Discussion in 'LWOS' started by -, Mar 12, 2002.
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Fair comments there Javaman. Got a query about this sentence of yours though __
*Of those 29 total fights, 14 were against top ten contendors for the heavyweight crown
Now I've got a really old book on boxing facts and bits, and my book states that up until the end of the 1976, Muhammad Ali had fought only 6 fighters who were ranked opponents for the heavyweight crown. Here are the names __
: Ernie Terrell
: Karl Mildenberger
: Brian Londone
: Floyd Patterson
: Sonny Liston
: Archie Moore
I'm interested to see who the others are and what your source of refrence is.
I made an error, so I'll try again. Sorry for the deletion.
Actually poster Outlaw, I did make an error in my earlier post. You stated 1976 but I'm sure that was a typing error that should have read 19676.Muhammad Ali fought against 13 (not 14) top ten contendors in his bid for the heavyweight crown. I incorrectly counted in the two bouts against Sonny Liston, the first for the championship and the second a rematch.
Here I've listed them for you as it appears in The International Boxing Hall Of Fame - Official Record Book - The Boxing Register
Oct 07th 1961 Alex Miteff W TKO 6th
May 19th1962 Billy Daniels W TKO 7th
Jul 20th 1962 Alejandro Lavorante W KO 5th
Nov 15th 1962 Archie Moore W TKO 4th
May 13th 1963 Douglas Jones W 10th
Jun 18th1963 Henry Cooper W TKO 5th
Feb 20th 1964 Sonny Liston W TKO 7th (won the World Heavyweight championship)
Nov 22nd 1965 Floyd Patterson W TKO 12th ( retained World Heavyweight Ttile)
Mar 29th 1966 George Chavulo W 15th
Aug 6th 1966 Brian London W TKO 3rd
Sep 10th 1966 Karl Mildenberger W TKO 12th
Feb 6th 1967 Ernie Terrell W 15th
Mar 22nd 1967 Zora Folley W TKO 7th
All 13 listed were either ranked contenders, or former champions.
Apologies for the error.
Javaman: At the time Louis wrote this article, a lot of sportswriters didn't like him because he was new and had a different style of boxing, as well as not liking his bragging and predicting fights and talking so much. They looked for ways to criticize him even though, as you say, he had been very impressive in the ring so far. So they said things like he can't take a punch, and criticized him for dancing and moving so much, which heavyweights didn't do before then. I feel Joe Louis in this article was reflecting some of these same attitudes in implying that Ali would have quit against Marciano.
My point was that from what we know now from Ali's later performances against Frazier especially, as well as others, Ali was very courageous and would never quit against anyone.
As for when Ali was at his best, I did say that he was probably better before his 3 year exile than after, because he moved so well before and couldn't seem to fight a whole fight on his toes after he came back. On the other hand he adapted to his new style and defeated better boxers after his exile than the ones before, although as you say the earlier opponents were no slouches. In fact one thing that made Ali great was that he beat a whole new set of younger opponents in the 70's, when his skills were slightly diminished by age and the time off. Probably his peak years were taken from him in the 3 years he sat out of boxing. How much greater would he have been if he could have boxed through that part of his career?
Like many of my generation, Ali was a hero to me because I grew up watching him. I'd like to think he would have beaten Louis and Marciano in his prime, but we can never know that for sure. Of couse Angelo Dundee was biased, but I recall him saying something like this once- (I'm going on memory and don't have the exact quote). He said opponents couldn't really judge Ali by a tale of the tape or by films, because actually facing him in the ring was a totally different experience. He was so fast and such a smart and skilled boxer that nothing could prepare opponents for actually facing him. I think the Foreman fight exemplifies this idea, when all the experts thought Foreman would crush Ali but Ali found a way to beat him. Come to think of it the first Liston fight was like that too.
