Muhammad Ali's Speed

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
12 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Muhammad Ali's Speed

Duggerman
Administrator
This post was updated on .
Some guys here are in love with Ali's speed. Certainly he was the fastest heavyweight of all time. (Floyd Patterson arguably threw quicker hooks, but Ali had the quicker jab and straight right). Ali's speed of hand and foot are unmatched.

Personally I think his speed was his blessing and his curse because, as great as it was, people started beating the guy up once he started to lose it. And even in his prime he wasn't untouchable. George Chuvalo landed blows on Ali quite often during their first fight. Karl Mildenburger also got some good licks on Ali. This is why, regardless of how fast Ali was, I can envisions him getting in major trouble with Louis, Tyson, Marciano, etc. If Chuvalo can land on him often why couldn't they?

As sensational and surreal as his speed was, I don't think it would always keep him out of trouble. What do you guys think?

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Sivul
His speed was a big part of who he was as a boxer, speed that was unmatched and allowed him to get away with boxing "sins" like leaning back from punches, leaving his hands low and all that. I also disagree with those who say Ali was "unhittable" in his prime because of his speed. Look at the guys he fought during his first title reign. There were no ATGs to set him straight. Old slow Liston, Ernie Terrell, Zora Folley, Cleveland Williams, George Chuvalo, Floyd Patterson? Of course these guys aren't going to be a real threat but like you said, it is telling that Chuvalo was hitting him more often than not.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

redfeng007
In reply to this post by Duggerman
The problem is Ali could not generate enough punching power to finish those opponents early.

He may give a lot of good hits, but not hard enough to finish them.

That is when his opponents started to expose his weakness in the mid rounds.

If you can choose, u won't want to drag the fight too long, provide opportunities for his opponents.

Lewis finished Razor & Andrew Golota ASAP.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

49-0
In reply to this post by Duggerman
Duggerman wrote
And even in his prime he wasn't untouchable. George Chuvalo landed blows on Ali quite often during their first fight. Karl Mildenburger also got some good licks on Ali. This is why, regardless of how fast Ali was, I can envisions him getting in major trouble with Louis, Tyson, Marciano, etc. If Chuvalo can land on him often why couldn't they?

As sensation and surreal as his speed was, I don't think it would always keep him out of trouble. What do you guys think?
I agree 110%
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Entaowed
This post was updated on .
CONTENTS DELETED
The author has deleted this message.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Duggerman
Administrator
Entaowed wrote
yeah I know all about the combinations that COULD finish him
Don't forget about the nasty uppercut of guys like Louis and Tyson. Ali was rarely hit by uppercuts and when he was (by Foreman) he was out on his feet. Foreman was unaware and didn't finish him.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Rosco
In reply to this post by Sivul
Sivul wrote
His speed was a big part of who he was as a boxer, speed that was unmatched and allowed him to get away with boxing "sins" like leaning back from punches, leaving his hands low and all that. I also disagree with those who say Ali was "unhittable" in his prime because of his speed. Look at the guys he fought during his first title reign. There were no ATGs to set him straight. Old slow Liston, Ernie Terrell, Zora Folley, Cleveland Williams, George Chuvalo, Floyd Patterson? Of course these guys aren't going to be a real threat but like you said, it is telling that Chuvalo was hitting him more often than not.
Bruh, what u said. Imagine if Ali's first reign consisted of challengers such as Louis, Marciano, Tyson, etc? Huge speed or not, one of them would upset him. Ali's speed was full of swag but he looked even better because he was fighting cats not in his league.

There's a thread somewhere here about how it may not be true that Ali had a "peak" performance against Cleveland Williams because Cleveland was old and slow even suffering from a gunshot wound. Almost ANY prime heavyweight champion in history would have looked amazing against Cleveland that night. If Ali had pummelled a prime Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano the way he did Williams then you could definitely say it was a peak performance. but its not a fair assessment because it was a slow injured man he beat up real bad.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Evolution
I spoke in another thread about how Muhammad was the opposite of Earnie Shavers. When Ali was getting seasoned, his speed was winning him fights with ease. When Earnie Shavers was getting seasoned, it was his power that set him apart from the rest. Power so crushing that his team neglected to work on anything else. In Ali's case it was his speed that set him apart from other heavyweights.

