Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

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Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Duggerman
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We all know Muhammad Ali had one of the best chins of all time. He was rarely hurt, and was victorious over some of the hardest punchers in history —George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Earnie Shavers, Cleveland Williams, Ron Lyle, etc. Ali even kept going after Ken Norton broke his jaw!!

But, who came the closest to knocking him out? I can only think of three occasions.

In the FOTC, we all remember the beautiful left hook Frazier floored Ali with in the 15th round. It was swift, brutal and precise, smashing Ali right on the jaw. Personally, it looked to me like Ali was unconscious until he went crashing to the floor. It appeared that he regained consciousness when he landed, but of course he recovered really quickly and was on his feet again in seconds. But I do believe Ali was unconscious until he hit the canvas.

Ali later admitted that during the Rumble in the Jungle, Foreman had Ali out on his feet after landing a thunderous uppercut, but Foreman was not aware of this, unfortunately for him. Ali was out but leaned on Foreman until he got his wits together again. You could argue that Foreman legitimately knocked out Ali for a few seconds but was getting tired himself and was unaware. Damn.

Oh, I think I’ll add the Henry Cooper knockdown to this list. Muhammad got up right away but he was a zombie. His corner revived him with smelling salt and we all know Dundee famously cut the glove to buy Ali more time. But if it wasn’t the end of the round, and if the ropes hadn’t broke his fall, I really think Henry would have finished him off.

Do any of you agree with my opinions? And can you think of any other times Ali came really close to suffering a knockout loss?

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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

GatorPurify
Duggerman wrote


We all know Muhammad Ali had one of the best chins of all time. He was rarely hurt, and was victorious over some of the hardest punchers in history —George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Earnie Shavers, Cleveland Williams, Ron Lyle, etc. Ali even kept going after Ken Norton broke his jaw!!

But, who came the closest to knocking him out? I can only think of three occasions.

In the FOTC, we all remember the beautiful left hook Frazier floored Ali with in the 15th round. It was swift, brutal and precise, smashing Ali right on the jaw. Personally, it looked to me like Ali was unconscious until he went crashing to the floor. It appeared that he regained consciousness when he landed, but of course he recovered really quickly and was on his feet again in seconds. But I do believe Ali was unconscious until he hit the canvas.

Ali later admitted that during the Rumble in the Jungle, Foreman had Ali out on his feet after landing a thunderous uppercut, but Foreman was not aware of this, unfortunately for him. Ali was out but leaned on Foreman until he got his wits together again. You could argue that Foreman legitimately knocked out Ali for a few seconds but was getting tired himself and was unaware. Damn.

Oh, I think I’ll add the Henry Cooper knockdown to this list. Muhammad got up right away but he was a zombie. His corner revived him with smelling salt and we all know Dundee famously cut the glove to buy Ali more time. But if it wasn’t the end of the round, and if the ropes hadn’t broke his fall, I really think Henry would have finished him off.

Do any of you agree with my opinions? And can you think of any other times Ali came really close to suffering a knockout loss?
Man it’s a toss up between Cooper and Smokin Joe. Cooper dropped Ali and you can tell his eyes were glazed. Frazier definitely hurt Ali in round 11 of the FOTC. Joe threw the left hook body then head combination. Ali’s legs immediately turned to jello. If the rope wasn’t there the fights over. Ali tried to play it off and that was a smart move. But he was hurt bad. As they say the punches you don’t see hurt the most.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Friday The 13th...
GatorPurify wrote
Man it’s a toss up between Cooper and Smokin Joe. Cooper dropped Ali and you can tell his eyes were glazed. Frazier definitely hurt Ali in round 11 of the FOTC. Joe threw the left hook body then head combination. Ali’s legs immediately turned to jello. If the rope wasn’t there the fights over. Ali tried to play it off and that was a smart move. But he was hurt bad. As they say the punches you don’t see hurt the most.
I am inclined to agree with you about Henry Cooper, brother. If not for the ropes and as Henry said, "the bloody bell rang" Ali would have been in serious trouble. He got up on instinct but wouldn't have been able to defend himself. Just my opinion.

I disagree about the 11th round in 1971 though. Ali would have likely went down had the ropes not been there, but I don't think he would have been knocked out. If he immedieatly got to his feet in the 15th round I think he would have survived the 11th round also.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Duggerman
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GatorPurify wrote
Man it’s a toss up between Cooper and Smokin Joe. Cooper dropped Ali and you can tell his eyes were glazed. Frazier definitely hurt Ali in round 11 of the FOTC. Joe threw the left hook body then head combination. Ali’s legs immediately turned to jello. If the rope wasn’t there the fights over. Ali tried to play it off and that was a smart move. But he was hurt bad. As they say the punches you don’t see hurt the most.

Friday The 13th... wrote
I am inclined to agree with you about Henry Cooper, brother. If not for the ropes and as Henry said, "the bloody bell rang" Ali would have been in serious trouble. He got up on instinct but wouldn't have been able to defend himself. Just my opinion.

I disagree about the 11th round in 1971 though. Ali would have likely went down had the ropes not been there, but I don't think he would have been knocked out. If he immedieatly got to his feet in the 15th round I think he would have survived the 11th round also.
I agree with both posts, more so Friday though. I don't think Ali would have been out in the 11th round. He was very hurt though, but it's highly possible that he would have been knocked out if Joe had pounced on him right away. Another baaaad left hook like that and it would have been over. If Joe had not hesitated, he could have stopped in him that round. But I don't think the punches that had Ali in trouble would have been the end, but the beginning of the end. So I agree with both of you, just in different ways.

