could argue that he wouldn't be so dominant now.
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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:11 pm

You make good points there Ghosty, and don't get me wrong, I didn't bring Merckx up as an attempt to rubbish his claims, just to underline that we all have our differences of opinion and all have different ideas as to what is more important when determining who is a greater sportsman than whoever else.

Was Merckx a fitter man than Bradman? Hell yes. Fitness and how physically challenging a sport is plays a part but not everyone is going to have it high up in their list of priorities. Just about all the footballers on show in the Premiership today will be in better physical nick than Bradman and they play a more physcially demanding sport, but I wouldn't put any of them higher than the Don.

I'd dispute that Bradman's actual abilities are put in the shade by those of Lara and Tendulkar, but that's besides the point. A test average of 50 was considered exceptional in the decades before Bradman and in the subsequent decades since, so looking at it from a purely 'parameter' sense, Bradman remains a genuine one-off, whereas someone like Robinson could be viewed as possibly one of a few by someone who doesn't follow boxing that closely.

I'm not disputing you picking someone other than Bradman as you know, just this idea that anyone who does plump for him should basically be told that they don't know what they're talking about.
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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:14 pm

My concern with Merckx is that if he is up then so should Armstrong. Both proved to be drug cheats. But merckx was in a bygone era where we didnt care as much abot drug cheats

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:16 pm

Merckx was a drug cheat? What is he doing in this poll then?
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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:17 pm

Yep he was tested positive on at least 4 occasions!

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:19 pm

Blimey! A drug GOAT then.
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Post by mystiroakey Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:20 pm

"He tested positive at least FOUR times... He got kicked out of a Giro d'Italia (which leading for 16 stages in '69), after winning Lombardia in '73, at Fleche Wallone in '75, then in '77 for amphetamines... not at a specific race to my knowledge.

So four positives tests over 8 years, in a time when testing was in its infancy. He had excuses, reasons, stories, etc like every other cyclist.
"



this is a qoute from a poster of another forum- dont qoute me 100% on this.. but i am sure many fans on here know that and can validaate it- even if they want to excuse it~!

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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:24 pm

This is meant to be a sporting all time great, can you honestly say Bradman is the greatest sportsmen on this list?

I personally think the last 16 is about right for him and it's harsh to judge him based on the bodyline series but that suggests to me his average would be about the 56/57 mark if he had to face the aggressive snarling bowling of Ambrose, Holding, Marshall. Australia were also the premier team of the time so how does he cope if he's the position of either Chanderpaul or Dravid coming out to bat with your team in trouble time after time. I would take Dravid over Tendulkar for instance as he did arguably have more pressure on him, he was expected to be one to get his team out of trouble as was Chanderpaul. The pair of them shouldered a lot of the pressure for their more illustrious counterparts in Lara and Tendulkar.

For want of a better word Bradman was a flat track bully in the mould of Lara, harsh at is I wouldn't have him in the top ten of the past 20 years.

Stella, a 147lb man is a 147lb man whether it's in the 1940's or the 2000's, I would have very little doubt that Robinson would dominate the recent Welterweight division, Pacquiao and Mayweather are too small and lacking in top level power at the weight to trouble him. Up at middleweight there's no Fullmer or Basilio type to give him nightmares. Martinez doesn't have the style to trouble him and his hands down defence would be picked apart.

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Post by Diggers Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:30 pm

Ive gone Bolt, I think he is further ahead in his field than the others are in theirs with the exception of Bradman, but I think there are caveats that have to be accepted when looking at him and his stats.
Tough group though.

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:32 pm

People are faster now, so I'd imagine, stronger as well.

As for Bradman.

England were the dominant team until Bradman came along. Then the ashes changed hands a few times, so no, the Aussies were not the premier team, and if they were, it was mainly down to him.

As for the flat track bully tag. Neither were. Lara took on the best, and won on a few occasions. McGrath, Murali and Warne will testify to that.
As for The Don. He had no weakness against any type of bowling, or on any pitch. The man was a freak.
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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:41 pm

The only Ashes series lost was the bodyline series was it not?

Some are faster and some are stronger but that doesn't mean everybody is quicker and stronger, boxing is all about utilising skill with the aid of athletic ability. Being quicker isn't much use if your simply not as good. Pacquiao and Mayweather are both probably quicker than Robinson but on the flip side they're less skillful, less tough, less powerful and less adaptable. Henry Armstrong could throw punches relentlessly for 15 rounds something most struggle to do over 12 rounds now.