So I know Louis and Marciano were great fighters, but I like to think Ali was the greatest
Here's a little secret that I wasn't hoping to reveal, but I will. You raised the issue Canadian Steve, so I'll give you my honest truth about something. I believe without any doubt that had Ali not been forced to take a 3year (and over 5months) break from the boxing scene during his military exile period, he would have undoubtedly been the greatest heavyweight of all time. It's those three years or so that changed the man in my opinion. He came back a different fighter, although the same (and to a greater extent) loud mouth he was prior to leaving the arena.
Pre 1970, Muhammad Ali had superb talent and boxing intelligence. He was a brash young fighter who had a knack for self promoting, almost rivaling his skills in the ring. In a time when interest in boxing was diminishing, or had, the young Louisville Lip dramatically revitalized the sport. Before refusal to into the army, Ali proved in those years that he was much more than an entertainer with his mouth. He could box like very few prior to him, could move like no heavyweight before him, and certainly possessed the ring intelligence that only a handful ever showed before him. In plain English, he had the makings for easily the greatest heavyweight ever. Something very few doubted. in that time of his career. I already stated that he had some very daunting opponents prior to 1971 (his comeback), but the heavyweight title bout against the reigning champion Sonny Liston really sealed his mark on the heavyweight scene.
It was a bout he rightfully shouldnât have won in many experts and fans eyes, but like the true champion he was back then, he defied all that stood against him, from the media to the fans (Iâve also read many reports of many people from his own camp betting against him for this fight), and defeated the badest heavyweight (definitely a tag Liston had then) Charles âSonnyâ Liston with a TKO in the 7th, even though Liston refused to come out for that last round. I say he shouldnât have won that fight, not because he wasnât good enough, but Liston had a reputation amongst boxing circles. He was an ex-convict who served two years for armed robbery (Iâm pretty sure that was the crime committed), and another two (?) years after that for bashing a policeman. Listonâs criminal past along with his reputed underworld connections of those involved in directly handling him, did not make him an attractive opponent for many. Boxers were genuinely afraid of him. Add to that he had the coldest stare next to Mike Tyson, along with incredibly strong jabs, a great left hook, very powerful right, good boxing skills and had destroyed many worthy and strong opponents prior, it was hardly a fight Ali was expected to get close to, let alone win or even show up for. Ali (or Cassius Clay as he was known back then) totally ruled the fight from go to whoa. Ali not only proved to quick for Listen, but he hammered the (then) heavyweight champion with lightning combination punches, then moved away before Liston even began to know what had happened, proving that he was also even too smart for Liston. I know the ending of the fight was controversial as well as the late stages with the powder in the eyes episode and stuff, but had that not even occurred, Ali still would have won EASILY! I have no doubt even if it had miraculously gone the distance.
I point this fight out Steve, because it truly showed what a champion Cassius Clay once was. When he came back into boxing as Muhammad Ali, he was a different fighter who gained more lip then boxing skills. In many of his last fights before 1967, Ali displayed super quick foot and hand speed, great punching power, and a very good boxing mind. But in my opinion, upon his return in 1970, the heavier (he mainly fought around the mid 190lbâs prior to 1967, yet very often fought in the 225lb and often over from 1970 onwards) and three year older Muhammad Ali, was never again the equal of what he was pre 1967. I donât want to start breaking down his fights post 1970, but Iâd be surprised if anyone really believes he was a better boxer then in comparison to before.
