A debate that always comes up between fighting fans is if fighters of the past could beat the champions of today.

Could the ferocity and power of Mike Tyson overcome the footwork and grace of Mohammed Ali? Would Sugar Ray Leonard have been too much for Floyd Mayweather jnr? or would he have been made to miss like the rest of Mayweather’s opposition?

It’s a subject that will never have a definite answer and will always be surrounded in speculation.

A huge argument in favour of modern athletes is the fact that sports science has improved so much over the years. Another one is that modern practitioners have also improved over the years by better nutrition, better understanding of their sport, better technique and better equipment to aid their training…..not to mention the years of learning from the people who have done it before them.

Some time back I was watching a video talking about this very subject of whether the old legends could compete with the modern greats. At the end of the video there was an awesome piece taken from a Ted talk discussing if we, as humans, are evolving and getting better.

The speaker (I’m sorry I don’t know his name) uses a great example to get us thinking.

In 1936 Jesse Owens had the world record for the 100 meters by an amazing time of 10.02 seconds.

If he’d have been racing Usain Bolt in 2013 he would have been 14ft behind Bolt when Bolt crossed the finish line at 9.77 seconds.

But what you have to consider is that Bolt at the start of the race propelled himself off blocks which were designed to help him travel as fast as possible.

Owens on the other hand ran on cinders, the ash from burnt wood. That soft surface without the aid of blocks would have drained a substantial amount of energy from his legs as he ran. Biomechanical analysis of the speed of Owens joints suggests that had he ran on the same synthetic surface as Bolt ….he would most likely have been just one stride away.

The actual video has been deleted off YouTube since I first watched it otherwise I’d have posted it with the blog. However, I did share the Ted talk part on my Instagram at the start of the year so I’m able reshare that with you.

I feel this video really opens up a lot of debates. Can the past greats beat today’s elite? Are we as humans getting better or are we just remaining the same? Is it our ego that sees us better than our ancestors or are we just further along because we are merely standing on the shoulders of our predecessors?

It would be awesome to hear people’s opinions on this so drop a comment in the comment box or simply leave a comment on my Facebook or Instagram pages.

Here’s the snippet I posted on my Instagram account.

DO ATHLETES IMPROVE OVER TIME? I was watching an interesting video on YouTube which was going over if the boxers of the past could compete with the boxers of today. I few people in the video spoke of how athletes only get better over time and that the boxer of the past couldn’t stand against today’s….but then it ended with this segment from a Ted Talk which I thought was fascinating. What’s other people’s view on this….doesn’t have to be fight related? —————————————— #kstarlegacy #drillsbuildskills #muaythailife #muaythaifighter #muaythai #thaiboxing #warrior #mma #ufc #bellatormma #champions #inspiration #muaythaistrikers #boxing #sports #motivation #fitness #wrestler #judo #fighting #fight #kickboxing #bjj #jiujitsu #jiujitsulifestyle #mixedmartialarts #kickboxing #martialarts #oldbury #birmingham

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