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Heavyweight histrionics

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Ben Dirs | 10:18 UK time, Monday, 27 June 2011

Saturday's meeting between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko is arguably the first heavyweight contest of any real significance since Lennox Lewis beat Wladimir's big brother, Vitali, in 2003. But compared to blockbusters of yesteryear, it is a minor play.

BBC Sport brings you 10 heavyweight contests that shook up the world - race riots, boxing as an allegory for world war, 'phantom punches', assassination plots, African dictators, a man who eats ears - and Frank Sinatra taking snaps! The heavyweight scene sure ain't what it used to be...

John L Sullivan v Jim Corbett - 7 September 1892, New Orleans, USA

John L Sullivan was the last man to defend the world heavyweight title using bare knuckles, and the first man to lose it wearing gloves. Therefore, he is sometimes considered to be the fighter who transformed boxing from a borderline criminal activity to a (semi) legitimate, (partially) regulated and respectable (to some) 'sport'.

'Gentleman' Jim Corbett, for his part, is thought by many to be the prototype of the modern heavyweight: taught by a coach rather than the code of the street, the San Franciscan fought behind his jab, often on the back foot, and pitted technique against the prevalent crouch and rush style of the day.

The 'Boston Strong Boy' had not defended his crown for four years when the two came face to face at the 10,000-capacity Olympic Club in New Orleans - and it showed. Corbett led Sullivan a merry dance for 21 rounds before, "with all the dynamite Nature had given me", landing the decisive blow. "If I had to get licked," said Sullivan when he finally made it back to his feet, "I'm glad I was licked by an American."

Jim Jeffries v Jack Johnson - 4 July 1910, Reno, USA

If Corbett was the prototype of the modern heavyweight, Jeffries was the modern heavyweight made flesh. Standing 6ft 2" and weighing just shy of 220lb, photographs and contemporary accounts also reveal him to be a well-honed athlete with consummate boxing skills.

In 1899, Jeffries beat Briton Bob Fitzsimmons to claim the heavyweight crown before defending his title seven times in five years and retiring. Then came Jack Johnson - and the fat, pipe-smoking Jeffries unwittingly became 'The Great White Hope'.

Jack Johnson

Johnson flouted many of the accepted norms of the time, infuriating the white population. Photo: Getty

In 1908, Johnson had won the world heavyweight crown from Tommy Burns, in Sydney, to the horror of the American public, who could not countenance the idea of a black man being in possession of the sport's biggest prize.

Jeffries turned out to be an enthusiastic flagbearer for the white supremacists - which, in those days, represented most of the white population - and lost 100lb. However, Johnson, a new marque of boxer altogether, was too quick and too slick and defeated Jeffries inside 15 rounds. Rioting followed across the United States, leaving many dead.

Gene Tunney v Jack Dempsey - 23 August 1926, Philadelphia, USA

Tunney was a clean-living ex-Marine with an interest in books, while Dempsey was a brawling draft-dodger who led a hellraising existence. It was a classic match-up and 120,000 packed into Philadelphia's Sesquicentennial Stadium to see the 'Manassa Mauler' defend his title for the first time in three years.

The unfancied 'Fighting Marine' gave the champion a boxing lesson on his way to a unanimous 10-round decision, and the fight is sometimes cited as a great leap forward for boxing technique; at the time, sluggers such as Demspey were very much de rigeur, and Tunney is regarded by many as a godfather of modern, scientific boxing.

Tunney won the rematch a year later (famous for the 'Long Count') and retired from the ring as champion, while Dempsey also had the strength of character to walk away.

Max Baer v James J Braddock - 13 June 1935, New York, USA

Braddock was a 29-year-old father of three, just scraping by in Depression-era New York when he got his shot at the big time against playboy world champion Baer.

Braddock had 22 losses going into the fight, whereas the talented but profligate Baer was so confident of victory he did most of his training in the bar. As it turned out, a dogged Braddock outboxed and outgamed the posturing Baer and was declared the winner by unanimous decision before a euphoric crowd of 35,000.

Braddock, dubbed the 'Cinderella Man' by writer Damon Runyon, clung to his crown for two years before the great Joe Louis destroyed him in 1937. But his rags-to-riches story proved an inspiration for millions of Americans in that uncertain age.

Joe Louis v Max Schmeling - 22 June 1938, New York, USA

While the social and political implications of the Jeffries-Johnson fight shook the United States to the core, Louis-Schmeling sent shockwaves around the world, and was one of the most important sporting events of the 20th century.