As for Angelo Dundeeâs comments that you believed he said, well I find it absurd when he states that He said opponents couldn't really judge Ali by a tale of the tape or by films, because actually facing him in the ring was a totally different experience Well, how exactly would Dundee know what it was like to fight Ali in the ring? I donât remember his chubby backside ever facing Ali in a bout. Infact, Iâm pretty sure Dundee was never a boxer himself. I may be wrong though. Seeing you and many others here hold Dundeeâs comments to such high appraisal, hereâs what he said about Ali in the book The 12 Greatest Rounds of Boxing - The Untold Stories - Ferdie Pacheco MD. whilst actually making a comment about Sugar Ray Robinson. Iâll just quote the bits worthy of this topic :
âAli was great, but Sugar Ray could do things that Ali could never do. Sugar Ray had the ability every time to unleash a knockout punch. Ali never had just one knockout punch. Sugar Ray did......... Plus, Ali went 41 rounds with Joe Frazier, but never dropped Frazier once. Not once! That would never have happened or been allowed to have happened in Robinsonâs books...... Ali was the greatest heavyweight of all time, but he did have flaws. He wasnât perfect.â
Your comments that âAli was very courageous and would never quit against anyoneâ I cannot agree with entirely. Both Ali and Dundee have stated in the past, that had Eddie Futch Joe Frazierâs trainer) not instructed Joe Frazier to not go out in the last round of the Manila fight, Ali would of not gone out himself. He was not only exhausted beyond imagination, as anyone who saw the bout will tell you, but Dundee was concerned for his safety and Ali just had no energy left and was genuinely frightened that Frazier would knock him out in the 15th, as reported by Dundee and some of Aliâs corner men (their names elude me) in the documentary Smokinâ Joe - The making of a champion. Ali may never had quit against anyone, but Eddie Futch (not Joe Frazier) was the one who saved him of that.
I certainly respect your decision to chose your greatest heavyweight Steve, but I respect you more as a fellow poster, for choosing to debate it in the manner which you have thus far.
Javaman thanking you muchand signing off for a few days due to work committments.
Javaman: Thank you for the compliment. I will have to go and watch my tape of the Thrilla in Manila again. I have never heard that Ali or his corner were considering not sending him out for the 15th. No offense, but I'm not sure I believe that. I do think it was the right decision for Joe not to come out, as he was clearly hurting and may have suffered eye damage had he continued, as he himself pointed out in a recent post about Eddie Futch.
Even though Ali never knocked Frazier out in 3 bouts, he did beat him twice and even in the first fight, shortly after Ali returned from exile, he did a lot of damage to Joe. Frazier spent some time in hospital recovering from that first fight.
I found Ali to be a very entertaining character. He was not a perfect person for sure. We have discussed before that his treatment of Frazier was over the line. He also wasn't a very good guy in his early marriages. But I try to judge him as a boxer on his ring exploits only, leaving aside his personality. I wish he could have boxed through his 3 year exile and retired earlier, as an undefeated champ. Then as you say he would have been the greatest ever for sure. Failing that, I wish he had retired after the 3rd Frazier fight. Then some of his later losses wouldn't have happened to tarnish his reputation, and maybe he'd be healthier now. Above all I wish he didn't have Parkinson's, so he could still appear on TV and talk as he used to. What a great elder statesman and spokesman for boxing he could have been
I certainly respect your decision to chose your greatest heavyweight Steve, but I respect you more as a fellow poster, for choosing to debate it in the manner which you have thus far.
I think you also should be commended for the way in which you have presented yourself throughout the variousboxing discussions here, Javaman. Well done mate!
I found this peice written about the "greatest"
I'm sure the Ali fans, and maybe even critics will enjoy the read as much as I did..
SELECTION: MUHAMMAD ALI
Heavyweight Champion 1964-1970, 1974-1978, 1978-1979
RECORD: 56-5 37 Ko's
By: Monte Cox Cassius Clay was truly a great name for a fighter, but the name Muhammad Ali will always be known as "the Greatest". A young Cassius won an Olympic Gold Medal at 178 lbs. in 1960 to start off the decade. He made a name for himself by accurately predicting the rounds in which his opponent's "will fall". By 1963 he was the number one contender for Sonny Liston's Heavyweight crown. Liston, a murderous slugger, was considered near unbeatable at the time. Cassius was an 8-1 underdog for their Feb. 1964 fight. Shocking
the world, the young fighter upset the odds, out boxing Liston, swelling his face and forcing him to quit on his stool.
After winning the title he announced his conversion to the Islamic religion and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali was the most naturally gifted heavyweight champion in history. His phenomenal speed in his prime never ceases to amaze those who saw him or who have studied him on film.
