WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF MUHAMMAD ALI'S OPPONENTS would box in the current Klitschko era and would have to face Wladimir Klitschko? Ali's opponents supposedly boxed in the so called "Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing" (1960ies and 1970ies) and if you believe the American hype then these "Golden Men" were unequaled in grace and unparalleled in power and speed. I assume they were directly imported from Mount Olympos.
So… Would Wladimir Klitschko finally get approval would these opponents box nowadays or if he could travel back in a time machine?
Please note: This article is part of my multi-part heavyweight boxing eras comparison:
- Boxing eras (1) The best heavyweight era of all time -OR- Is Roy Jones Jr. a better cruiser than Rocky Marciano?
- Boxing eras (2) Current heavyweights are fat and out of shape -OR- Ali and the mystery of the six-pack
- Boxing eras (3) Wladimir Klitschko in the Golden Age of Heavyweight -OR- How abysmal was Ali's era really?
- Boxing eras (4) Golden Age of Heavyweight -OR- Is the Klitschko era the first heavyweight era in history?
- Boxing eras (5) The worst heavyweight era of all time! -OR- Americans play Basketball now!
- Boxing eras (6) Is heavyweight boxing dead or dying?
In other words: What would happen if Wladimir Klitschko faced the same opponents as Muhammad Ali?
What would happen if Klitschko called out Ali's opponents?
- Of the 61 fights that Clay/Ali fought 29 wouldn't be allowed nowadays as heavyweight because one or both opponents were below 200 lbs at the time of the bout. In other words they would run as cruiser fights (or below) and Klitschko wouldn't be allowed to stage them.
- Of the remaining 32 fights Ali lost 4.
- Of the remaining 28 fights Ali fought 10x against opponents LIGHTER than Eddie Chambers (Wladimir Klitschko's lightest opponent), thus today's fans would shout "they should move down to cruiserweight" and "it's proof of how the division sucks" or what a mismatch it is.
- Of the remaining 18 fights 2 wouldn't be allowed for medical reasons: Joe Frazier was blind on his left eye and Cleveland Williams was gunshot. Another proof of the "dire state of the division"
- Of the remaining 16 fights Ali couldn't KO his opponents in 10 fights (within 12 rounds) thus they would be "proof of how featherfisty Wlad is with a KO'ratio of 38%" and that "Marciano would KO this bum Wlad in 1 round"
- Of the remaining 6 fights 1 was a bum ·Charley Powell (25-11) which would be another proof for the "worst era in heavyweight boxing"
- Of the remaining 5 fights 2 were against guys coming off a loss (Ron Lyle, Alvin Lewis) and fans would accuse Wlad of "cherry-picking".
- Of the remaining 3 fights 2 were against a cruiser-bum beater (Sonny Liston) and fans would speculate about how the mob or Wladimir's radical Muslim friends have illegally influenced the outcome, since both endings (shoulder injury, phantom punch) were highly suspicious. Fans would complain that Sonny Liston didn't come to fight since he chickened out as soon as he saw fit.
- The remaining 1 fight was against an opponent who gassed in the heat and sultriness of the rain season in the rain forest (George Foreman) and fans would shout "Lame, nowadays heavies cannot go 15 rounds anymore like Joe Louis".
That's approximately how Ali's record would be seen nowadays.
There is an even simpler nutshell, that sums up even better the abysmal state of Ali's era:
A guy with Parkinson's (Muhammad Ali) fighting against a 6-0 cruiser bum (Spinks, 197 lbs) for the unified heavyweight title…. and losing (and then avenging).
THAT's all you need to know about Teh Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing.
Probably the lowest point in all heavyweight history.
A closer analysis of boxing ATGs
Above I said "Of Ali's 61 fights 29 weren't heavyweight".