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:46 pm

Yeah, you're right, although England won in 29, when Bradman made his debut, and there was a drawn series and tbh, both teams were pretty evenly matched, bar 1948.
One man was the difference, in truth, and we both know who that is.
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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:50 pm

Sutcliffe and Hobbs coming to the end of their test careers also played a fairly significant part in that too.

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Post by Stella Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:56 pm

True, but Hammond was coming into his peak, and then there was Larwood and co, who took a right hammering off Bradman's bat.

The thing with Bradman also, was that he scored runs in such quick fashion, which was not the done thing in the timeless test day. Trumper scored quickly but not close to the amount of Bradman, and a few others.
You mentioned 'flat tarck bully' but Bradman, apparently never got really motivated when playing against counties, league XI's. He saved his best for the test arena.
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Post by Diggers Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:58 pm

Imperial Ghosty wrote:

Pacquiao and Mayweather are both probably quicker than Robinson but on the flip side they're less skillful, less tough, less powerful and less adaptable. Henry Armstrong could throw punches relentlessly for 15 rounds something most struggle to do over 12 rounds now.

With all due respect thats just your opinion, from the footage Ive seen I wouldnt consider SRR to be anymore skillful than PBF or indeed anymore adaptable.
You may well be right but in boxing the only true comparaitive measure would be to get them in the ring. To a degree we dont actually know just how good PBF is, Im sure SRR would have asked a lot of questions, who knows whether he could have answered them.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:05 pm

Bradman

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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:06 pm

The difficult thing with Robinson is that there is no footage of him at his absolute best only of him as a middleweight even then it took men as good as Basilio and Fullmer to get the better of him, Turpin always get brought up but that's no different to the troubles Castillo caused Mayweather. Robinsons defining moment was in fact a losing one when giving away 16lbs he thoroughly outboxed Joey Maxim before succumbing to heat exhaustion. I can't think of many former lightweights who would be able to do that to a great light heavyweight.

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Post by Diggers Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:17 pm

Robinso grew into quite a decent sized middle though didnt he, he was about 5 11 so back in the 40's wel above average height. He must have been a total rake at lightweight.

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Post by Imperial Ghosty Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:38 pm

Robinson was a reasonably sized middleweight but never a particularly big one but when you consider that he's the consensus greatest of all time and his legend could have been even greater were it not for two things out of his control. He thoroughly outboxes the current lightweight champion who refuses to put his title on the line and then 10 years later 40lbs higher outboxes the current light heavyweight champion before succumbing to heat exhaustion. You have a two weight 6 time world champion who could easily and feasibly have been a four weight world champion.

To put that into context that spans 7 modern day weight classes where he would have been the lineal undisputed universally recognised champion in four spanning 40lbs, you don't do that without having a supreme level of skill. Mayweather for his brilliance has world titles in 5 with I believe 2 lineal titles spanning 24lbs. Obviously Robinson didn't quite achieve that but it was by the smallest of measures that he failed.

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Post by cherriesfna Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:19 am

Robinson looks like hes going out......
again...
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Post by Mad for Chelsea Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:29 am

Between Bradman and Federer: Bradman takes it for the sheer level of dominance he displayed over his peers and indeed any who have come since. SRR is very unlucky to miss out as he makes my top 10 most days and my top 8 about half the time, but in Bradman and Federer he comes up against two guys who are nailed on in my top 3.

Bolt may one day belong in this company, but right now he doesn't (also he's probably on drugs Run)

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Post by dummy_half Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:45 am

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Bolt may one day belong in this company, but right now he doesn't (also he's probably on drugs Run)

A slightly cynical attitude, although given the history of sprinting, one that is quite understandable. However, for the purpose of this vote I'm working on the assumption that all performances are realistic unless we know for certain otherwise.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:47 am

yeah well I made the mistake of reading The Secret Race (by Tyler Hamilton). That tends to make one very cynical when thinking about drugs in sport; great read though Very Happy

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Post by bhb001 Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:47 am

I can't understand this adulation of Federer. I am obviously missing something. Plumped for Bradman as an enduring legend


Last edited by bhb001 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : No electioneering!!)

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