The late Jimmy Jacobs, then the owner of the world's largest fight film collection, once measured Ali's jab by an omegascope. He found that Sugar Ray Robinson's jab took 8.5 frames of film. Ali's took only 6.5!!
Faster than the fastest middleweights, Ali's extraordinary hand and foot speed allowed him to outspeed both his opponent's and his mistakes. Ali did everything wrong, holding his hands low and leaning away from punches. However, his uncanny sense of timing, distance and superb reflexes allowed him to avoid his opponent's punches. In his prime he was all but impossible to hit with a solid punch. Ali had the best footwork and lateral movement, as well as one of the finest jabs, in heavyweight history. He threw blazing flurries with precision accuracy. Ali had possibly the best chin in division history, successfully absorbing the bombs of some of history's most devastating hitters such as Liston, Frazier, Foreman, Lyle, and Shavers. Ali faced the toughest opposition of any heavyweight champion. He defeated 11 of the top 50 heavyweights of all time as rated by the 1998 Holiday issue of the Ring. He made 19 successful defenses, in three reigns as champion, over a span of 14 years. His record in his prime was 29-0 with 23 kayo's, a knockout percentage of 79. He lost 3 1/2 of his prime when he was stripped of his title for draft evasion in 1967. (He eventually won that fight by unanimous decision of the Supreme Court.)
We never saw the best of "the Greatest" because of those lost years.
After retirement Ali was diagnosed with "Parkinson's syndrome". Despite his handicap he continues to lead a full life and remains an inspiration to millions of people throughout the world.
...and just saw Javaman doesnât feel left out or ganged up on , here is the peice the same author wrote on Joe Louis..
Selection: Joe Louis
Heavyweight Champion 1937-1949 Record: 68-3, 54 KO's
By: Monte Cox A tight race ensued for our pick in this period between Joe Louis and Henry Armstrong. Hammerin' Hank was one of the top pound for pound fighters of the century and arguably deserves the nod. Hank was a great pressure fighter, but was not much on defense or as scientific a boxer as Louis. Pound for pound Louis was also the more devastating puncher. Based on his overall superiority Joe Louis receives the selection.
Joe Louis was a master boxer-puncher. He threw every punch in the book perfectly. His punches were all thrown with textbook accuracy. The "Brown Bomber" had tremendous knockout power in either hand. Louis, along with Ray Robinson, is the finest combination puncher in history. His hand speed also rates among the best of the all-time heavyweights.
He made 25 successful title defenses a record unmatched in boxing history, 21 of those were won by knockout, 17 were 10 counts!
Joe Louis turned pro in 1934 and cut a swath through the heavyweight division, knocking out opponents with such fury that sportswriters' referred to him as a "jungle killer". From 1934 until he retired as champion in 1949 Louis record was 60-1 with 51 Ko's. He knocked out five men who held the Heavyweight Championship of the World, Braddock (from whom he won the title), Carnera, Max Baer, Sharkey, Walcott, and his peak performance against Schmeling by devastating 1st round knockout in 1938. He also KO'd quality contenders like King Levinsky, Paulino Uzcudun, Two-Ton Tony Galento, Bob Pastor, Arturo Godoy, Abe Simon, Buddy Baer, and Tami Mauriello. His famous fight where he came from behind to Ko Billy Conn was in 1941. Louis was an active Champion who ducked no one as his 25 successful defenses attests to. After retiring as Champion Louis was forced to make a comeback because of tax problems. His speed, desire and cat-like reflexes diminished Louis career ended in 1951 at the hands of the unbeaten Rocky Marciano. Louis was so beloved by his generation that the IRS forgave him his tax debt.
After he died in 1981 he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery at the request of President Ronald Reagan.
Great post #33 Jackal. It says it all about Ali - I wish it could stand as the last word on the subject, but I suppose Javaman may have other ideas.
