Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Ali thumbed Terrell on purpose. They went into great detail about it in the Facing Ali documentary. In the first fight with Henry Cooper, Cooper had Ali's nose bleeding early in the fight. I think it was the second or third round. Henry boasted about this in the Facing Ali book. I thought he was being delusional but sure enough when I re-watched the fight he was telling the truth; You can clearly see Ali bleeding around the nose. Evidently Henry was getting inside on Ali and landing, because he had his nose bleeding and eventually knocked him down.

As guys like Chuvalo and Cooper proved, it was more than possible to get inside on Ali and land your shot, though timing is essential. Both of them stung him with good shots, as did Karl Mildenburger. But none of them knew how to follow up or finish him. Cooper timed his punch perfectly, as he cornered Ali against the ropes with his hands down and threw it at the precise moment. Chuvalo and Mildenburger got lucky. For Tyson, it wouldn't be luck. He'd work for it and take advantage when the moment arrived. I'd love to see Ali's reaction to Tyson's body punch-uppercut-left hook combination. That would be the ultimate moment of truth: Would Ali survive a combination of bombs from Iron Mike? I doubt it.

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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Entaowed wrote
OK, thanks AJ.

The question & challenge remains: would Ali's lack of fundamentals-but still elusive style-get him KOed when other less skilled tall boxer-types did not in his prime?  If you think so, you are forced to argue that Ali would do worse against prime Tyson that fighters you believe he is significantly better than & would beat head to head.

I don't know about that.
Styles make fights. For example, imo Floyd Patterson was a better fighter than Henry Cooper. (He even knocked him out when they fought). But Henry Cooper was more of a threat against prime Ali than Patterson ever was. Both men fought Ali twice but Cooper, though not as skilled as Patterson, came closer to beating Ali.

It doesn't matter whose "better." What matters is your style, and what your opponent's reaction is to it. Sure Ali was better than the guys Tyson failed to knock out in his prime. But they didn't lean back from punches or fight with their hands down either. They had better defense. They knew how to block jabs. They lacked Ali's overall talent but knew how to defend themselves from the knockout blows. Ali knew Frazier's left hook was coming. He knew Ken Norton would counter his jab. But he had no answer to either.

Also, Tyson was a swarmer. Swarmers are at their best against boxers like Ali. They close the gap and make the out-fighter uncomfortable. The Frazier fights do nothing but further confirm that Tyson would beat Ali. And if you compare Tyson and Frazier, Tyson was stronger, faster, punched with both hands, and threw more combinations. Frazier had more heart, aggression, and stamina, but overall Tyson was more talented.
Tyson had really quick hands on the inside and would rock Ali hard.

If George Chuvalo and Henry Cooper could land on (prime) Ali so much, what do you think a peaking Tyson would do?
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Zorro
Duggerman wrote
Entaowed wrote
OK, thanks AJ.

The question & challenge remains: would Ali's lack of fundamentals-but still elusive style-get him KOed when other less skilled tall boxer-types did not in his prime?  If you think so, you are forced to argue that Ali would do worse against prime Tyson that fighters you believe he is significantly better than & would beat head to head.

I don't know about that.
Styles make fights. For example, imo Floyd Patterson was a better fighter than Henry Cooper. (He even knocked him out when they fought). But Henry Cooper was more of a threat against prime Ali than Patterson ever was. Both men fought Ali twice but Cooper, though not as skilled as Patterson, came closer to beating Ali.

It doesn't matter whose "better." What matters is your style, and what your opponent's reaction is to it. Sure Ali was better than the guys Tyson failed to knock out in his prime. But they didn't lean back from punches or fight with their hands down either. They had better defense. They knew how to block jabs. They lacked Ali's overall talent but knew how to defend themselves from the knockout blows. Ali knew Frazier's left hook was coming. He knew Ken Norton would counter his jab. But he had no answer to either.

Also, Tyson was a swarmer. Swarmers are at their best against boxers like Ali. They close the gap and make the out-fighter uncomfortable. The Frazier fights do nothing but further confirm that Tyson would beat Ali. And if you compare Tyson and Frazier, Tyson was stronger, faster, punched with both hands, and threw more combinations. Frazier had more heart, aggression, and stamina, but overall Tyson was more talented.
Tyson had really quick hands on the inside and would rock Ali hard.

