The greatest fights of Muhammad Ali’s career

Leave a comment

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers to ever set foot in the ring. He entertained the masses with the ability to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” He also stung like a bee outside of the ring with the verbal jabs he would give to his opponents.

Thanks to his incredible athletic gifts, Ali created some of the most magical moments in the history of boxing, so let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember some of the best fights of his legendary career.

Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman (Oct. 30, 1974 in Zaire, Africa)

The infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight took place in Zaire, Africa, where the ring temperatures hovered around 85 degrees for the entire fight. Ali became the second man to reclaim the heavyweight title by putting down Foreman in the eighth round.

Ali took a lot of punishment in this fight as he used his “rope-a-dope” strategy to ultimately end Foreman’s reign as champ.

Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks (Feb. 15, 1978 in Las Vegas)

The 1978 Fight of the Year by The Ring featured a massive upset as Leon Spinks won the WBC and WBA heavyweight title after a split decision victory over Ali.

After the fight Ali said, “Next time, I’ll have to get on my toes to beat him. My rope-a-dope didn’t work. He was too strong. It was more a mistake in strategy.”

Which is exactly what Ali would do when the two faced off later that year in New Orleans.

Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II (Sept. 15, 1978 in New Orleans)

Spinks’ reign as the WBA heavyweight champion would be short lived as Ali dominated Spinks with an outburst of strikes and any time Spinks would try to mount any sort of defense, Ali would simply pull him in.

With the win, Ali became the first man to win the world heavyweight championship three times. This would also be the final win of Ali’s legendary career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i_J2eZ7axE

Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (March 31, 1973 in San Diego, Calif.)

Ali lost his NABF Heavyweight title as he dropped just the second fight of his career.

Despite the lack of knockdowns in the fight, Ali suffered a broken jaw, he also suffered a partially broken ego.

He wore a white robe with rhinestones and jewels that read “People’s Choice” written on the back. It was a gift from Elvis Presley. Ali never wore the robe again.

Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III (Sept. 28, 1976 in Bronx, N.Y.)

Ali regained his NABF Heavyweight title in his next fight with Norton, but their third meeting would be the creme dela crème of their trilogy, but it wasn’t without a bit of controversy.

Norton said after the fight that he “won at least nine or ten rounds.

Ali wasn’t quite as confident but still believed that he was the winner, “I had just enough to win,” he said. “I know I’m the winner.”

A month later, Ali had a very interesting quote in an interview with Mark Cronin, “Kenny’s style is too difficult for me. I can’t beat him, and I sure don’t want to fight him again. I honestly thought he beat me in Yankee Stadium, but the judges gave it to me, and I’m grateful to them.”

Cassius Clay vs. Zbigniew Pietrzykowski (1960 Summer Olympics in Rome)

Before he was known as “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali was known as Cassius Clay and in 1960, Clay became a gold medalist at the age of 18. Clay won all four of his fights in the light heavyweight division that summer including a win over three-time European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski.

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (March 8, 1971 in New York City)

Ali stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden on March 8th, 1971 with a 31-0 record that included 25 knockouts.

He would leave MSG with the first loss of his career at the hands of Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who also entered The Garden with an undefeated record.

Even though Ali was undefeated heading into the fight, he wasn’t the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world because he was stripped by boxing authorities, in 1967, for forgoing his mandatory military service. Ali based his decision on religious reasons.

This fight was the only time that one of the two fighters hit the canvas in their trilogy of fights as Frazier knocked Ali down in the opening seconds of round 11. Frazier would go on to win the fight by unanimous decision.

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II (Jan. 28, 1974 in New York City)

This is remembered as the least interesting fight of the Ali-Frazier trilogy, because the other two fights are two of the greatest fights in the history of boxing, but it was still a highly entertaining bout.

Ali clearly learned that he needed to fight Frazier differently, so that’s exactly what he did in this fight. Muhammad punched in bunches and would then clinch with Frazier, which didn’t go over well with Smokin’ Joe’s camp.