Angelo Dundee tried to teach Muhammad the basics early in his career but Muhammad was having success training himself basically so he didn't change anything. To this day no other heavyweights have come close to matching Muhammad's speed. Rocky Marciano called Muhammad "the fastest man on wheels" and that statement stills stands up today.

Let's say Muhammad didn't have his speed. He is also cut resistant, extremely tough, has a granite chin, has a lot of heart, an accurate jab and more ring smarts than perhaps any other boxer. Even when he was past his physical prime in the '70s he still reigned supreme over younger boxers like George Foreman, Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers, Joe Frazier and others.

Duggerman and I are both fans of the singer, Prince. In one of our conversations he said something interesting once which stays with me today that I agree with. He said that if you take away Prince's great  falsetto singing voice, he'd still be one of the greatest artists of all time. He'd still be able to play all those instruments, write the songs, produce the music, dance, do the splits, perform and the whole nine. You take just one of his talents away and he's still a monster.

You could say the same thing about Muhammad Ali. Take away his speed and what have you got? A man who is still the greatest of all time because of his other talents.

To counter one statment by Rosco earlier about Ali's competition during the '60s. I don't see prime Louis, Tyson or Marciano being able to cope with Muhammad's speed. No way. Let's use Rocky for example. Did Rocky fight anyone with speed anywhere close to Muhammad? No. Rocky was getting beat up by Jersey Joe Walcott until knocking him out in round 13. Now imagine if that had been Muhammad Ali in there? Joe Louis was also slapped around by Jersey Joe Walcott as well as Billy Conn and Bob Foster. Their speed and mobility was the problem. Muhammad would be an even bigger nightmare.

As for Mike Tyson, Muhammad might need need his speed to beat him. Depending on the circumstances, you could argue that prime Evander Holyfield may beat '70s Muhammad. I can't say the same about Mike Tyson. Muhammad always beats him, speed or no speed.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Duggerman
Administrator
But Evolution, the victories over Norton and Young are really questionable. I personally think Frazier should have won the rematch in 1974 (all Ali did was run and hold without consequence). Ali's popularity got him the nod against biased judges in some of those fights. Even the fight with Shavers was close. But in close situations like that, the judges favor Ali.

I found this article about Ali's speed. Interesting.

Muhammad Ali was more than just a fighter he was a symbol of the 1960’s, a revolutionary figure who was a voice of civil rights, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and the Nation of Islam. Despite the political symbolism that surrounded his career, love him or hate him, there can be no denying that Muhammad Ali was a truly great fighter once the bell rang. He was three times heavyweight champion of the world (1964-1970, 1974-1978, 1978-1979) and dominated the better part of two decades of the heavyweight division. He made a total of 19 successful title defenses.

The Muhammad Ali of 60’s was the fastest heavyweight ever. In the May 5, 1969 Sports Illustrated, Ali’s jab was measured with an omegascope. Ali’s jab, it was found, could smash a balsa board 16.5 inches away in 19/100 of a second. It actually covered the distance in 4/100 of a second, which is the blink of an eye. Jimmy Jacobs, who owned the world’s largest collection of fight films, said that on film tests with a synchronizer Ali’s jab was faster than that of Sugar Ray Robinson. Jacobs contended that Ali was not only the fastest heavyweight, but also the fastest fighter he ever saw on film.

Marv Jenson, who managed Gene Fullmer, concurred saying, “Ali has the fastest hands on any heavyweight I have ever seen.”

Bob Foster, the world light-heavyweight champion agreed, saying, in an interview after their fight, “He has no business being as fast as he is. I never saw that right hand.”