Joe Louis (left) signs as Max Schmeling looks on

The fight between Louis (left) and Schmeling was about much more than sport. Photo: Getty

In 1936, Germany's former world champion Schmeling knocked out the unbeaten Louis in 12 rounds. However, the following year Louis became the first black man to win the world heavyweight title since Johnson, before defending three times and signing up for a rematch with the only man to beat him.

This being the eve of the Second World War, Schmeling was portrayed by Adolf Hitler as an exemplar of Aryan supremacy. President Roosevelt, meanwhile, hoped Louis would reflect the unwavering vigour of the United States.

Seventy-thousand packed into Yankee Stadium to see Louis destroy Schmeling in less than a round - rarely can a crowd have been so happy to see a fight over so quickly.

Muhammad Ali v Sonny Liston - 25 May 1965, Lewiston, USA

When Cassius Clay won the world heavyweight crown from the formidable Liston in 1964, it was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. The rematch the following year swirled with conspiracy and intrigue.

The week after becoming heavyweight king, Clay, who was a member of the radical Nation of Islam, announced he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In a sure sign the United States was still riven by racial and religious suspicion, mainstream society was appalled. There were even rumours both fighters might be the target of assassination attempts.

Midway through the first round in the tiny arena in Maine, Liston hit the deck - the only problem being, he did not appear to have been hit. 'Phantom Punch' or not, Liston was counted out amid scenes of wild confusion.

We still do not know if Liston, who was in hock to the Mafia, took a dive. Liston would later claim it was the Nation of Islam extremists he feared, which is why he wanted out as early as possible. Forty-six years on, the questions remain.

Joe Frazier v Muhammad Ali - 8 March 1970, New York, USA

Billed as 'The Fight of the Century', Ali-Frazier I was the first time two undefeated heavyweight world champions had met in the ring. But it was about much more than that, brimming as it was with social symbolism.

Ali refused induction into the US army in 1967 and was subsequently stripped of his title and slapped with a ban. In exile, Ali became a symbol of the anti-establishment movement, while the no-frills, plodding Frazier, who had won the title earlier that year, was emblematic of President Nixon's 'Silent Majority'.

Joe Frazier (left) and Muhammad Ali

Frazier (left) had too much hustle for Ali down the stretch at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Getty

Hollywood great Burt Lancaster was the colour commentator for the closed-circuit broadcast, while Frank Sinatra and Norman Mailer were photographer and writer respectively for Life magazine. Sport did not get any bigger than this.

After a confident start by Ali, Frazier took control in the middle rounds, and in round 15, Ali was floored by a savage left hook. Ali was up in an instant - but Frazier knew the fight was won.

George Foreman v Muhammad Ali - 30 October 1974, Kinshasa, Zaire

If Ali-Frazier I was the fight that proved there was still no bigger sport in the world than boxing, 'The Rumble in the Jungle' was the fight that proved there was no sport more insane.

In 1973, Foreman demolished Frazier in two rounds to become undisputed world heavyweight champion, and the former Olympic champion was seen as Liston reincarnate, and one of the biggest punchers in the history of the game.

The Ali-Foreman fight was one of Don King's earliest forays into boxing promotion. King being King, it ended up being staged in the African dictatorship of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), where the sinister President Mobutu held sway.

Ali was given little chance, but the 32-year-old pulled off perhaps an even bigger upset than his victory against Liston 10 years earlier. Seven years after being stripped of his title, Ali had proved he was 'The Greatest' all over again.

Mike Tyson v James 'Buster' Douglas - 11 February 1990, Tokyo, Japan

One Las Vegas bookmaker made Douglas a 42-1 shot to dethrone the seemingly invincible Tyson, which tells you everything you need to know about just how big a shock the outcome of this fight was.

In the build-up to the bout, Douglas's wife left him and his mother died of a heart attack. But the tragedy and heartache only served to inspire him. Meanwhile, Tyson had been
diminished by drink, drugs, disease and myriad mental demons. Douglas laid Tyson's frailties bare, recovering from an eighth-round knockdown to spark Tyson in the 10th.

What some consider the heavyweight division's 'last great fight' gutted both its protagonists. Tyson, his aura shattered, was never the same fighter again, while a de-motivated Douglas lost his title to Evander Holyfield eight months later.

Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson - 28 June 1997, Las Vegas, USA

While boxing had come a long way from the semi-criminal activity practised in John L Sullivan's heyday, it had never completely shrugged off its cloak of immorality. After Holyfield-Tyson II, some would question its legitimacy as a sport all over again.

