Mijain Lopez is the Greatest Wrestler of All Time

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by grapplejuice, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. grapplejuice

    grapplejuice Orange Belt

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    "Today (Rio Olympics), we saw history. The greatest wrestler of this or any other generation supplanted Aleksandr Karelin as the best to ever do it. With his third Olympic gold medal, Mijaín López Núñez of Cuba stamped his mark on history.

    Sometime around the turn of the century, it became agreed upon that Karelin was the greatest wrestler of all time. He represented the Soviet Union, the "Unified Team" and Russia at the Olympics, but no matter the singlet, the result was the same: gold after gold after gold.

    Along came Rulon Gardner, and the streak of 12 consecutive world and Olympic medals was snapped. That left Karelin with three Olympic gold medals and one silver. While we know Karelin has a bigger war chest, Lopez is not so far behind.

    The Cuban giant has eight world or Olympic titles to Karelin's 12, and a troika of silvers under suspicious circumstances. Does it seem strange that a Cuban who grew up poor in the city of Pinar del Río would lose a couple matches to a Russian? Especially considering the Russian's historical relationship with Cuban wrestlers. Or that his two losses to Turkey's Riza Kayaalp were by close margins, in the years immediately prior to the Olympics?

    López would go on to destroy Kayaalp and Khasan Baryoev in Olympic finals, which is when his star shines the brightest. And that's what it's all about, performing your best on the sport's biggest stage.

    Karelin gave up more points in his first Olympic final (5-3) than López has given up in all of his Olympic finals combined. He has not given up a point in the past two Olympics, which is even more impressive considering that he has wrestled under multiple sets of rules.

    Beyond that is the level of competition. Kayaalp is probably the third greatest heavyweight ever, and López dominated him in a way that would shame Karelin's 1-0 win over Matt Ghaffari in Atlanta. López also has to deal with the 15 form Soviet Socialist Republics on a yearly basis. While Karelin still had to win Soviet nationals yearly, that is a far cry from seeing them at the world championships or Olympic Games.

    Ultimately, this is a matter of opinion, a water cooler debate for the ages. If there was an all-time wrestling pay per view, Karelin/López would be my main event. While Karelin's reverse lift is iconic, there's no way he could ever get it on López. And the Cuban can gut wrench anyone, yes including the Russian Bear. You may have your own thoughts on this, but for my money, Mijaín López Núñez is the guy I would bet the farm on in any Olympic year."

    https://www.flowrestling.org/video/5629167
     
  2. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    He's suggesting that this guy threw several gold medal matches?
     
  3. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    Also the flowrestling link seems to have nothing to do with the OP.
     
  4. tec87

    tec87 Who the F*** is Sean? Platinum Member

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    this has been suspected for many years.
     
  5. jack36767

    jack36767 Brown Belt

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    Lol it’s not really suggested
     
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  6. ArtemV

    ArtemV Gold Belt

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    12 > 8.. can't argue with this logic.
     
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  7. dsdoubled

    dsdoubled Brown Belt

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    I put some weight (no pun intended) in a few other factors when comparing the 2.
    -Karelin wrestled in a 10 and 8 weight class era while Lopez wrestled in a 7 and 6 weight class era. This is not as big a factor for HWs but It still matters a lot. The 100kilo class of Karelin's time had many great wrestlers guys like Hector Milian who were reeeaaaaally good.
    -The proliferation of all of the former soviet republics (as the TS mentioned).
    -The general level of athleticism and skill is, in my opinion, greater in Mijain's era.
    Still, both guys are absolutely amazing.
     
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  8. listrahtes

    listrahtes Brown Belt

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    A very one sided post about Lopez. His defeats are explained with some vague conspiracy theory.

    Prime vs. Prime I would always bet on Karelin and he has the by far better career. Reverse Lift was crazy impressive but only a fraction of Karelins skill.

    Lopez is a fantastic wrestler no objects there
     
  9. ArtemV

    ArtemV Gold Belt

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    I don't disagree with this. Karelin would probably have more competition now, with Lopez, of course, guys from Azerbaijan, Georgia etc. I know this isn't really well researched (for me), but I usually take guys with a lot more gold, than those without. It reminds me of calling guys like Burroughs and Snyder the goat (thread a while ago), it had me scratching my head, they are both future greats. But not even close to the greatest of all time.

    While I am using this logic with Lopez. Lopez does have a very strong case (with medals and overall success).
     
  10. jack36767

    jack36767 Brown Belt

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    It’s not really a “conspiracy” theory..
     
  11. listrahtes

    listrahtes Brown Belt

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    Care to elaborate? Ist there any proof or substantial claim?
     
  12. jack36767

    jack36767 Brown Belt

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    • It’s a well known fact the Cuban wrestlers are known for throwing matches. Which if you understand their living and training system actually is understandable that it is a relatively common thing. Not saying it is right, just understandable
    • Cuban defectors, and is world team members who have been at the tournaments have talked about it
    • If you watch Lopez’s “losses” in the world finals vs (specifically the Turk and a couple others if I remember correctly).. vs when he wrestled them in other tournaments or the Olympics.. he goes from losing by 1-3 points with a very “meh” attitude.. to teching (ended by mercy rule because of point differential) those exact same opponents
    • There’s a reason Yoel Ramero has so many silver and bronze medals..
     
  13. tec87

    tec87 Who the F*** is Sean? Platinum Member

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    I believe the one loss to the Turk was when worlds was held in Turkey. So it looked even more suspicious because of that.
     
  14. jack36767

    jack36767 Brown Belt

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    I think you’re right
     
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  15. dsdoubled

    dsdoubled Brown Belt

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    Its pretty crazy that Yoel should probably be, a 3x world champion at least.
     
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  16. Grrrr

    Grrrr BE NICE

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    @Cooliox
    Read this thread and tell me again how the wrestling community isn't aware of the allegations of Cubans throwing wrestling matches. This isn't the only forum to ever discuss the issue.
     
  17. jack36767

    jack36767 Brown Belt

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    There are two podcasts on the JRE one with Matt Brown one with Yoel Romero himself that explains the situation in Cuba for their athletes. Every incentive to take bribes is put in place by their own system
     
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  18. Grrrr

    Grrrr BE NICE

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    Was having a bit of an argument in the heavies with the guy I tagged a couple posts up about it being common knowledge within the wrestling community that Cuban wrestlers have been suspected of taking bribes. It's been discussed on wrestling forums for years. I even tagged this thread for him because it's current and there happened to be a discussion going on about that exact thing.
     
  19. Jack Handy jr

    Jack Handy jr horse style and ceez are my bitches

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    Safe to assume prime Karelin was seriously roiding throughout his world Ang Olympic runs.

    When I think about his highlight reel and how he was able to man handle other freakishly strong heavyweight wrestlers the way he did it's the only possible answer
     
  20. trustdoesntrust

    trustdoesntrust Purple Belt

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    I have long heard the conjecture about Cuban wrestlers throwing matches, but I've never really heard an explanation about why they do it. Is it straight up bribery, or some weird sportsmanship quirk unique to that athletic culture. Certainly in Yoel Romero's MMA fights one often gets the sense that he's losing rounds that he otherwise should have no trouble winning.
     

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