Ali was awarded an unanimous decision victory.

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III (Oct. 1, 1975 in Philippines)

All that needs to be said is “Thrilla in Manila.”

This was the third and final meeting between the two heavyweights. It was contested in the Philippines at 10am local time and under ridiculous ring temperatures (rumored to be around 120 degrees).

Ali attempted to use his “rope-a-dope” strategy on Frazier, but “Smokin’ Joe” pounded Ali while the champ leaned on the ropes.

During the fight, Frazier’s face became very swollen due to the amount of head strikes he had endured, which was very bad for Frazier because he was almost blind in his left eye.

After the 11th round, Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, told him that he needed to stand more upright as opposed to bobbing and weaving, this ended up being very bad advice as Ali pounded Frazier in the final rounds. Futch decided to stop the fight after the 14th round.

After the fight, Ali said “Frazier quit just before I did. I didn’t think I could fight any more.”

Boxer LaMotta, immortalized in ‘Raging Bull,’ dies at 95

2 Comments

MIAMI (AP) Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life was depicted in the film “Raging Bull,” has died at the age of 95.

His fiancee, Denise Baker, says LaMotta died Tuesday at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia.

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts.

LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson his first defeat. He lost the middleweight title to him in what became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

In his previous fight, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly, LaMotta knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left.

LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee. He said he was promised a shot at a title.

On June 16, 1949, he became middleweight champion when Marcel Cerdan couldn’t continue after the 10th round.

The 1980 film “Raging Bull” was based on LaMotta’s memoir. Actor Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award for it.

Canelo and Golovkin fight to controversial draw

AP Photo
7 Comments

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gennady Golovkin retained his middleweight titles Saturday night, fighting to a draw with Canelo Alvarez in a brutal battle that ended with both fighters with their hands aloft in victory.

The middleweight showdown lived up to its hype as the two fighters traded huge punches and went after each other for 12 rounds. Neither fighter was down and neither appeared seriously hurt but both landed some huge punches to the head that had the crowd screaming in excitement.

Golovkin was the aggressor throughout and landed punches that had put other fighters to the canvas. But he couldn’t put Alvarez down, and the Mexican star more than stood his own in exchanges with Triple G, from Kazakhstan. The two were still brawling as the final seconds ticked down and the fight went to the scorecards.

One judge had Alvarez winning 118-110, a second had it 115-113 in Golovkin’s favor while the third had it 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 114-114.

Golovkin, who has never lost in 38 fights, retained his middleweight titles with the draw. But Alvarez showed that he could not only take Golovkin’s punches but land telling punches of his own.

A frenzied crowd of 22,358 at the T-Mobile Arena roared throughout the fight as the two middleweights put on the kind of show that boxing purists had anticipated. They brawled, used sharp jabs and counter-punched at times, with neither one willing to give the other much ground.

“Congratulations all my friends from Mexico,” Golovkin said. “I want a true fight. I want a big drama show.”

There was plenty of drama late in the fight as Alvarez seemed to rally and rocked Golovkin with uppercuts and big right hands. But just as soon as he landed he often took one back from the slugger so feared that most other fighter avoided him.

“I won seven-eight rounds easily,” Alvarez said.

It was a battle from the opening bell as Golovkin tried to walk Alvarez down but often found himself getting hit from sharp counter punches.

“Today, people give me draw. I focus on boxing,” Golovkin said. “Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”

Golovkin predicted before the fight that the late rounds would resemble a street fight, and in a way they did. Both fighters were willing to trade, and both had no problems landing hard shots to the head.

Golovkin had chased Alvarez for nearly two years, trying to get the signature fight that would pay him millions and make him a pay-per-view draw on his own. Alvarez finally agreed after Golovkin looked vulnerable earlier this year against Daniel Jacobs in a decision win that stopped his knockout streak at 23 fights.