While looking for the original article in this post, i found this, quite a good read.
In the July 1991 Ring Magazine I had a letter published giving four reasons why I thought Muhammad Ali would have defeated Joe Louis had these two all time great heavyweights ever met in their respective primes. These four reasons sum up how most modern boxing fans think of a potential Ali-Louis battle: 1) Ali had greater speed, especially of foot. 2) Ali had the ability to adapt and change his fight plan while Louis tended to be more robotic. 3) Ali had the better chin and successfully absorbed the bombs of some of boxingâs most dangerous sluggers. 4) Ali was never beaten at his best; his first loss came at age 29.
Having grown up as a fan of Muhammad Ali it is sometimes difficult to be objective. I felt a need to prove this popular theory to myself. I began an intensive study of the two great heavyweights particular styles by thoroughly studying films of both fighters, as well as the opinions of other knowledgeable historians and trainers. Within a year I published an article in the May 1992 Boxing Scene âJoe Louis: The Best Heavyweight Ever!" In this article I argued that out of all the heavyweight champions it was Joe Louis who most closely resembled the perfect fighter. I concluded the Louis-Ali match-up as a toss up that could go either way. After more years of study I now firmly believe that Joe Louis could defeat Muhammad Ali. The following describes the how and why. Muhammad Ali has become such a legend that people think of him as invincible. One person wrote to me that Ali was a âdemi-godâ. I admit itâs pretty impossible to defeat a deity. However, Ali was not a god, but a human being and as such had human frailties. As Jack Dempsey once said âno man has everything.â Ali had a number of weaknesses as a fighter. He did not have an orthodox style and never learned the rudiments of classical boxing. Ali made many tactical errors in the ring. Ali did not know how to properly hold his hands, duck (he pulled back or sidestepped), parry or how to block a jab! Ken Nortonâs trainer Eddie Futch said (Anderson pg. 233) âThe jab was a big reason Muhammad Ali never figured out why he had so much trouble with Ken Norton in their three fights.â Norton consistently hit Ali with his jab because Ali didn't keep his right hand up to parry Nortonâs counter jab. Ali leaned away from punches. He dropped his hands low. These poor habits caused him trouble with quick handed boxers who had solid left hands. Joe Louis said of Ali in his autobiography, âAliâs a great fighter, (but) he made too many mistakes, his hands are down a lot, and he takes too many punches to the body. I know what Iâm talking aboutâ (Louis pg. 260). Technically, Ali wasn't a very good fighter; it was just that his physical gifts (speed, reflexes, and chin) were so astonishing that he was able to get away with things that would have gotten most fighters beaten up. Some may argue he did end beaten up when his career was over. George Foreman notes on his web-site (www.georgeforeman.com) that after Aliâs speed diminished âit became apparent that he never really learned defense.â Even before his exile Ali was far from unbeatable. His chin was among the best in heavyweight history, but no manâs chin is impregnable. Ali was nearly kayoed by Henry Cooperâs left hook: âIt caught Clay on the side of the jaw and Cassius went over backwards through the ropes. He rolled back into the ring, then got dazedly to his feet. He was gazing off in the distanceâ¦starry-eyed. He wobbled forward gloves low. He started to fall but his handlers caught himâ (June 19, 1963 NY Times). Had that punch not come at the end of the round he would have been in serious jeopardy. Ali also struggled against Doug Jones. The lesson from that fight is not whether Ali deserved the decision, but that a small heavyweight of modest ability was able to be competitive with him. Fighters with quick hands and good left jabs always caused him great difficulty. Against Louis, Ali would be facing one of the fastest and most powerful jabbers in boxing history. Now, consider the statement by Murray Goodman that Joe Louis âcould knock you out with a left jab.â (Goodman, âRocky Marciano vs. Joe Louis. Who Would Have Won In Their Primes?