Muhammad Ali, absolutely and undeniably the greatest heavyweight champ in history, has left us (over three years ago now since Ali, the X3 champ departed this dimension), yet his legacy lives on, and it always will. Indeed, there is scarcely a day that goes by when a fight fan doesn’t think about Ali; about the beauty, the excitement, the drama and the global interest he brought to the sport of boxing.
Ali’s official twitter page pumps out quotes from the great man, fight facts, stats and other things on a daily basis; and sometimes the page asks good questions. Such as yesterday’s poser: “Which heavyweight boxer today, would you like to have seen spar with Muhammad Ali?”
Let’s have a think about that.
Ali, as comfortable in the ring as any fighter you could ever name, sparred so many fine fighters – including: Larry Holmes (who, as an ageing, Parkinsons-inflicted shell, Ali also boxed for real), Mike Dokes, Jimmy Ellis, Rocky Marciano (for the purposes of a ‘Dream Fight’ video), John. L Gardner and others. And often, Ali mostly clowned around and had fun, fun, fun.
But of today’s heavyweights, who would have been an interesting proposition for Ali to have gotten to grips with? Sparring is one thing, but how about a real fight – as in a real fictitious fight!?
How would Ali have gotten on with the tall, fast and somewhat crazy Tyson Fury, for one? How about Ali against the unpredictable but lethal Deontay Wilder, for two? Or what springs to mind as you try and picture Ali against the chubby but talented and seriously dangerous Andy Ruiz?
Ali, at a little over 6’3”, would have given away both height and reach against Wilder and Fury, while Ruiz might just have given “The Greatest” a real run for his money in terms of hand-speed. Would Ali have been able to deal with Fury’s height and reach, and would he have avoided Wilder’s wild hammer throws? Would Ali have been too fast and clever for Ruiz?
It’s hard to believe either of the current best three at the weight would have been able to best Ali; the 1964 to 1976 version. Ali would have figured them out, he would have been too smart and he would have been too proud and too determined to have been beaten by either man. Ali would have found a way to win.
But think about the fun and games, not to mention the psychological warfare, Ali would have engaged in in going in with Wilder, Ruiz and Fury. What nicknames might Ali have awarded today’s best with? What weaknesses would Ali have detected in the three modern day giants?
Fury might have been dubbed “Bigfoot” by Ali, or maybe “The Colossus.”
Wilder might have been called “The Basketball Player.” Ruiz, maybe “Two-Tonne,” or perhaps something else you can think of.
Either way, Ali would have set his stall, wormed his way inside the mind of either man and worked on his game-plan. Let’s face it, as good as today’s best heavyweights are, Ali would have had a party with them. Agree or disagree?