Ali spars with D'Amato

Vengeful Glutton

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Ali and Cus D'Amato engage in a fascinating discussion of boxing styles. It's engrossing watching these two legends talk tactics.


D'Amato developed and perfected the "peek a boo" style of boxing, which will forever be associated with former world champion Floyd Patterson, and of course a young "Iron" Mike Tyson, whose freakish strength and incredible speed meshed perfectly with D'Amato's boxing philosophy. Tyson's punches were devastating (sadly there does not appear to be any measurement of his punching power), but his real strength was contained in his enormous thighs. As noted by D'Amato, when a young Tyson got up off his chair during Sunday dinner to reach for the potato salad he knocked over the entire dinner table ("Oh my God! I'm tho thorry!"). As an in-fighter - once an opening had appeared - Tyson would use that power to launch explosive attacks on his opponent. Recognising an opening and executing such an attack required firstly patience and discipline - you could be as strong as Hercules, but without these characteristics, slipping and stepping forward to attack could result end with a trip to the canvas.

Here's a short vid of Tyson training. Note the slick lateral head movements.


Tyson's coaching staff and Tyson himself happily allowed his opponents and the public to believe that he was nothing more than a brawler. He was often referred to as an animal. He did make some unsavoury comments which added to this image, such as delighting in the prospect of driving an opponent's septum into his brain with a sharp uppercut, but the reality is that he was an intelligent, highly skilled boxer. It is quite unfortunate that his exciting boxing style has sometimes been dismissed as brute strength street brawling. Here's a short video which breaks down his style of boxing:



Ali in his prime was for many boxing fans light years ahead of every other pugilist of his or previous eras. His style, encapsulated in the legendary maxim "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" was the pinnacle in boxing evolution. The style's success hinged on near constant movement of feet and head, quick reflexes and a slick, smooth, accurate jab. Ali's style rarely used slipping or weaving; he would nearly always circle his opponent. His defence involved a quick retreat, leaning backward to evade his opponents punches and/or slightly tilting his head accordingly. He did it with such consummate ease and astonishing precision that his opponents would often become frustrated, punching into the air as Ali ghosted away. Invariably this frustration would accumulate and lend itself to ill discipline and finally defeat. Ali's punch was not powerful, but it didn't really matter, since it was accurate and that combined with his "dancin'" feet i.e. optimum use of the space within the square ring and almost super human reflexes were sufficient to unleash dreadful punishment on his opponents. It has been claimed that in his fight against Ernie Terrell, he was so furious with him for refusing to call him by his chosen name, that he forwent a KO so that he could give him a beating. Indeed, Howard Cosell commentating after the fight said that Ernie's face was like mashed Hamburger meat. You may watch Ali play with Terrell here:


Whilst virtually nobody disagrees that Ali was a superb fighter, some commentators have pointed out that during his prime his opponents were past theirs. For example, it is believed that Sonny Liston was well in his late 30s when he took on the then challenger to his crown. It has also been said that Liston didn't take Ali seriously, and didn't bother training for their first encounter. He may even have been drinking heavily on the eve of the fight. For their rematch, Liston trained like a demon, but unfortunately the fight date had to be pushed back, as Ali had been diagnosed with a hernia a month before their fight. It's not unreasonable to assume that the wind would have been taken out of Sonny's sail and when they finally got into the ring in May 1965, Liston went down like a sack of spuds in the first round. Interestingly, Ali shouted at him "Get up sucker, no one's going to believe this" in reference to the "phantom punch" that knocked Sonny down. "Big Cat" Cleveland Williams was well past his prime when Ali swatted him in 1966. Williams had a bullet lodged in his spleen and had undergone extensive surgery prior to the fight. Zora Foley was another opponent who had seen better days. Ali defeated Zora quite easily in March 1967.

IMO, it doesn't really matter if some of his opponents were past it. He was still a super skilled boxing meister. Between 1964 and 1967, after which he was banned from fighting, he was simply "The Greatest". However I believe that 3 years away from the ring did its damage: he was never the same again, despite his successes in the 70s. He really struggled with Joe Frazier. The Frazier of Ali v Frazier I was a one trick pony IMO, but he still defeated Ali. The Frazier of Super fight III was older, but he had a few more tricks. Sadly for Joe it wasn't enough. Joe lost a closely fought, brutal contest. Another boxer Ali struggled with was Ken Norton, whose unorthodox cross guard style perplexed Ali. Norton defeated Ali in the first match of their series, breaking Muhammad's jaw in the process. Most commentators put Ali's decline as beginning in 1976 (when he defeated Norton in their final match), but I think it had begun earlier probably when he fought Foreman. He took some dreadful punishment from Foreman and I do not believe that he planned "Rope a Dope" (during the fight Angelo Dundee was screaming at Ali to get away from the ropes). Yes, he won that match, but the speedy, slick reflexes and dancing feet were gone forever. Foreman collapsing like a building was a memorable moment, but did George fall into the same trap as some other fighters - losing the inevitable psyop war with Ali before the fight had begun? Also, it must be pointed out that like Liston, George Foreman had trained like a demon, but after injuring his eye, the date had to be pushed back. Maybe the wind was taken out of his sails? Who knows.