â Boxing Scene, Spring 1995 pg. 83). âThere was kayo power in every one of Joe Louis punches, but the most important of all was the battering ram of a jab, which was equal in power to an ordinary heavyweights right crossâ (âThe 10 Greatest Punchers of All Timeâ, Mike Silver, Ring Almanac, pg. 122, 1998). Boxing historian and writer Ted Carroll summarized a potential Ali vs. Louis match-up: âLouis had one of the fastest right hands ever seen in a ring. It boomed out of his slow moving gait with the speed and suddenness of a rattler. Clayâs defensive technique relies greatly upon leaning backward out of range of his opponentâs blows. Against a right hand of Louis speed and power this would have been a highly dangerous maneuver and the current champion would have been flirting with disaster every time he tried it. It is possible to conceive Clay getting a decision over Louis in a bout that lasted the full 15 rounds. But it is not so easy to imagine his going the distance without getting tagged by Louis fast hands somewhere along the way. When that happened it could mean the end of everything right then and there for Muhammad Ali.â (âHow would Clay Have Done Against Stars of the Pastâ, Ring, July 1966). Carroll also noted that boxers with great footwork such as Conn and Pastor had given Louis trouble. But Ali was not as correct a boxer as Billy Conn or Bob Pastor. Ali had many faults in his style. Joe Frazier nearly knocked him out in the 11th round of their first fight as Ali exposed himself with in the corner with his hands down. A crunching left hook, the punch that Ali was vulnerable to throughout his career, had Ali wobbling around the ring in serious trouble. Louis was a faster and by far a more accurate and powerful puncher than Frazier was. He was the finest combination puncher in heavyweight history, and possibly the greatest finisher. If Louis had Ali hurt the way Frazier did in the 11th round there is no way Ali would have survived. Aliâs legs were doing the âdance that puppets do when the guy with the strings is drunk.â (Bob Waters, Newsday, Mar 1971). Had that been Joe Louis in there instead of Joe Frazier it would have been over! Louis was a deadly finisher and didn't let his man off the hook when hurt. The âBrown Bomberâ was the epitome of the hooded assassin. In fact the saying goes "Once Joe Louis had his man hurt...." Foreman had Ali out on his feet by Muhammadâs own admission (Ali pg. 406-409). George Foreman and Earnie Shavers were arguably heavier hitters than was Louis, but they were not nearly as explosive or quick with their hands. George and Earnie were limited fighters who ran out of gas in the later rounds. Foreman was the heavyweight destroyer non-pareil, who owned the first five rounds of any fight, but by the sixth he was done. Shavers tried to pace himself in his fight with Ali, and consequently failed to go after him after he had him hurt. Louis had 15 round stamina and kept his power into the late rounds. Louis was a constant knockout threat throughout a fight, while Ali only had to make it though the early rounds against Shavers and Foreman, who threw a lot of wild haymakers, wasting their limited energy. Louis didnât make that mistake, throwing short, jolting, economically sound punches. Louis would pick his shots and take apart any man who placed himself on the ropes. The ârope-a-dopeâ would not work against Louis, in much the same way it didnât work against Frazier in Manila. In that fight, he absorbed a terrible beating to the body. âAli slumped into his corner at the end of the 10th round exhausted and contemplated quittingâ(Sports Illustrated, Oct 13, 1975). Louis would pressure Ali, like Frazier and Norton. Ali didnât like pressure, as he preferred to box from the outside. Joe Louis once described how he would have fought Ali: âThe kid has speed and thereâs no one around to outbox him, and the opponent who tries is in his grave. Especially in the middle if the ring. Iâd see to it that Clay didnât stay in ring center. No. Heâd be hit into those ropes as near a corner as I could get him. If he stayed on the ropes he would get hurt. Sooner or later heâd try to bounce off, when he did he would get hurt more. Iâd press him, cut down his speed, and bang him around the ribs. Iâd punish the body. âKill the body and the head will dieâ, Chappie use to tell me. It figures. Sooner or later heâd forget about that face of his and he would start dropping that left hand like he did against Mildenberger and Chuvalo. Those fellows got their openings by accident, and fouled it up. I would work for it and wouldnât reckon to miss when it arrived. Cassius Clay is a nice boy and a smart fighter. But I am sure Joe Louis would have licked him.