Ali's legs were spaghetti against Cooper. Ali had not yet filled out yet, and was only 22 or 21 years old. He was still inexperienced and had been dropped by Sonny Banks previously, but without doubt the Henry Cooper knockdown had been the hardest he'd been hit up to that point in his career. Even though the Herny Cooper scare had occurred only a year before, Ali had improved tremendously by the time he fought Liston. It all came together for him by that point.

What about Earnie Shavers? Ali was quite old then, and already showing signs of Parkinson's. Shavers rocked him hard in the second round and had the champ staggering, but was always a lousy finisher. Earnie was so accustomed to dropping guys flat with one punch that on the rare occasion when his prey remained on their feet, he had no idea how to follow up. But if he had the killer instinct and finishing abilities of a Joe Louis, Mike Tyson or Sonny Liston, Ali would have been knocked out that night.

It seems like the few times Ali could have been knocked out, he was saved by pure luck. The bell rang and the ropes broke his fall against Cooper, Joe hesitated, Shavers had no idea how to finish, and Foreman had no idea Ali was out on his feet for a good couple of seconds.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Shogun of Harlem
I don't think Ali was "out on his feet" versus Foreman. If he was out, he wouldn't have remained standing, especially with Foreman pounding away at him like that. Remember in the movie Ali with Will Smith? According to that film, Ali was on the verge of being KO'd. He was fading but found his reserve.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Duggerman
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Shogun of Harlem wrote
I don't think Ali was "out on his feet" versus Foreman. If he was out, he wouldn't have remained standing, especially with Foreman pounding away at him like that. Remember in the movie Ali with Will Smith? According to that film, Ali was on the verge of being KO'd. He was fading but found his reserve.
Well, Ali admitted himself more than once that Foreman had him knocked out on his feet. Although it was brief, I'm sure. Ali had fast recuperative powers like Wolverine.

Ali was great at clinching. I'll bet he instinctively grabbed Foreman and leaned on him while he had glazed over. If he hadn't leaned on George, he would have slumped on the canvas. Most other fighters would have.

I also don't trust that Ali movie much anyway. I was never a big fan of it.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Left Hook From Hell...
I don't see anyone knocking out Muhammad. If Foreman and Shavers couldn't, no one could.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Zorro
Left Hook From Hell... wrote
I don't see anyone knocking out Muhammad. If Foreman and Shavers couldn't, no one could.
If either guy hit him with combinations or uppercuts, Ali may just go. Those are things he rarely had to deal with. Imagine if Earnie had followed up immedieatley with another big punch or two, he could have not only stopped Ali but anyone else.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Duggerman
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^^I agree. Shame Earnie wasn’t a good finisher. It says a lot that he couldn’t beat an old Ali already showing the early signs of Parkinsons.

Ali was smart though. Even if Earnie followed up, Ali may have entangled him in a clinch or conned him. He did these things when in trouble.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Joe Kingman
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In my opinion no one was close to stopping him. If it were meant to happen, it would have.

-Joe Kingman
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Entaowed
In reply to this post by Zorro
This is a good discussion.
Ali had an excellent chin, but not the A + level of unreal resistance that a Chuvalo, McCall, Mercer Tua had.
He also relied on his craftiness, maneuvering/holding, avoiding effective combos various ways.
Anyone can go if hit right & enough, though guys like Chuvalo & The Atomic Bull were ouliars in how much punishment they could take-they could absorb beatings even Ali could not-but he did things so he avoided them.

It is hard to quantify, but part of Ali's punch resistance was his will.
He also practiced soaking up punishment in sparring, to much of course.

I definitely think you can be out on your feet & still stay up.
Especially with the ropes.  But think about how things can go black-a fighter with great resolve & working n muscle memory can grab & hold as & during his lights going out.
Have you ever done a lift & during or after you are very woozy, lose yur field of vision?  Especially n squats, yet you may complete the lift.

Ali did have otherworldly recuperative abilities.  His con & head games also were also well honed-he was like a prey animal who puffed up & deterred theferocity of attacks, even without a great power punch.

A psychological master at this sort of stuff.

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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Duggerman
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Entaowed wrote
But think about how things can go black-a fighter with great resolve & working n muscle memory can grab & hold as & during his lights going out.
That's a good point. I believe Ali reached out and clinched Foreman just as the lights were going out. Muscle memory.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Zombies Ate Me
I don't think anyone was close to stopping him. He was barely knocked down and recovered fast when he was hurt. Joe definitely hurt him in round 11 but if the ropes hadn't caught him and he went down, I doubt he'd be counted out, especially since he survived that killer shot in round 15....
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

precious-1
In reply to this post by Duggerman
"It seems like the few times Ali could have been knocked out, he was saved by pure luck. The bell rang and the ropes broke his fall against Cooper, Joe hesitated, Shavers had no idea how to finish, and Foreman had no idea Ali was out on his feet for a good couple of seconds".

I think are right on all counts, he really had the luck of the Irish but also the resilience of a rock to survive them sledgehammers.
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Re: Who came the closest to knocking out Muhammad Ali?

Urban Legend
In reply to this post by Friday The 13th...
Friday The 13th... wrote
I disagree about the 11th round in 1971 though. Ali would have likely went down had the ropes not been there, but I don't think he would have been knocked out. If he immedieatly got to his feet in the 15th round I think he would have survived the 11th round also.
I approve this post. IMO the most danger Ali was in was against Henry Cooper. He hadn't filled out yet and his chin probably wasn't as granite as it became later. 1971-75 Ali would have taken that shot much better.