If George Chuvalo and Henry Cooper could land on (prime) Ali so much, what do you think a peaking Tyson would do?
Good post AJ. I too, have always believed Tyson would beat Ali. I saw both in their primes.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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I don't think Ali would get in prime Tyson's head. At his peak, Tyson was just an arrogant as Ali. He once said, "In that ring, I'm a god. How dare they challenge me!" 20 year-old Tyson was a focused warrior. 30 year-old Tyson was insecure, washed up, and faded if he couldn't knock you out early.

I think Tyson would beat Ali post-Kevin Rooney. But at their peaks, I still favor Tyson. It's not because I grew up with Tyson--it's just because I pick his style to beat Ali's. Tyson was hard to hit on the chin in his prime. In fact, Tony Tucker and Bonecrusher Smith only landed one great punch against him in 12 round fights.

Ali was great with his speed and reflexes, but Tyson would slip that jab and before Ali knows it, he's trapped in a corner or against the ropes with his hands down. Tyson's blows were swift, hard, accurate and they came in big numbers; hooks and uppercuts to the body and chin, no way to defend against them all.

We're probably just gonna go in circles. I see Tyson knocking out Ali. The only way he doesn't is if Ali goes into survival mode the way Mitch Green and some of the others did. Speaking of which, it's kind of funny that when Ali ran and held all night in the Frazier rematch, he got the decision. When Mitch Green used those same tactics against Tyson, he (deservedly) lost the fight. Larry Holmes was using the same strategy against Tyson before he got caught during the 4th round. In my view, Tyson would likely knock out Ali late, after attacking his body for a large number of rounds. Or, Ali goes into survival mode and the biased judges would give him the victory.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Entaowed wrote
 But you did not answer anything about the fighters who gave Tyson such trouble, including the one I named you though BEAT a prime Tyson.  IF Tillis really won, it makes a better case that a much better Ali, even with his deficits, could win.  
In the thread about the Tillis-Tyson fight, I admitted that I felt Tyson lost the fight. (Tyson felt the same way). But I also said that Tyson was green. Tillis was one of the first ranked opponents he fought. The fight was a learning experience. Tyson had never fought a big man that could move that way before, and Tillis kept attacking as he ran. Tyson became frustrated and his punch output decreased as the fight progressed. It wasn't Tillis' "talent" that beat Mike. It was the fact that Mike didn't know how to solve the puzzle and basically stopped attacking. Tillis did most of the work in the fight. Likewise, Ali got knocked down by Sonny Banks in 1962 when he was getting seasoned. Do we bring that up? No, because Ali was not yet in his prime. It's debatable if he was in his prime when Cooper knocked him down a year later.

I've already explained in this thread and others how the other guys Tyson failed to KO had better fundamentals than Ali. Like I said, we're just gonna go in circles. We'll never convince each other. But keep in mind that it isn't just Tyson I'd pick to beat prime Ali. I also back Frazier, Marciano and Louis to beat Ali because of their styles.

The computer involved in the Computer Fight with Marciano and Ali picked the style of Rocky to beat Ali. Is it a coincidence that the fantasy computer fight played out almost exactly the way The FOTC did against Joe Frazier? Ali would always have trouble with that swarming style, and Tyson was the most talented of the four great heavyweight swarmers. (Tyson, Marciano, Dempsey, Frazier). If we're talking head to head, he beats all of them. And imo he would knock out Ali too...
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shane
In reply to this post by Zorro
Zorro wrote
Ali was tough. He might have his brains shook up if Tyson landed that uppercut. But if Holyfield could withstand it, so could Ali. Now if Tyson landed a hook or two right after the uppercut, he stands a chance of knocking Ali out. But the uppercut wouldn't do it alone against Ali.
Not fair to compare the chin of Ali to the chin of Holyfield. Holyfield was weak in the body but could take punishment to the head as well as anyone.

It wouldn't be an easy fight for either guy but Tyson would come on strong and knock him out late or get that decision. If Ali thought Frazier was tough...
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Yeah. I pick Louis to beat Ali for different reasons, but that's a whole 'nother thread right there! But the swarmers definitely give Ali fits.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Hit Em' Hard
Ali had too many tools for Tyson. Tyson was great with his style but that's all he could do. Muhammad was well-equipped to handle Tyson.

As for the Frazier comparisons, Frazier fought at such a fast pace. To see a heavyweight fighting at a pace like Henry Armstrong was an amazing feat. Even the announcers in the Fight of The Century commented on it. Ali couldn't keep up with Frazier's constant pressure and aggression. Tyson was ruthless and had a left hook right on par with Frazier but it was Frazier's unyielding pressure and frantic pace that overcame Ali in the first fight and almost beat him in Manilla. Mike couldn't bring it like Joe.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Urban Legend
Hit Em' Hard wrote
Ali had too many tools for Tyson. Tyson was great with his style but that's all he could do. Muhammad was well-equipped to handle Tyson.