Ali v Tyson, anyone? Who'd win?

Discuss.
 
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Sham Fox

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There's no definite way to answer the question of who would win Tyson v Ali. My way of looking at it is if I could box like any heavyweight in history it would be Iron Mike.

But Hagler still my favourite - greatest first round ever

 

TheWexfordInn

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Ali was the master of dodging punches as in this case dodging 21 punches in ten seconds.

 

Vengeful Glutton

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Tyson.
No doubt in my mind.
Just even look at the difference in physique.
When at his peak, he operated on a level above all before and, as far as I can tell, all since.
Fair enough.

Physique is a factor, but I don't think it's the factor: Jack Dempsey crushed a man twice his size (Jess Willard). Tyson destroyed larger men (and was beaten by larger men). Ali had a longer reach (78 inches) was a few inches taller, and was faster (Tyson, however, was freakishly quick over short distances). Sonny Liston had a whopping 84 inch reach, and he couldn't get near Ali. This is where style comes into it:

Tyson's first problem is "how do I get inside his guard?" 1970s Muhammad, yep, do-able; but 1965 - 1967 Ali? I don't believe Tyson would get near him.

Don't get me wrong, I think Tyson was under-rated. He was a smart boxer, not a brawler, but I think '65 - '67 Ali's tactical nous, speed and accurate jabs would wear Mike down.

Jack Dempsey v Jess Willard


Actually just a thought on physique: if Tyson grew up playing rugby union he would have been a ferocious Loose Head prop.
 

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Ali and Cus D'Amato engage in a fascinating discussion of boxing styles. It's engrossing watching these two legends talk tactics.


D'Amato developed and perfected the "peek a boo" style of boxing, which will forever be associated with former world champion Floyd Patterson, and of course a young "Iron" Mike Tyson, whose freakish strength and incredible speed meshed perfectly with D'Amato's boxing philosophy. Tyson's punches were devastating (sadly there does not appear to be any measurement of his punching power), but his real strength was contained in his enormous thighs. As noted by D'Amato, when a young Tyson got up off his chair during Sunday dinner to reach for the potato salad he knocked over the entire dinner table ("Oh my God! I'm tho thorry!"). As an in-fighter - once an opening had appeared - Tyson would use that power to launch explosive attacks on his opponent. Recognising an opening and executing such an attack required firstly patience and discipline - you could be as strong as Hercules, but without these characteristics, slipping and stepping forward to attack could result end with a trip to the canvas.

Here's a short vid of Tyson training. Note the slick lateral head movements.


Tyson's coaching staff and Tyson himself happily allowed his opponents and the public to believe that he was nothing more than a brawler. He was often referred to as an animal. He did make some unsavoury comments which added to this image, such as delighting in the prospect of driving an opponent's septum into his brain with a sharp uppercut, but the reality is that he was an intelligent, highly skilled boxer. It is quite unfortunate that his exciting boxing style has sometimes been dismissed as brute strength street brawling. Here's a short video which breaks down his style of boxing:



Ali in his prime was for many boxing fans light years ahead of every other pugilist of his or previous eras. His style, encapsulated in the legendary maxim "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" was the pinnacle in boxing evolution. The style's success hinged on near constant movement of feet and head, quick reflexes and a slick, smooth, accurate jab. Ali's style rarely used slipping or weaving; he would nearly always circle his opponent. His defence involved a quick retreat, leaning backward to evade his opponents punches and/or slightly tilting his head accordingly. He did it with such consummate ease and astonishing precision that his opponents would often become frustrated, punching into the air as Ali ghosted away. Invariably this frustration would accumulate and lend itself to ill discipline and finally defeat. Ali's punch was not powerful, but it didn't really matter, since it was accurate and that combined with his "dancin'" feet i.e. optimum use of the space within the square ring and almost super human reflexes were sufficient to unleash dreadful punishment on his opponents. It has been claimed that in his fight against Ernie Terrell, he was so furious with him for refusing to call him by his chosen name, that he forwent a KO so that he could give him a beating. Indeed, Howard Cosell commentating after the fight said that Ernie's face was like mashed Hamburger meat. You may watch Ali play with Terrell here:


