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How Would Ali Do Against: 1, 2 & 3
Champions Who Held a Heavyweight Title since His Retirement: A Man Question from S.J.

For this question I will use Ali’s physical abilities as Cassius Clay and his mental powers as Ali, to try and get at the fighter who could have been in his prime when he was barred from boxing due to his refusal to serve in Vietnam. I will proceed chronologically, and if a champion escapes my notice, well, than Ali would have scarce needed to wake up from bed to dispose of him. Fight length will be 15 rounds for the early 1980s and 12 rounds after 1985. In this rollcall of champions will be included titlists and #1 contenders of interest.

This is the monster Ali that never competed, with the speed and fitness of his youth and the iron will of his Black Muslim convictions wedded to his supreme ego. Mentally, no version of Ali was ever broken in the ring, but the foolery of his earlier self and the sloth of his later years would have made him ripe for the picking by some of the later Champions. Could any of these later champions have dealt with the Ali who could have been?

Stylistically, keep in mind that Ali had no problem with power, indeed could not be KO’d even as a shadow of his younger self. What Ali had a problem with was a high work rate combined with strength and toughness. He managed to eke out 2-to-1 wins in his trilogies with Frasier and Norton, largely because Norton’s work rate suffered due to his extreme muscularity and inability to lunge due to a right leg injury and Frasier was highly susceptible to the clinch and was not able to break Ali’s clinch consistently. So Ali’s nemesis would be a man with a superior work rate and the ability to break clinches, or a man of great size and power with the ability to break clinches. Though more vulnerable to a high work rate fighter, Ali could be made to use up his legs and be forced to slug it out by an active, clinch-breaking big man with enough power to keep Ali on the move.

Larry Holmes

Holmes would keep Ali on the end of his jab, making him look a fool in spots, but catching more power shots than he delivered. The fight goes the distance with Holmes receiving a cut over his right eye.

After 15 rounds, Ali wins by unanimous decision.

Michael Spinks

Spinks is the more skilled boxer, but Ali’s great size and superior speed make of this fight a slaughter, with Spinks going down twice in the first five rounds and being rescued by the referee in round 7, with a cut brow, swollen face and weakening in the clinch.

Ali by TKO in Round 7.

Gerry Cooney

Ali would toy with Cooney for three rounds, then stand and taunt and punish Cooney for another three rounds. He would then begin picking Cooney apart, calling him “the Great White Dope,” even quoting Jack Johnson within earshot of the announcers’ table with jibes of obnoxious wit.

Ali by TKO in Round 8.

Next up:

Trevor Berbick

Frank Bruno

Tim Witherspoon

Mike Tyson

American Fist: A Fighter’s View of Boxing

The Greatest Boxer: An Objective Ranking of the Top Boxers

Add Comment
ShepJuly 30, 2018 1:17 AM UTC

In some timeless SciFi pocket dimension, the heavyweights of the Seventies continue their rivalry for all endless round-robin.

Ali has tremendous difficulty with Frazier and Norton, while Foreman handles them both easily. Ali beats Foreman with trickeration the first time, but can he continue to do so the second or third time?

The Gods of Boxing watch with interest!