As for the Frazier comparisons, Frazier fought at such a fast pace. To see a heavyweight fighting at a pace like Henry Armstrong was an amazing feat. Even the announcers in the Fight of The Century commented on it. Ali couldn't keep up with Frazier's constant pressure and aggression. Tyson was ruthless and had a left hook right on par with Frazier but it was Frazier's unyielding pressure and frantic pace that overcame Ali in the first fight and almost beat him in Manilla. Mike couldn't bring it like Joe.
Tyson came right @ you, threw his assault and would reset. This would give Ali a chance to escape, clinch or fire back. If Mike constantly swarmed and attacked like Joe he could win. But Mike wasn't aggressive enough to beat Ali. Those resets after throwing punches would cost him.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shane
The "Reseting" would not matter. Ali would be on the ground by the time Tyson would "reset." It's amazing that during his whole career, Ali never fought anyone that feints or threw combinations. He never dealt with the kind of beast Tyson was.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shane
Entaowed wrote
Huh, Frazier, Norton (more counterpunching) & others did not throw many combinations?!  And feinting-I have seen Ali move his head back from an unthrown blow, though cannot recall who feinted much.
Come on, bud. When was the last time you saw Norton or Frazier throw dynamite combinations like Tyson or Louis?

Frazier would sometimes throw a double left hook (which would have dropped Ali if not for the ropes catching him) but that's it. Frazier only threw two-punch combinations with his left hook. You tell me one time when you saw Frazier, Norton, or anyone else that Ali fought throw a 5 punch combination consisting of hooks, uppercuts or jabs to the body and the head all at once, at blinding speed and each punch landing accurately? Tyson and Louis would. Lucky for Ali he never fought them.

Jack Johnson and Joe Louis feinted quite often and would time Ali perfectly. Tyson didn't feint much but his timing was impeccable. I know you're rooting for Ali but there are some guys out there that would take full advantage of his fundamental errors.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shogun of Harlem
 Ali was better than anyone Tyson faced in his prime. I'd still pick Tyson to win, although Tyson has on numerous occasions bowed to Ali and said he was the best ever. Cus D'Amato said the same. Both of them were really modest regarding the subject when they appeared on the Arsenio Hall show. Ali said Tyson would put him to sleep if he caught him and says he hit harder than Shavers. But Tyson said Ali was the greatest of all time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIIqgr1XO8M
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shane
Muhammad sparred with Jose Torres. Unfortunately Jose did a horrible job here. Not a good representation of the peekaboo. The real Tyson would not crouch and eat all that leather.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Shane wrote
Muhammad sparred with Jose Torres. Unfortunately Jose did a horrible job here. Not a good representation of the peekaboo. The real Tyson would not crouch and eat all that leather.
Neither Jose nor Floyd Patterson were as effective using the peekaboo as prime Tyson, although I can see why some say Patterson used it best.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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I still favor Tyson to win. However I recently noticed something that goes in Ali's favor. Some tall fighters have a bad habit of ducking into an opponent's blows. The most obvious examples I can think of right now are Alex Stewart and Lennox Lewis. Stewart is 6'3. When he fought Tyson he kept trying to bob and weave, bringing himself down to Tyson's height and making it easier for Tyson to land his shots right on the button. As a result, Stewart was blown out in one round.

Lennox Lewis was guilty of this numerous times. He took blows in the Mercer fight and Holyfield rematch that he didn't have to take by bending down during the exchanges. If you're 6'5, why in the world are you ducking into your opponent's blows? As tall as Lewis is, he should have used his height to his advantage, making it harder for shorter guys to nail him flush on the chin. But then again, when you're getting hit in the body as often as he was in those fights, I can't be so hard on him. I imagine it's hard to keep your posture correct when a slugger with dynamite in his fists is attacking your ribs.

But that ties into what I'm about to say about Ali. Ali used his height to full advantage, even fighting up on his toes. Leaning his head back was a fundamental error because it offered his body and could make him vulnerable to feints, but it made him hard to hit flush on the chin. Ali never bent down to take blows, even when Joe Frazier was exploding on him with those vicious body punches. Ali always kept his head skyward as often as possible. If he could do it against Frazier, he could do it against Tyson.