â (âHow I Would Have Clobbered Clayâ, The Ring, Feb. 1967). Joe Frazier fought this battle plan mapped out by Louis in 1967 almost to perfection in 1971. Frazier began working the body early. He punished Ali along the ropes, and when his opening finally came (in the 11th and again in the 15th) Frazier took advantage. Smokinâ Joe failed to score a knockout that day but his victory was decisive. The plan almost worked in the third fight as well, Ali absorbed such a beating he said it was âthe closest thing to deathâ that he had ever experienced. Kenny Norton used a very similar plan. Eddie Futch instructed Norton âyour not going to hit Ali by slipping, dropping underneath or parrying. You have to hit him while heâs punching. When he starts to jab you punch with him. Keep your right hand high. His jab will pop into the middle of your glove and then your jab will come right down the pipeâ¦That is what destroyed Aliâs rhythm.â (Anderson pg. 235). Futch further planned out the following, âIf you start from the center of the ring it will only take you three steps to get Ali on the ropes. Every time you jab, step in and jab again. Then do the same thing.â Then Eddie told him what to do when he got Ali to the ropes, âDonât do like all the other guys do. Donât throw your left hook to the head, heâll pull back against the ropes and pepper you with counter-punches, instead start banging his body with both hands.â (Anderson pg. 235). That is how Norton, whose jab, speed, and power was inferior to Joe Louis, gave Ali hell in three very close fights. Joe Louis trainer Jack Blackburn was a master boxer, an all-time great lightweight who fought heavyweights. He was a genius at boxing strategy and at least the equal of men like Ray Arcel and Eddie Futch. Blackburn would have devised a plan to defeat Ali using the same strategy that Joe spoke of in 1967. He would have seen the same weaknesses that Futch used to instruct Frazier and Norton to defeat Ali. Ali did not hold his right hand in place to block the counter-jab. Chappie Blackburn would tell Joe, âheâs a sucker for a left jab.â Louis had the perfect classic style to defeat Ali. It would not matter that Aliâs jab would âget there first.â Joe would block Aliâs jab with his right glove held high, his chin tucked under his shoulder and counter Ali in the middle of his face with his own jab just as Norton did. He would use the jab to maneuver Ali to the ropes. Louis was a âmaster at cutting off the ringâ (Goodman, Boxing Scene, Spring, 1995) Ali said he was forced to go to the ropes against Foreman, âAll during training I had planned to stay off the ropesâ¦but now Iâve got to change my plans. Sadler and Moore have drilled George too well. He does his job like a robot but he does it wellâ¦Iâm famous for being hard to hit in the first rounds, but no fighter can last (dance) fifteen if he has to take six steps to his opponents three.â (Ali pg. 405) Joe would put continuous physical and psychological pressure on Ali. Louis would cut off the ring and step Ali towards the ropes, where he would then pound the body. Muhammad would then begin to drop his hands. Blackburn would instruct him âwhen he throws the right uppercut, deliver the knockout drops with the left hook.â Ali threw a right uppercut from the outside, a strict no-no. This is what made him vulnerable to the left hook throughout his career. Joe Frazier exploited this flaw when he dropped Ali in the 15th round of their first fight. Eventually Louis would see an opening and strike. Goodman described a Joe Louis assault like this: âThere were no warnings with a Louis punch. He would lash out like a cobra, and it could be just as deadlyâ(Goodman, 64). Jimmy Braddock was once asked what it was like to get hit by âThe Brown Bomberâsâ punch, âIt ainât like a punch,â Braddock said. âItâs like somebody nailed you with a crowbar!â(75 Years of The Ring, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1997 Section: The Best Puncher). Louis would catch Ali along the ropes with one of his most powerful and deadly hooks. Unlike Frazier, Joe Louis could throw a triple left hook with speed and power as he did against Max Baer. Aliâs legs would turn to jelly. Louis combinations would fire with piston like precision and the power of a human jackhammer. The speed of Louis assault would be mesmerizing. Ali would be battered unmercilessly and unceasingly until the referee was forced to call an end to the execution. In comparison to my original somewhat superficial thoughts from my 1991 letter a more thorough examination of the facts shows the following to be true:
While Ali is the fastest heavyweight ever, Louis was nearly as fast with his hands. Aliâs many tactical mistakes would leave him open to one of Louis lightning-like strikes. His foot-speed and jab would be negated by Louis properly placed right parrying hand. Louis would render ineffective Aliâs primary weapon, his left jab, and drive him to the ropes vis-a-vis Ken Norton.
