22.12.ß5 - By Jim Amato: Superfights..It is a very over used term these days. Some of the PPV "superfights" of today would have been nice Saturday afternoon feature bouts on ABC's Wide World Of Sports in my day. There were several bouts from the late 1960's to the early 1980's I wish would have been made. These are bouts that actually had been rumored in the making or someone's wishful thinking. If some of these bouts had taken place it could of altered the history of boxing forever.
In January of 1973 big George Foreman disrupted the plans of an Ali-Frazier rematch. George gave Joe as one sided a whipping a you'll ever see. One month later a "washed up" Jerry Quarry derailed the Ron Lyle express to the championship. Then in March Ken Norton broke the hearts of Ali fans while cracking the jaw of the "Greatest". Just like that, in a span of three months the whole top tier of the heavyweight ranks had been seriously shuffled. Ali and Frazier were no longer the kings of the hill. There was a couple of new kids on the block named George and Kenny. Also a grizzled old veteran had returned to town.
To me the one fight that should have been made from this abrupt restructuring of the big boys was George Foreman-vs-Jerry Quarry. The ever popular Irishman had lost to Frazier in 1969 and to Ali in 1970 and 1972. Still Jerry always found a way to stay in the thick of the heavyweight picture. The win over the previously unbeaten Lyle made Jerry a major player again.
This bout would have sold out Madison Square Garden in no time at all. On paper it looked like it would have been a relatively safe defense for George. Add to the fact that George was much bigger and stronger then Jerry. It is hard to believe that this fight was not made. Quarry pleaded for a shot at George and he gave the impression that he was very confident that he could whip Foreman.
To the surprise of many the Foreman camp seemed to be uninterested in a lucrative bout with Quarry. Frazier was still bet up and Al had to mend his jaw and then his reputation in a return with Norton. Lyle was eliminated. Jerry was the logical choice. Instead George would meet and defeat Joe "King" Roman in his only other 1973 appearance. Later in 1973 Ali would win a narrow decision over Norton. Quarry would close out 1973 by halting the feared Earnie Shavers in one round.
In January of 1974 Ali and Frazier would finally meet again with Ali taking the verdict. In March, Foreman would turn back the challenge of Ken Norton within two rounds. Quarry was on the outside looking in as Foreman and Ali announced they were meeting each other later that year in Africa.
In June of 1974 Jerry would again meet Joe Frazier in an elimination bout. Although many gave Jerry a good chance to win it was he who was brutally eliminated in five rounds. It sure would have been nice if Foreman and Quarry would have met some hot summer night at Madison Square Garden in 1973. What a fight that may have been !