Like I said earlier, Tyson's style, combined with Ali's fundamental mistakes would result in a savage Tyson knockout. But it wouldn't be easy for either guy. Ali would be hard to hit upstairs, but his body would be wide open and Tyson had a dangerous uppercut to blast his chin with.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Entaowed wrote
We disagree AJ, but ask yourself this: if Tyson could not down or KO other tall guys around his prime, & Ali had a great chin, was not afraid of Tyson, & he was only down before his peak & briefly in the end of the FOTC by a very busy Frazier-why would you presume a Tyson KO?
I've already explained in this thread numerous times why I feel Tyson would knock him out. Instead of repeating myself, I'm gonna post the first Ali-Chuvalo fight. Ali in was in prime yet Chuvalo, a limited heavyweight, managed to close the gap and score more often than not. He landed flush and rocked Ali on many occasions. If Chuvalo could do it so could Tyson and it would be much worse. Re-read some of my previous posts. I went into detail on everything you addressed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRhBnojRQQM
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Apollo
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I can definitely see improvement in Mike's game each year starting in 1985.

James Tillis gave Mike technical problems in 1986. He showed that he had issues dealing with good jabbers. This fight was to Mike was Doug Jones was to Cassius Clay; they learned a lot through that.

In 1987 he a fought a similar fighter in Tony Tucker, he couldn't knock out Tucker but had less technical problems than he had against Tillis.

By 1988 Mike had fully grown into an advaned version of himself. He fought two jabbers that were even better than Tillis and Tucker - Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks. He rushed through Holmes and went all out despite the technical issues Larry was giving him.

Against Spinks, the same thing.

That's why I think that 1988 was Mike's prime. And that's why I think that 1986 Tyson might lose to Holyfield, Lewis and the Klitschko's. But the 1988 version of Mike would walk through them. Possibly even through Muhammad Ali who would probably beat 1986 Mike.

I think 1988 Mike Tyson knocks out 1974 George Foreman.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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Entaowed wrote
Yes I recall your posts AJ.  You fairly could make an argument like that, as I can by seeing how a near & at peak Tyson could not KO less talented & slower HWs.  My only quibble, & it is a judgement call, is was Ali rocked, or rocked on "many occasions", in the 1st Chuvalo fight?  I saw it, maybe I am just not a good judge of this.  Now this was not a close fight, but yes, Chuvalo did land often.

Question is was Ali better, or had a better night, against Cleveland?  I know it was mostly a styles thing, but if we credit Tyson as being greater at least the night be beat Spinks, than say, Green fight not much earlier, we must go with the bext night ever for each of them.  So actually I would make this thread Ali in '66, since if anything this was his most dazzling performace.
Cleveland was just the kind of opponent perfect for Ali. He was big, plodding and slow. He was even slower because of his previous gunshot injury. Ali could always pick his spots against fighters like Liston, Terrell, Cleveland, etc. In fact Cleveland was so slow that Ali could briefly stop moving, plant his feet, rock him with punches, and then retreat. Ali was great, sure. But on that night he looked greater because of his opponent. Someone said in the Tyson-Douglas thread that Douglas only looked sensational because Tyson looked so slow and lazy. I agree with that. Tyson in Tokyo looked a lot like Cleveland Williams against Ali.

Chuvalo was a short swarmer and that style always gives Ali trouble because they slip his jab, cut the ring and close the gap. Ali was fast in his prime but that didn't make him unhittable. Karl Mildenberger landed on Ali but couldn't finish him. Chuvalo landed plenty on Ali but couldn't finish. Doug Jones gave Ali fits because Ali had no idea how to cut the ring or fight as the aggressor.

Those fundamental mistakes would always make Ali vulnerable to others. Sonny Liston wasn't smart enough to take note of it, but whenever he counter-jabbed Ali he almost always landed if you notice. When Liston jabbed first, Ali leaned back from it. But whenever Liston jabbed at Ali as Ali threw a jab, Sonny's jab would land flush. That's how Ken Norton gave Ali problems. The key to out-jabbing Ali is to jab with him. Sonny did it on accident a few times, but it was no accident when Norton did it. And Liston did this against prime Ali. It's a strategy that would have worked if Liston had applied it the way Norton did. The evidence is right there on film.

Tyson threw combinations, and Ali rarely had to deal with that. The one time he did, he was sent staggering into the ropes. Observe.