Seven months earlier, Holyfield stopped Tyson, who had served three years for rape between 1992-95, in the 11th round to reclaim the world heavyweight crown. Tyson's team, not for the first time, had underestimated an opponent, considering the 34-year-old Holyfield to be an over-the-hill fighter.

Holyfield repeatedly used his head as a weapon in that first match, and it has been suggested Tyson's revenge was pre-planned. Regardless, it was despicable when it came. In round three, Tyson bit off a piece of the champion's ear and spat it onto the canvas, leaving referee Mills Lane with no choice but to disqualify him.

Tyson, once considered the glorious saviour of boxing, was now the snarling, ranting mascot of the anti-boxing lobby.

Britain's Lennox Lewis is widely regarded as heavyweight boxing's last great champion, but in truth, the division has rarely hit the heights since that nauseating episode.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about - or on the sofa - at http://twitter.com/bendirs1 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hold on, now I'm not totally sure about this but wasn't Liston not actually counted out in their second fight because Jersey Joe forgot, actioned resumed until a member of the press for Walcott's aattention to sya that listen was down for like 14 seconds. Although my memory is fuzzy.

  • Comment number 2.

    attention* say* Liston* Wow error strewn or what? I need coffee.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ben,

    Have you read Unforgiveable Blackness by Geoffrey Ward, the story of Jack Johnson? Brilliant read.

  • Comment number 4.

    I remember getting up early as a kid on a Sunday in 1990, flicking on Ceefax to check the Tyson win and not believing what I read.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd go for something different regarding Tyson. Probably the Berbick fight (spectacular TKO making him the youngest ever world heavyweight champ), or even the unifying of the division. Unless we are focusing on things away from boxing...if that is so I’d include Lewis/Akinwande...great cuddling!

  • Comment number 6.

    Bowing ain't what it used to be.

    I remember as an 8 year old living in NZ, the school headmaster, who was a massive boxing fan, gave the entire school the afternoon off to go and watch Ali fight Larry Holmes live on the telly.

    Can't see that happening now.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good stroll down memory lane, even if I was only alive to physically remember 2 of these fights, although have read/seen a few of the others. I know that this article is more around the impact/ramifications and politics surrounding these clashes, but in pure terms of fantastic heavyweight match-ups, the last truly Rocky style punch-up I saw was one of the Holyfield/Bowe fights, though I can't remember which. I never remember seeing Bowe fight better, and I believe he nicked it on points in the end, but he threw absolutely everything at Evander, knocking him bandy, smashing him around the ring like a rag-doll, and Holyfield just kept coming, walking him down, only to take another beating. Truly remarkable stuff, and goes an awful long way to explain some of Holyfield's present day 'punchiness'.

    Anyway, massive digression, but I can't be bothered to do any work today...

  • Comment number 8.

    Whilst there have been some great upsets and some great fights at Heavyweight in modern times, it's too sanitised and compared to the great folk stories from decades past boxing's like a pantomime. I'd have squeezed Floyd Patterson in there too. He was a transitional boxer, a contradiction who took a disguise to his fights so that he could slip out unnoticed if he lost (how many champions even considered that fact that they could lose?) and was whitewashed by Liston and Ali. Both fights were controversial, the Ali vs Patterson fight was seen (like Johnson vs Jeffries) as conservative America's chance to reclaim the biggest prize in sport. The last massive and controversial fight was Lewis vs Vitali though - Lewis looked old and exhausted, losing most rounds but meticulously opened up a cut on Vitali to win the fight. Nobody since Lewis has been given more than a 40% chance of beating a Klitschko, until Haye on Saturday. Here's hoping he beats both and delays his retirement for another couple of years, breathing life into Heavyweight boxing.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ben,

    Considering that you aren't, errrmmm, tubby now, change the picture mate. You look like you're off for #2s.

    Also can I ask that the upcoming blog about the Haye-Wlad fight goes up early-ish so we can have a good debate about it.

    Thanks man. Best blog on the beeb

  • Comment number 10.

    If Haye was to beat both klitschkos that would be amazing for boxing and the heavyweight division. If he was to beat both and retire this year...that would be awful!

    I honestly believe that if Haye can show some good head movement he'll tear Wlad apart and we'll be left wondering why we ever doubted a man that unified the cruiserweight division before stepping up and showing he is a true great and going on to take out the most dominant heavyweights of his era (he'll do both)!

  • Comment number 11.