Whilst virtually nobody disagrees that Ali was a superb fighter, some commentators have pointed out that during his prime his opponents were past theirs. For example, it is believed that Sonny Liston was well in his late 30s when he took on the then challenger to his crown. It has also been said that Liston didn't take Ali seriously, and didn't bother training for their first encounter. He may even have been drinking heavily on the eve of the fight. For their rematch, Liston trained like a demon, but unfortunately the fight date had to be pushed back, as Ali had been diagnosed with a hernia a month before their fight. It's not unreasonable to assume that the wind would have been taken out of Sonny's sail and when they finally got into the ring in May 1965, Liston went down like a sack of spuds in the first round. Interestingly, Ali shouted at him "Get up sucker, no one's going to believe this" in reference to the "phantom punch" that knocked Sonny down. "Big Cat" Cleveland Williams was well past his prime when Ali swatted him in 1966. Williams had a bullet lodged in his spleen and had undergone extensive surgery prior to the fight. Zora Foley was another opponent who had seen better days. Ali defeated Zora quite easily in March 1967.

IMO, it doesn't really matter if some of his opponents were past it. He was still a super skilled boxing meister. Between 1964 and 1967, after which he was banned from fighting, he was simply "The Greatest". However I believe that 3 years away from the ring did its damage: he was never the same again, despite his successes in the 70s. He really struggled with Joe Frazier. The Frazier of Ali v Frazier I was a one trick pony IMO, but he still defeated Ali. The Frazier of Super fight III was older, but he had a few more tricks. Sadly for Joe it wasn't enough. Joe lost a closely fought, brutal contest. Another boxer Ali struggled with was Ken Norton, whose unorthodox cross guard style perplexed Ali. Norton defeated Ali in the first match of their series, breaking Muhammad's jaw in the process. Most commentators put Ali's decline as beginning in 1976 (when he defeated Norton in their final match), but I think it had begun earlier probably when he fought Foreman. He took some dreadful punishment from Foreman and I do not believe that he planned "Rope a Dope" (during the fight Angelo Dundee was screaming at Ali to get away from the ropes). Yes, he won that match, but the speedy, slick reflexes and dancing feet were gone forever. Foreman collapsing like a building was a memorable moment, but did George fall into the same trap as some other fighters - losing the inevitable psyop war with Ali before the fight had begun? Also, it must be pointed out that like Liston, George Foreman had trained like a demon, but after injuring his eye, the date had to be pushed back. Maybe the wind was taken out of his sails? Who knows.




Ali v Tyson, anyone? Who'd win?

Discuss.
Ali was not only a superb athlete physically, he was also mentally tough, he never gave up in any of his fights.
Tyson was a superb athlete in his own way, his punch speed and combinations were good enough to beat every one of his peers if he had fought them in his prime which was before a few fights before buster douglas.
But he was not as mentally tough as Ali.
I go for Ali on the premise that he stays away from tyson for 12 rounds
if bone crusher smith can do it, so can ali
 

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There's no definite way to answer the question of who would win Tyson v Ali. My way of looking at it is if I could box like any heavyweight in history it would be Iron Mike.

But Hagler still my favourite - greatest first round ever

I dont agree with that although a lot of people say it,
Hagler knew he was fighting a lighter man, hearns at that point was really a light middleweight
If he had did it to some one his own weight who could punch that would be different
Hagler was a very good professional but he did not like getting hit
and he had a very good technique and was hard to hit
and was always in shape
He fought Duran and let him go the distance because he as too mindful of Durans power
and duran had previously been a lightweight .
watched that fight live in a cinema in london
 

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Shocking how poor Frazier was in this for strength and speed considering he was the HW champion of the world.
I guess a Poll Vaulter trains for pushing upwards whereas a boxer doesn't.
It would have been interesting to see them doing a bench press, in that case the pressing motion would be much more akin to what a Boxer does so I bet Frasier would have won by a large margin.
 

Sham Fox

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I dont agree with that although a lot of people say it,
Hagler knew he was fighting a lighter man, hearns at that point was really a light middleweight
If he had did it to some one his own weight who could punch that would be different
Hagler was a very good professional but he did not like getting hit
and he had a very good technique and was hard to hit
and was always in shape
He fought Duran and let him go the distance because he as too mindful of Durans power
and duran had previously been a lightweight .
watched that fight live in a cinema in london
Love Hagler's headbutts, low blows and elbows too. And thats's not insulting him. Its a fight at the end of the day.
 
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