Photobucket

Frazier could have finished him but thought Ali was conning him. Ali was ready to be taken. And what had him so hurt? A Combination!! Even when Ali was past his prime, Norton, Shavers, Young, etc, none of them put together combinations. If the ropes hadn't caught Ali, he would have been knocked down by Frazier's double left hook. Most of Frazier's combinations were two punches; right hook to the body-left hook to the head, left jab--left hook, or the left hook to the body-left hook to the head. The point of Frazier's two-punch combos was to rattle you, catch you off guard or make you drop your hands with the first punch, then knock you silly with a finishing left hook to the head. That was the goal.

Mike Tyson had combinations that would sometimes run 5-6 punches long, each one landing right on the button and attacking both the head and body simultaneously with both fists. In his long career, Ali never had to deal with such a thing. I would pick Louis and Tyson to knock him out because of it. I just don't see Ali beating Tyson, especially given Ali's flaws, Tyson's combinations and that monster of an uppercut Tyson has. The Uppercut is something else Ali rarely got hit with.

Moejoe wrote
I can definitely see improvement in Mike's game each year starting in 1985.

James Tillis gave Mike technical problems in 1986. He showed that he had issues dealing with good jabbers. This fight was to Mike was Doug Jones was to Cassius Clay; they learned a lot through that.

In 1987 he a fought a similar fighter in Tony Tucker, he couldn't knock out Tucker but had less technical problems than he had against Tillis.

By 1988 Mike had fully grown into an advaned version of himself. He fought two jabbers that were even better than Tillis and Tucker - Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks. He rushed through Holmes and went all out despite the technical issues Larry was giving him.

Against Spinks, the same thing.

That's why I think that 1988 was Mike's prime. And that's why I think that 1986 Tyson might lose to Holyfield, Lewis and the Klitschko's. But the 1988 version of Mike would walk through them. Possibly even through Muhammad Ali who would probably beat 1986 Mike.

I think 1988 Mike Tyson knocks out 1974 George Foreman.
Interesting post my man. I think the problem with Tillis was that Tillis kept giving Tyson misdirection and firing his jab from odd angles. He looked like he couldn't make up his mind whether to copy Ali or Jersey Joe Walcott so he copied both. Tillis was a big man that kept the jab going and kept moving almost non-stop. He also never pulled a Andrew Stewart and foolishly ducked down into Tyson's shots. He used his height to full advantage. I still give the fight to Tillis, especially since Tyson basically gave up and stopped punching midway through the fight. In his fight with Mitch Green, Tyson kept attacking so he deserved the win.

I think Holmes would have been a tougher fight if he were younger. I think Tyson would always beat him however, due to Holmes not moving his head and dropping his left. Plus Tyson was a great finisher unlike the other guys that dropped Holmes. Holmes was fighting the same fight against Tyson that Mitch Green did--hold and run. He didn't get the jab going until the 4th round and was stopped in that round.

Tyson knocking out Foreman is a bold statement. Tyson has the speed to get there first and has more in his arsenal than Frazier, plus Foreman was more vulnerable to right hands than left hooks. Foreman has to be the favorite but I'd still pick Mike to close the gap and crush Foreman. When Tyson rushes him Foreman would back up...not a wise move.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Zombies Ate Me
In reply to this post by Kid Dynamite
49-0 wrote
Tyson's uppercut came right up the middle inbetween your gloves and smashed through your chin. Ali had a terrific chin but would Tyson's uppercut rattle him? Possibly, and then Tyson would throw a left hook for the finish.
I could see that. That's a combination almost impossible to withstand and no one could throw it ferociously  like Tyson. But I still say Ali would have the ring smarts to clinch, lean on and smother Tyson as he tries to go for the kill. Ali recovered fast and knew how to survive. But you could argue he never faced a finisher as good as Tyson. Shavers had Ali rocked and didn't know what to do; Joe Frazier had Ali on the verge of being KO'd but held back because he thought Ali was goofing off. If Tyson caught and hurt Ali I think it would look similar to when Tyson had Holmes hurt but Ali might make it out alive.

I still say Ali survives when Tyson lands but it is true he never met a finisher as good as Tyson.


Kid Dynamite wrote
I've seen that before. Intriguing matchup this is, although I don't know why this is the #1 fantasy matchup on everyone's minds. There are so many other fantasy fights that would be more exciting. How about Jack Dempsey-Rocky Marciano? Lennox Lewis-George Foreman? Evander Holyfield-Razor Ruddock? To name a few...