    Lewis, like the McCall and Rahman fights hadnt trained enough, took Vitali too lightly and almost paid the price again. An on-song Lewis under Steward would demolish Vitali at any age.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think Haye can do it but regarding the cruiserweight division I think we have to remember he united it in two fights and left immediately. JMM was a good win and he toughed it out. Enzo was never really good enough. He could and should have fought Cunningham and Adamek but moved onto to the heavyweights immedaitely.

    I'd also add I like Adamek. Good pro, smart fighter and tough. Haye would beat him at HW but he is a geuninely world-class fighter especially at crusierweight

  • Comment number 13.

    Any sport which allows the incumbent champion to pick and choose his opponent, the timing of any contest, and to dictate monetary advantage, is sickening.

    The conditions of being champion should be clear:

    Mandatory defences within 6 months, against the No.1 challenger, with the purse split 3:1 in favour of the winner.

    NO EXCEPTIONS!

  • Comment number 14.

    Great list of fights. The Tyson loss to Douglas was a big suprise and I take my hat off to Douglas for his achievement. Still think that Douglas' count in the 8th was far to long and the fight should have been over at that point.

  • Comment number 15.

    Cant see anything other than a win for Klitchko....around round 9-10. The power of this lad is awesome...yes Haye can dig-but hes more of a pumped up Cruiserwieght. The Ukranian is a proper BIG heaveyweight with a sledgehammer punch.
    Think this will be the end of Hayes journey-hes good but cant see this being his fight.

  • Comment number 16.

    Big shout out to El Genarissimo, couldn't agree with you more! How many fights has Wladamir Klitchko had over the last 2 years in defence of his two belts and who have his opponents been? Both Klitchko's have stated they won't fight each other leaving David Haye with the only prize of note worth taking.

    It feels like this whole situation has been going on for far too long. Come on David Haye beat Wladamir then set up a fight against Vitali before October. At least that way once Haye retires there may be a few fights worth mention on the heavyweight division where if you want the title you have to earn it against a half decent opponent.

  • Comment number 17.

    Fantastic article, if Haye loses, I'll lose all interest in the Heavyweight division and perhaps Boxing for that matter. A sport that can't produce the big fights, namely Mayweather v Pacman will lose fans.

    Moreover, I agree wholeheartedly with El Generalissimo

  • Comment number 18.

    You skipped the 1990s too quickly. There were some great fights in the 90s, and some histrionics too. But the histrionics aside (agreeing with earlier comments) I think one of the Evander Holyfield v Riddick Bowe fights (I think it was the 2nd of their 3 fights, the one disrupted by the parachutist) deserve a mention on your list. That fight was the only loss of Bowe's career (as a pro), and he only lost it on points. He came back and won it; makes him one of the best boxers in the heavyweights. But those three fights were among the the best since the Foreman v Ali fight in Zaire. Its a shame Bowe didn't get to fight Lennox as a pro. He preferred to dump the belt in the bin, some say he was scared of losing (he lost the gold medal to Lennox in the 1988 Olympics), but I don't think so. The same things that have delayed the Klitchko/Hay fight till now... Boxing hasn't changed!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    PortsmouthPrince. Liston did indeed get up and the fight continued. Jersey Joe left them to it to check with the time keeper and then stopped the fight because of the "long count". Thing is, the count should never have started. Ali was dancing all around Liston when he was on the floor and never went to a neutral corner. The fight should have been allowed to continue.

  • Comment number 20.

    Will anyone actually be watching this non event? Haye is a good natural cruiserweight but not even a decent heavyweight. His heavyweight fights have been a joke. Audley Harrison is the laziest boxer in history, a man who would have had the respect of a nation if he'd stayed amateur but showed his lack of heart & desire once he turned pro. Nicolay Valuev? Like the Klitschko's he's nothing more than a night club bouncer. A big thug who would be better suited throwing drunks out of bars than wearing boxing gloves. This weekends fight will go to show how far the heavyweight division has sunk since the likes of Tyson & Holyfield were at their peak. I don't blame Haye. Any boxer can only fight what is put in front of him but to make him out to be a top heavyweight is a joke. There are some greats boxing today but not in the heavywiehgt divison.

  • Comment number 21.

    PortsmouthPrince - Yeh, the fight continued for a bit, then Jersey Joe went walkabout as people tried to tell him Liston had been on the floor for more than 10 seconds, and then he waved the fight off.