Ali was a master of strategy against slow handed bruisers like Liston, Terrell, Foreman, and Shavers. He had more trouble with men with hand speed who could punch with him like Doug Jones, Norton, and Jimmy Young. Louis was superior in hand speed to any of these men. With the previously outlined strategy, which Blackburn and Joe would be sure to implement, Louis would not be at a strategic disadvantage against Ali.
Ali had a great chin, but he was not âsuperman.â Joe Frazier had Ali in serious trouble and he did not have Louis speed and combination punching ability, if he did he would have kayoed Ali in their first fight, perhaps in the third. Liston, Foreman and Shavers were big punchers but slow, and could not carry on a sustained assault for 15 rounds. Louis definitely would keep up the pressure and he was a more explosive and sharper puncher in the mold of a young Mike Tyson. Louis had real shock value in his punches. Aliâs chin would have its greatest test not against Frazier or Foreman but against Joe Louis.
Ali was never beaten until a 3-year lay-off, but it was still close to his physical prime. Some would say he lost to Doug Jones, and he was nearly kayoed by Cooper so his unbeaten streak is not without tarnish. In comparing Ali when he retired at age 36 after beating Spinks his record was 56-3 with 37 kayos. Louis when he retired as champion at age 35 was 60-1 with 51 kayos. Louis also lost four of his best years due to WW2 just as Ali lost 3 Â½ years in his forced exile. Overall Ali faced the better competition, but Schmeling (a first rate counter-puncher), M. Baer (one of the hardest hitters in division history), Godoy (never knocked off his feet in his first 70 pro fights), and Walcott (one of the slickest boxer-punchers of all time) are better than anyone that Ali faced during his prime years, with the exception of Sonny Liston. Both Ali and Louis were dominant champions.
Ali had a slight edge in size over Joe. Ali was 6â3â 212 pounds in his prime, and had a long 80-inch reach. Louis was 6â1 Â½â, and about 207, his best weight in his rematches against Buddy Baer and Abe Simon. Louis had a 76â reach. Louis height and reach was about the same as Norton, or Evander Holyfield. Frazier was 205 in the first Ali-Frazier fight, so any physical advantage is void. Joe Louis had the hand speed, the jab, the power, the stamina, the ring smarts and the style to defeat Muhammad Ali. Joe Louis is the one man who would knock Muhammad Ali out!
If anyone knows where to find the original article can they post a link, i cant seem to find it tonight for some reason. I was always going to do a full analysis on this when i got the chance, but sadly LWOS shut down before i got the chance. Still, from memory Joe Louis based his strategy on clobbering Ali around the fact that Ali's chin was questionable and a knockout would be inevitable. I will have to read the article properly, but i believe that Joe would have underestimated a prime Ali, he would have been prepared to wear a few early and he would have been sure that he would eventually catch up with Ali, like he did with most others. History tells us that Ali has the best chin ever, in the first match at least, Joe's article shows that he would not have beaten Ali.
Good to see new posts in what was 1 of my favourite threads, Bender. Maybe Javaman will re-appear next. Whatever happened to him?
Sorry I can't help you with that article.
It won't be in April.
June will be the time
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