I don't get involved in these Tyson-Ali debates too often. Muhammad had an ATG chin. But as AJ said several times, the style of Mike Tyson would also give Muhammad some problems. The short guys that get under his jab and pressure their way to get inside could sneak those left hooks to his unprotected jaw. What year did George Chuvalo fight Muhammad Ali? 1966? 1967? Wasn't that during his prime? Well, George landed an assload of big left hooks on Muhammad Ali but could never finish the job or seriously hurt him. Mike Tyson would do even better. And this was the PEAK Muhammad Ali.

Joe Louis said in his article "how i would have clobbered clay" that George Chuvalo and Karl Mindenburger had Muhammad in position to finish him but didn't know what to do. There's truth to that. Muhammad had weaknesses even during his peak.

You also have to look at his opposition at his peak. Consider his best performances..

Sonny Liston--Was old and undertrained for both fights. He threw the rematch. Prime Sonny would have performed better and prolly hurt Ali because he had the two punches to ruin Ali, a crushing left jab and a left hook.

Floyd Patterson--Was old and had back problems in '65 when he lost to Muhammad

George Chuvalo-- Not in Ali's league..

Cleveland Williams-- He was washed up and was shot a year before facing Muhammad. Though he'd probably never beat Ali anyway

Zorra Folley?-- Please

Mike's competition wasn't the best either but the more I think about it the more I see Tyson hurting Muhammad bad when he gets close.
Great post and this evens things out a bit. Ali and Tyson were two of the best boxers head to head in their primes but neither fought opponents to really give them a competitive match at their peaks. If only Ali could have fought Holmes, Frazier and some of the others in the 60s. And if only Tyson could have fought Lewis and Holyfield in the '80s.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Shane
Entaowed wrote

1) It is unintentionally misleading to say Chuvalo & Mildenburger "couldn't finish".  It implies Ali was ready to go, & folks will assume either fight was close which was not the case.  
Joe Louis said that Chuvalo and Mildenburger got their openings by mistake and "fouled it up." I don't think it means that Ali was ready to go per se, but that the window of opportunity to really do damage wasn't taken advantage of. When someone like Tyson or Louis has you hurt they won't let you escape. Ever.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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In reply to this post by Entaowed
1) It is unintentionally misleading to say Chuvalo & Mildenburger "couldn't finish".  It implies Ali was ready to go, & folks will assume either fight was close which was not the case.  It is not that these guys were so deficient as much as the strange skill set, toughness & native talent like speed that thwarted guys.  Chivalo was good, not an elite world class fighter, though he like everyone got up for Ali-who said he "brought out the best" in others (& Frazier did this for him).  Karl was very good, the 1st lefty to fight for the title, this was a new challenge & tough for all.
Shane said what I was gonna say. Perhaps Chuvalo and Mildenburger wouldn't stop Ali. They had him in the danger zone but were's skilled or clever enough to finish him off. When someone like Tyson or Louis rocks you they immediately follow up with bone-crushing combinations at rapid speed with brutal power and perfect accuracy. Chuvalo and Mildenburger weren't great but they landed some good shots on Ali at his best when he was full of speed. If they can so could Tyson, Louis, Marciano, etc.

2) Ali was not in his prime yet against Jones, it would not be so close if held a couple years later.  He learned there, as you grant was true a few times with Tyson (Ribalta is another good example).
I think Jones would always give Ali trouble. Ali's fight against Jimmy Young was a repeat of his performance against Jones. Ali could not fight as the aggressor. He could not cut the ring. He was accustomed to countering and picking off guys as they came to him. Evander Holyfield had the same problem with Chris Byrd. He was used to being the guy doing the running and looked bad when he had to play "the hunter." Ali was green against Jones and old against Young, but even at his peak I don't see him doing well as an aggressor. He never fought that way. Ali said once that Walcott would give him problems. I think Billy Conn and Chris Bryd would also, because they'd give Ali a taste of his own medicine.

3) Ali made adjustments on the fly (though not well against Norton, but he was much slower then).  Liston counter jabbing would not likely give him the fight, but make it tougher.
Liston was aging against Ali and badly under-trained for the first fight. When you watch their first fight take a look at how Ali's rhythm was ruined when Sonny smashed him with the jab. If Sonny based his entire strategy off counter-jabbing Ali the way Norton did, I think he'd beat him, honestly. That's the best way to land that jab on Ali. Plus, as hated as Liston was, he was cheered when he fought Ali because Ali was more reviled than Liston. The fight would still be close and the biased judges might lean toward Sonny. But like I said earlier, it wouldn't happen because Sonny wasn't that smart. He just wanted to knock Ali out and fell into victim to Ali's bag of tricks in trying to do so. But watch the fight again and take note of how whenever Ali jabbed first and Sonny countered with his jab, it landed flush, just like Norton. It was when Sonny was aggressive and jabbed at Ali first that he made mistakes.

