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The Greatest Fights from The Greatest


1964: Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston

Even though he was Olympic Champion with a 19-0 record, Clay entered the ring as an underdog against Sonny Liston.  He minced no word entering the match, calling the heavyweight champ an “ugly, old bear.”  After taking the heavyweight title in six rounds, he proclaimed, “I SHOOK UP THE WORLD!” (36:00 mark)

After the fight, he became a Black Muslim, changing his name from Clay to Mohammad Ali.

1965: Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

The rematch didn’t last long.  In the first minute of the first round, Ali’s memorable knockout created one of the most iconic images in all of sports.

1971: Ali vs. Frazier I, “The Fight of the Century”

While Ali was in exile for refusing to fight in Vietnam, Joe Frazier rose to the top of the boxing world.  With two legitimate claims for the heavyweight title, the two took it to the card in Madison Square Garden.  Ali lost in a unanimous decision after being knocked down in the 15th round.

1974: Ali/Frazier II

Before Ali avenged his loss to Frazier, they hyped the fight together on The Dick Cavett Show.

Even though he lost the previous fight, he knew he was going to win the second fight.  And he did.

1974: Ali vs. Foreman, “The Rumble in the Jungle”

If there’s one fight you rematch today, let it be this one.  After Foreman took the title from Frazier, Frazier sat ringside for the broadcast where force met finesse.

One jaw-dropping example.

But the entire fight is worth watching.  You won’t be disappointed.

1975: Ali/Frazier III, “The Thrilla in Manila”

The rubber match between the longtime rivals is a bloody one in the Philippines, but Ali outlasts Frazier who could not return to the ring for the 15th round.

1978: Ali vs. Leon Spinks II

After losing the heavyweight title to the 1976 Olympic Champion, Ali sought revenge from the young Leon Spinks. At 36 years old, Ali took it to the card to win an unprecedented third heavyweight championship in a unanimous decision.

Ali tried to hang up the gloves as the World Champion, but was enticed out of retirement two more times for two more losses.  In 61 career fights he had a 56-5 record.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

2 Comments for The Greatest Fights from The Greatest

  1. Lip Man 1
    12:14 pm June 4, 2016 Permalink

    Had the chance to see him from a far when I was covering a Kentucky Derby one year and the other time was just very special.

    I’d like to pass that along.

    In 1980 he was fighting the “South American Champ” basically as an exhibition in Louisville so we drove over from Lexington to cover it. We were wearing our white satin “ABC Sports” jackets. Sorry I don’t remember the name of the guy he fought.

    After the exhibition we headed over to the locker room just to see what was going on when Bundini Brown saw us and saw the jackets. When he saw ABC Sports on the back he thought it was Howard Cosell’s ABC Sports and let us into Ali’s dressing room! He didn’t realize it was simply the ABC affiliate in Lexington, WTVQ.

    When we got inside we were able to get an interview with him. I was just shooting it but it was incredible something I’ll never forget. Before the lights were turned on and the interview started he was very quiet just relaxing but as soon as the lights came on, he “became” Ali…loud, brash, talking about how he was going to come back and “shock the world again!”

    I badly wanted to get an autograph but it wasn’t appropriate and never had the chance to get that close to him again.

    Still that was some night.

    RIP Champ.

  2. 25OR624
    6:44 pm June 4, 2016 Permalink

    Cool story. Thanks for sharing. Pax Vobiscum.