Courtesy of the late Emanuel Steward’s personal collection, please enjoy this rare footage of Kronk legends sparring. First up, Thomas Hearns vs. Mike McCallum. This work most likely took place around 1983-1984. Fast forward to 58:35 for Toney-McClellen, which took place on June 5, 1990. Toney was 8-0 and being kept busy in his first year pro. The G-Man was 16-0, a few years away from his destruction of Julian Jackson.
For those of us who grew up watching these guys, it’s humbling to realize just how long ago this was. The next thing that comes to mind: In what other sport (perhaps collegiate wrestling?) does the question arise of not whether the better practitioners of 30, 40, 50, even 60 years ago could hang with today's best, but, rather, could today’s best hang with the top fighters of yore? When we witness Floyd Mayweather or Andre Ward, it's not really their speed, reflexes, conditioning, and athleticism that separates them from the rest (although they both have these attributes in spades, and they are necessary) but their “old school” skills; vestiges of a lost art that have somehow been passed on to them but not the other 99.9%, even among those considered elite. It makes you wonder if boxing is more akin to jazz than a mere sport or game.