4) There is some truth to what you say about what Ali faced, but hold on a minute: Ali, who fought Professionally for over 2 decades through the greatest HW era ever, never faced basic challenges like decent combinations?  That sounds extreme.  Ali also thwarted combinations or reduced their efficacy, through speed, clinching, rope-a dope...Your position seems both somewhat fair yet overstated.
I'm being honest. Ali never faced someone with brilliant dynamite combinations like Tyson or Louis. Henry Cooper? Ernie Terrell? Zora Folley? Cleveland Williams? George Foreman? Sonny Liston? Ken Norton? None of Ali's opponents were as skilled in combination punches the way Tyson and Louis were. Floyd Patterson naturally had the same style as Tyson and used many of the same combinations, but he was past his prime both times he fought Ali. In the rematch he rocked Ali pretty good several times but was too old to really be a threat. Ali could take a big punch and would often clinch or do something wise to keep from getting hit again, but none of those guys were as quick or precise as Tyson or Louis when they threw combinations. Plus, Tyson and Louis attacked both the body and head. Ali wouldn't see the blows coming. Most guys go for the face again after they rock you. That's why Ali was so shocked by that Joe Frazier double left hook. He didn't see it coming and didn't have time to clinch or run. Ali's brains would be too shock up to clinch if Tyson hit him in the body, smashed him with the uppercut and then landed a left hook to the chin. Ali would be on the canvas. Keep in mind also that the left hook was the one punch Ali was always vulnerable to, and Tyson had one of the best left hooks in the history of the heavyweights. It was quick, hard and precise. Tyson knocked Trevor Berbrick down 3 times with one punch.

5) There was a great article we all read recently about how Ali would beat Louis, & I am confident it is correct.  Louis, however great his combinations, did not have the speed & swarming technique more likely to trouble him.  I am very surprised that thogh you rate The Brown Bomber so relatively low (#9), & he did not have a style most likely to thwart a boxer, you pick him head to head vs. ali.
I don't recall that article. But I pick Louis to beat Ali too. 15 rounds is a long time. Louis would get picked apart and look bad for most of it. He'd definitely be behind on the cards. But Ali was not "unhittable." Louis could cut the ring despite not being as aggressive as a Tyson or Frazier. Louis would catch Ali with hands low against the ropes or in a corner at some point. He'd whack him in the ribs when he'd get close enough. I don't believe Louis would never get an opening, especially when Ali's fundamental flaws are involved. Ali's habit of leaning back from blows would also be dangerous against Louis because Louis could feint him out. He'd fake a punch and when Ali's head is back in position Louis would nail him flush and then let loose with the Joe Louis specials. And Ali's hands would be down, making it easier for The Brown Bomber. Joe was too much of a technician for Ali. I rated Louis low because I pick several guys to beat him head to head. But Ali is not one of them.

6) Similarly in the Rock-Paper-Sissors style, sluggers beat swarmers, & in real life Cus had Tyson convinced Foreman is the one man who would devastate him!  And Tyson would least like to fight another slugger, Liston.  Now due to his speed & accuracy, I can see a pick for Tyson, though i favor peak Foreman.

But why on earth would you think that George would take a step back vs. Tyson?  Unless you mean to get punching room, which is not the same thing, + he used his great pushing strength to push folks like Frazier back, AND he would not need to vs. Tyson, who was more of a mid range, coming in guy, not an infighter.
When Tyson comes right at you, it's almost natural instinct to go backward because you don't wanna get hit. Watch Frazier-Foreman 1. When Frazier rushed out there slinging left hooks, what did Foreman do? What any smart man would do. Leap back!! When Frazier got close Foreman would shove him off, but Foreman was scared to death and admitted so. Foreman would not stand there and try to catch Tyson coming in. If we're talking peak Tyson here, Foreman would not land easy because of Tyson's head movement. I think Foreman would be a bit freaked when Tyson rushes him. Tyson would probably catch him against the ropes. The fight could go either way. Depends on who lands first. Again, Foreman is the favorite but I back Mike because of his speed, accuracy and hard punch. Foreman wouldn't know what hit him.