    Boils - Yeh, it's a corker (once you learn to ignore the footnotes). I had a similar experience with Tyson. I remember my dad taking me to football and me just refusing to believe him that Tyson had lost. It wasn't as easy in those days to find things out! I only really believed it when I saw it on the news when I got home. As for my pic - it was bad when I was still fat in real life...

    Jordanianmachine - Yep, lest we forget, Tyson was a pretty damn good fighter at one point, and that's the shame of his career, we mainly remember the negatives.

    Kofia - Yep, Bowe was a pretty mean fighter, as others have pointed out, it's boxing's shame that he never got it on with Tyson or Lewis.

    Liam - Yep, I imagine millions will be tuning in...

  • Comment number 22.

    Surely Holyfield's fights with Bowe and Lewis warrant a mention here? And despite what actually happened in the fight, Tyson vs Spinks - once and for all, was one of the most hyped bouts in boxing history.

    I hope I'm wrong but suspect Haye will be knocked out in what will be his last fight on Saturday. Over in Germany, he will go looking for Klitschko to take the judges out of the equation, and will walk straight into Wlad's trap.

    http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 23.

    Hayes gonna be in and out of range having Wlad jabbing fresh air all night. Dont think there will be any ko's, but I reckon it could get tasty - a bit like the valuev fight. In fact I reckon this will go just like that one. Haye on points. (yes I know about the judges in germany, but you cant score what you cant land, and wlad aint gonna be able to land anything decent on the boy)

  • Comment number 24.

    Re. the Schmeling-Louis bout you might have mentioned that Max Schmeling was not the nazi he was made out te be - in fact quite the opposite. You might also have mentioned that Max was an astute business man who not only did quite well for himself after his boxing career but also helped out Joe Louis when the former brown bomber got into dire financial straits later in life.

  • Comment number 25.

    An enjoyable read, however I must take exception to the "the Fight of the Century" section! Joe Frazier may have been an awkward opponent for the generally taller men he fought, however to describe him as a "plodder" is unfair. Frazier's bobbing and weaving, relentless attack style and fearsome left hook should see him considered as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.

  • Comment number 26.

    back in 1990, it didnt seem worth staying up to watch tyson fights as they were generally over quickly or the opponent shat themselves and ran away, but as the newboys sky was showing it live i thought id give it a go. somewhere along the line i feel asleep, and awoke after the fight had started, somewhere around round 3-4 i think. i couldnt believe what i was seeing, the ring monster and baddest man on the planet was being shoved around the ring like a lost child, buster douglas was amazing that night, although tyson was below par, prob unfit, high and been out partying the night before. tyson should still have won the fight due if it wasnt for the long count and incompetent referee. tyson took a terrific beating that night, he didnt go down easily, well worth watching this fight of uve never seen it.

    and how the bowe v holyfield trilogy doesnt figure...........well....

  • Comment number 27.

    Execution time come Saturday, my money's on Klitchko... more than that I hope he will beat Haye's head all the way into his... well wiggly & fancy panties-clad nether regions

  • Comment number 28.

    Errr... Rocky Marciano - Joe Lewis... Rocky Marciano - Joe Walcott... Max Schmeling - Max Baer... God writers for the BBC are so badly informed - how are these people getting these gigs apart from the fact that they're all ardent socialists!

  • Comment number 29.

    guyaubreydevito - Yep, I'm meeting up with Mike Costello for socialist activities later. Just after he's done his stint down the collective farm. Marciano-Louis? What about it? Louis was 37, and that was ancient in those days. Marciano-Walcott - what social implications did that fight have? Great fight, mind. Schmeling-Baer - yep, big social implications because of the latter's Jewishness, but nothing on Schmeling-Louis.

    golfnut64uk - Yep, I can understand why some people are upset Bowe-Holyfield doesn't get a mention, but my point would be they were great fights rather than transcendental fights, and Bowe is certainly not a name that resonates beyond boxing fans.

    Martijn - Very true - sorry, only had four pars to sum up the fight.

  • Comment number 30.

    Tyson vs Spinks was far more significant than Tyson vs Holyfield as the former was way past his best at that time. His fights against Berbick, Bonecrusher Smith and Tyrell Biggs were far more important but the Spinks one was Tyson at his very best.

    Surprised nothinbg on here about Marciano especially considering he never lost. The Louis-Schmeling one was significant given its backdrop against WW2 and Tunney vs Dempsey is a good choice given the rule change and Dempsey's subsequent retirement. Sullivan vs Corbett & Jeffreis Johnson also significant. Not sure Ali's were given that Louis & Johnson had been far more instrumental in breaking down racial barriers whereas Ali actually inflamed them by his membership of the Nation of Islam

  • Comment number 31.