Author John Durant described him as having “lightning fast hands and a pair of legs that moved around the ring like a ballet dancer. He would float just out of range with his hands dangling at his side as if to taunt his opponent.”

Ali made a lot of mistakes in the ring such as dropping his hands low, holding his right hand out too far when he jabbed so he could not block a jab in return, telegraphing his right uppercut by dropping his right hand, and completely neglecting body punching. However Ali, in his prime, was able to out-speed his mistakes. Eddie Futch commented, “Ali takes his mistakes, shows them to you, and then beats you with them.” Ali got away with his mistakes because of his astoundingly quick reflexes, speed of foot, and uncanny ability to gauge distance.

Ali danced gracefully across the ring, his lateral movement and fleetness of foot made him the master of ring center. Ali’s judge of distance was also phenomenal. He divided the ring into “safety zones” and “danger zones.” In a demonstration done in a boxing ring for Sports Illustrated, (See May 5, 1969 SI), with sparring partner Lee Carr, when Ali was in a “safety zone” he appeared to be in a position to be easily hit, especially with his hands dangling down at his side. That’s what Carr thought. He decided that a left jab would be long enough to reach him. Ali smugly held his ground and with a slight move of his head Carr’s jab fell two inches short. “I can move in on him,” said Carr, “but I can’t seem to get to him.”

Historian Don Cogswell wrote, (IBRO Journal # 81), “Muhammad Ali, in his first title reign, presented such a speed disparity between contestants as to appear supernatural. The flurry that dropped a befuddled Brian London in the third frame, the right that stopped an earnest Zora Folley in the 7th, presented by the right that immediately preceded it (seen by Angelo Dundee and a few others,) suggested that Ali was operating in another time zone.”

Ali refused induction into the Army in 1967 and went into forced exile losing three and a half of his best years as a fighter. When he returned his legs were not what they once were. Ali, fighting more flat-footed than before, revealed some never before tested traits such as heart, determination, and the ability to take a heavy punch.

In their March 8, 1971 classic “Fight of the Century” Ali faced Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden for the right to be called “champion”. It was the first time two undefeated heavyweight champions ever fought for the title. In a vintage battle Joe Frazier fought the perfect fight pounding Ali’s body and flooring him in the final round to gain a clear decision victory. The left hook that dropped Ali would have finished most fighters, but Ali was up quickly and was fighting back when the round ended.

Ali came back winning 10 fights in a row before losing to Ken Norton, who broke his jaw, in winning a 12 round decision. Ali narrowly won the rematch. It seemed as though Ali was winding down as all great fighters do. Frazier lost the title and it appeared as though Ali was on the way out, but he was not done yet! He defeated Frazier by decision and earned a chance to regain his lost crown.

The defining fight of Ali’s career was his championship match against undefeated heavyweight destroyer George Foreman. Big George was 40-0 with 37 knockouts and had simply annihilated the two men (Frazier and Norton) that had given Ali his toughest fights. Ali was a 3-1 underdog going in against the new heavyweight champion and few gave him a chance to survive the thunderous fists of the man that one boxing magazine called, “the most powerful heavyweight champion ever.”

Ali surprised even his most ardent fans. In a brilliant strategic fight Ali sought to tire his man by fighting off the ropes, pulling back, evading and rolling with all of his opponent's hardest punches and then countering with quick jabs and right hand leads. Ali displayed some of his once famous speed; after Ali nailed George with several furious jabs he began talking to him, “Didn’t they tell you, sucker? Didn’t they tell you I am the fastest heavyweight that ever lived?”

Foreman punched himself out. In the eighth round Ali caught a visibly tiring Foreman chasing him off the ropes and knocked him out. George said years later, (Champions Forever video 1989), “He surprised me with this lightning speed that he wasn’t supposed to have at his age."