7) Only other quibble is that Ali was a lesser fighter, much less foot speed, by the FOTC.  Ali would win at least as many rounds as Frazier did if both at their peak, & unlikely Ali would be out on his feet.  Tyson would never be as busy as peak Frazier either, especially since he would not be dropping those very short hooks/infighting.  

Tyson COULD catch his with multi-combination bombs, but Ali also could stifle, frustrate, & drop a ton of leather on Tyson.  Though I have Tyson #2 all time head to head, & with his speed & short PEAK abilities, you can make a good case.
It would be a close fight. I've admitted myself earlier in this thread that Tyson attacked in spurts and then reset, allowing guys to clinch him or catch a breather. Teddy Atlas refers to this as "silent contracts." Ali would never go for that. When Tyson slows down Ali would let him have it! But again, a shootout with Tyson wouldn't be smart for Ali, especially if Tyson is in close. I mentioned the other day that Ali, like Holmes, used his height to full advantage and would not bend and duck down so Tyson could hit him easier. It would be a great fight for sure. Tyson wasn't as busy as Frazier but he was quicker and more powerful.

To go back to the Chuvalo comparison, if he could land all those shots on prime Ali so could Frazier and Tyson. There's no reason to believe they couldn't. Frazier could punch for sure, but it was more so his fast pace and relentless pressure that troubled Ali. (The left hook worked in his favor too). But against Tyson it wouldn't be the pace Ali had to worry about. It would be the swift destruction when Tyson opens up and lands on him.

I really don't think FOTC Ali was that slow. He was 29 and still in his prime. Frazier was just an animal and would have overcome most other heavyweights on that night. Ali tried to out-muscle Frazier and stop him early. When that failed he tried to dance but Frazier's body attacks slowed him down. In the 60s Ali never had to deal with a force like Frazier. Given the issues he had with Chuvalo I don't think he would win.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Sivul
Duggerman wrote
Liston was aging against Ali and badly under-trained for the first fight. When you watch their first fight take a look at how Ali's rhythm was ruined when Sonny smashed him with the jab. If Sonny based his entire strategy off counter-jabbing Ali the way Norton did, I think he'd beat him, honestly. That's the best way to land that jab on Ali. Plus, as hated as Liston was, he was cheered when he fought Ali because Ali was more reviled than Liston. The fight would still be close and the biased judges might lean toward Sonny. But like I said earlier, it wouldn't happen because Sonny wasn't that smart. He just wanted to knock Ali out and fell into victim to Ali's bag of tricks in trying to do so. But watch the fight again and take note of how whenever Ali jabbed first and Sonny countered with his jab, it landed flush, just like Norton. It was when Sonny was aggressive and jabbed at Ali first that he made mistakes.
Brilliant. I hadn't noticed that but you're absolutely right.

As for this fight (Ali versus Tyson) I pick Tyson by knockout.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Apollo
Banned User
In reply to this post by Shogun of Harlem
@ Dugger - From that I know, the Liston-Ali fight (first one) was numerical not a success. I don't know if that many people were cheering Liston or if Clay was known at that time at all.
I think you underestimate Ali's speed though. He was way too fast for Sonny, I don't know if a different usage of his jab would've changed much. He had the chance to do it in the rematch and basically quit.

I think Ali became a star AFTER that fight and the rematch, and also due to refusing going to war. But that's just mine impression - maybe someone who read books on Ali has some more infomation.
I also have the impression that Ali's fight during his run in the 1970ies were more famous - Frazier, Norton, Foreman - those are the real famous fights, everybody knows the Rumble in the Jungle. But Ali was physically way past his best at that time already.

I have a question for everybody - If your life depended on picking the outcome of Ali vs. Tyson - who do you pick?

I think I would confidently pick the man who always relied on his smarts. But I don't deny that I'd be intimidated by Tyson for the first time, lol.
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Entaowed
This post was updated on .
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Re: Muhammad Ali (1967) Versus Mike Tyson (1988)

Duggerman
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In reply to this post by Apollo
Moejoe wrote
@ Dugger - From that I know, the Liston-Ali fight (first one) was numerical not a success. I don't know if that many people were cheering Liston or if Clay was known at that time at all.
Clay was known, and hated! He was black and a bigmouth braggart. People paid money to see him fight hoping to see him lose. Ali got the idea from Gorgeous George, an arrogant heel wrestler from back in the day. The Liston-Ali fights were the only time Liston received cheers, but it was only because he was perceived as the lesser of two evils. Ali became a worldwide phenomenon when he KO'd Foreman. He could do no wrong after that. But in the 60's he was despised.
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