    El Generalissimo has a point, it would be nice to see one champion in each division fighting a steady stream of number 1 contenders and being stripped if this doesn't happen.
    This however is a pipe dream as until we see the last of the alphabet soup titles we're always going to have mismatches and some fighters will avoid their biggest challenges.

    You can at least commend Wladimir for fighting all contenders. Apart from Haye there are no big challenges out their for the Klits. They have beaten everyone they've faced for years now. They can hardly be faulted for the lack of opposition in the heavy weight division.
    Haye on the other hand has fought exactly three recognised heavyweights (I do not include Harrison). Barrett was way past his best and was destroyed by Wladimir when he was in his prime. Ruiz, again, a fighter that was spent by the time he fought Haye. Ruiz did however beat Valuev IMO despite not getting the decision.
    Finally you have Valuev. I've heard a lot of people use Valuev as a reason why Haye can beat Wlad. This doesn't add up though as the big Russian is little more then a curiosity. A giant of a man who moves like he's stuck in tar and blessed with the hand speed of a stone statue. Klitshko is a completely different proposition.

    So if you look at both fighters records you have to admit that Haye's is pretty poor and the only real issue with the brothers is that they happen to have fought in a poor era.
    Haye is taking an enormous step up in class and will be exposed I think.
    It would have been much better for him to have fought a few top ten contenders rather then two old hasbeens and one freak.
    I feel he's going to pay dearly for taking so many shortcuts to the top table.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't think Haye has been in with a boxer of Klitschko's class and I think it will come as a surprise to him just how hard his punches are. He should ask Samuel Peter about it.

    Valuev was strong but he was also incredibly slow- Klitschko isn't. If he catches Haye with a good punch I think it could be over very quickly. Wladimir Klitschko handed Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov their only defeats and I would rate both those fighters as being at least as good as Haye.

  • Comment number 33.

    Haye never beat Valuev either. On anybody who can count's scorecard Valuev was ahead... Haye spent the whole time running away from him, never landing any of his feathery punches but getting a good few to the head, even if through his blocks -- it still counted -- he got even stupider after the fight and I think lost about 15 years of his precious (only to himself) life ... As to why the judges gave the victory to him -- that's for the proper authorities to investigate.

    He has a tiny chance of an outsider causing upset on Saturday, a bit like Sanders but that's about it. there is nothing in his arsenal and his trainers are outright stupid money grabbers who know as much about the practical side boxing as Ben Dirs does if not less.

    By the way, I am still not convinced the fight will go ahead. What is this about him claiming his belt is not on the line? It has to be. Could be he's trying to run away from it again? He knows full well that, come Saturday, has career and fighter cred will be over.

  • Comment number 34.

    nice picture of Ali doing a pull-away, aka a snap-back (i think)... which is strictly a no-no in boxing, especially from a hook to the head... i used it once too with great effect, unbalanced the fella, then floored him

  • Comment number 35.

    Sensational fight on the way. Wrote a blog on upcoming fight and would be interested to hear any comments on what i have written. Cheers.
    http://stoppagetime120.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 36.

    I cannot quite say which is the best heavy weight championship of the world I have seen, to be open I have never in my lifetime ever seen a heavyweight championship as it happened, most only on tv. The most exciting fight, maybe one of the best of all time, was the 'rumble in the jungle'. A thirty two year Ali beating the twenty four year old Foreman in those conditions was a spectacular feat. I will always rate that fight the best, Ali the fighter well past the man that beat the likes of Liston, and Cleveland Williams, and Floyd Patterson. He returned after three and a half years of suspension as the shadow of the one that beat the best of the times. Foreman was awesome the way he beat Frazier and Norton, and it was no wonder that Muhammad Ali was very much the under dog for that night in the congo. No matter how many excuses were made for Foreman, Ali took all the sledge hammer punches thrown at him until Foreman was totally exhausted and his arms felt lead laden in that heat. The tactical 'rope a dope' worked perfectly for Ali. That. I think in my opinion was the most entertaining and exciting fight of its time.

  • Comment number 37.

    Ronald Regan quoted that 'you can run, but you cant hide', then again he quoted 'we will win because god is on our side', or 'we are on gods side'. Which ever that was. Tis makes me angry, as these words were actually quoted by Joe Louis before his return fight with Max Scmelling. Would you not agree with me Mr Dir.

 

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