Muhammad Ali was back on top having reclaimed the title that was unjustly taken from him, he was the heavyweight champion of the world once again. Ali's popularity soared and he would make 10 successful title defenses in his second reign as champion, one of them a rubber match with Joe Frazier. Many analysts have called the third fight with Frazier the greatest heavyweight championship fight in history.

It was described as a drama in 3 acts by the Oct. 13, 1975 Sports Illustrated, 1) Ali, 2) Frazier, and 3) Ali. Muhammad pummeled his foe in the first five rounds. Ali buckled Joe’s knees two times in the first round. In the third Frazier was shaken twice as Ali hit him at will with his quick two-fisted attack. In the middle rounds Frazier began to work his way back into the fight with strong body punching. In the sixth round a pair of wicked left hooks had Ali in no mans land. Frazier kept coming and Ali grew weary. “Exhausted and contemplating quitting, Ali slumped on his stool at the end of the tenth round.” The eleventh round was no better for the champion. Writer Mark Kram reported, “Ali got trapped in Frazier’s corner and blow after blow bit at his melting face, and specks of spittle flew from his mouth." “Lawd have mercy!” Bundini shrieked.” Ali proved that he had the courage, determination, and will that make a great champion. Frazier’s left eye began to swell and his vision faded. By the thirteenth round Frazier could no longer see the punches coming. Ali was finding Frazier with long right hands and punishing him severely. Joe's corner was forced to stop the fight before the 15th round bell, as he could no longer defend himself.

Perhaps Frazier described Ali best, “Lawdy, Lawdy, I hit him with punches that would have brought down the walls of a city. He’s a great and mighty champion.”

Ali was not a heavy hitter but he beat some good ones including Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers. For two decades of the heavyweight division there was not a significant heavyweight that he did not meet in the ring.

Muhammad Ali is rated as the # 1 heavyweight of all time by such authorities as Herbert Goldman, Nigel Collins, Steve Farhood, and Arthur Harris. Bert Sugar rates Ali at # 3. Cox's Corner considers Ali to be the # 2 heavyweight of all time.


http://coxscorner.tripod.com/ali.html
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

precious
In reply to this post by Sivul
Sivul, Good points on Ali's 1st reign opponents, kind of evens the score on the critics of Louis & Marciano so often accused of fighting bums. It's very easy to make a clip showing a boxers best moments like this. Certainly Ali had great footwork, slipping, dodging punches like no one before but lacked genuine power in those fast but flicking punches. Joe Louis punched with meaning & in close had devastating speed & accuracy, as the young Tyson did. Only 3 fights for me elevate Ali to mythical status, The FOC being by far the best followed by an incredible performance against Foreman in the rumble plus of course the Thrilla which could just as easily gone Frazier’s way. Both were finished as great fighters after this gutsy brawl. Ok Ali lost 3 peak years but to me that has become a boring cop out as Tyson also had the same scenario albeit for different reasons. I loved Ali as a boy but I sat & watched the robbery in the Yankee stadium & just couldn't defend the decision, plain boxing politics so in my mind Norton had his number. Add arguable but possible losses to Jimmy Young & Earnie shavers & the 70's Ali just didn't look good in my mind. Ali should never have fought past the Thrilla so critics of Marciano should give him some credit for quitting while the going was good
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

49-0
In reply to this post by Entaowed
Entaowed wrote
A great swarmer has the best chance, though prime for prime I do not see Frazoer or Marciano likely to win.  Though it is no very difficult case to make.  Rocky was indefatigable, but he did not have near the speed, accuracy, or even reach of Frazier.
Rocky was better than Chuvalo and look at Chuvalo's fight with prime Ali.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Muhammad Ali's Speed

Westmoreland
49-0 wrote

Rocky was better than Chuvalo and look at Chuvalo's fight with prime Ali.
I agree. Chuvalo landed quite a bit on prime Ali. Rocky hit harder and applied so much more aggression and a much higher workrate. the body punches would take a toll eventually. I agree with the Computer fight largely but I doubt Rocky could knock Ali out. Back then people didn't know how strong Ali's chin was.