Let me clarify that I am generous here, because as I wrote at Boxing eras (4) Golden Age of Heavyweight -OR- Is the Klitschko era the first heavyweight era in history? nowadays heavyweight starts de facto at 215+ lbs and the average heavyweight fight is approximately 225 lbs and Klitschko's average opponent is even 234 lbs (= 30 lbs heavier than Ali's average opponent).
Thus of Ali's 61 fights by today's standards 50 wouldn't be considered genuine heavyweight. They would either not have taken place or would run as cruiser fights or would be a proof of bad state of the division nowadays (e.g. Ali 212 vs Frazier 209, Ali 212 vs Ken Norton 205). Even Ali vs Sonny Liston is borderline cruisery.
Let me also clarify that I am not talking about Ali fighting FORMER cruisers.
I am talking about being a cruiser AT THE TIME OF THE BOUT e.g. Ali vs Jimmy Robinson 177 lbs or Ali vs Alex Miteff (with Ali himself being 188 lbs).
If one would additionally delete FORMER cruisers off Ali's record (= those boxers who boxed below 200 lbs at some point in their career) then Clay/Ali's record would be 13-1.
If you think that "Well, Ali's opponents are lighter than Klitschko's but Klitschko OUTWEIGHS his opponents more" then you are absolutely mistaken.
It was Ali who outweighed his opponents far more than Klitschko: Ali weighed on the average 5.9 lbs MORE than his win opponents and 7.3 lbs more than his KO'ed opponents. Whereas Klitschko's KO'victims are only 0.1 lbs heavier than Wladimir. In other words:
It was Clay/Ali who had
the far greater weight advantage than Klitschko.
Here is an adequate overview of Ali's record compared to other heavyweight champions.
|Name||Record||Record (200×2)||Record (215×2)||Record (uniques)||Record (200×2, uniques)||Record (215×2, uniques)||Record (without former cruisers)||Record (200×2, without former cruisers)||Record (215×2, without former cruisers)||Record (uniques, without former cruisers)||Record (200×2, uniques, without former cruisers)||Record (215×2, uniques, without former cruisers)|
Fistic Statistic [#396.1]
Ali's dominance vs Klitschko's dominance
Ali is the most famous featherfist ("butterfly") of all time. It gets very clear when you compare his KO'performance (or lack thereof) to some other world champions:
|Name||Fights||Unique Win Opponents||Unique Win Opponents (non-bums)||Unique Win Opponents (non-bums, 200×2)||KO wins (within 12)||KO wins (within 12, non-bums, 200×2)||Fair Rounds per KO (only orthodox stance, less is better)||Fair Rounds per KO (only orthodox stance, 200×2, non-bums, heavyweight title, less is better)||Heaviest KO victim (within 12)||Median KO victim (within 12)||Fair KO'ratio (within 12, 200×2, only orthodox, non-bums)||Fair KO'ratio (within 12, 215×2, only orthodox, non-bums)|
8.8 (97 rounds for 11 KOs)
- (0 for 0)
- (0 of 0)
- (0 of 0)
4.2 (176.5 rounds for 42 KOs)
7.0 (70.5 for 10)
91.3% (21 of 23)
90.4% (19 of 21)
6.8 (248 rounds for 36 KOs)
- (46.5 for 2)
60.0% (12 of 20)
53.3% (8 of 15)
4.7 (182 rounds for 38 KOs)
7.8 (62.5 for 8)
65.3% (17 of 26)
62.5% (15 of 24)
9.7 (223.5 rounds for 23 KOs)
8.5 (42.5 for 5)
66.6% (4 of 6)
- (0 of 0)
8.2 (173.5 rounds for 21 KOs)
10.9 (109 for 10)
63.6% (14 of 22)
66.6% (14 of 21)
17.7 (443.5 rounds for 25 KOs)
23.3 (163.5 for 7)
28.0% (7 of 25)
30.0% (3 of 10)
18.3 (404 rounds for 22 KOs)
29.6 (178 for 6)
36.3% (8 of 22)
0.0% (0 of 7)
Fistic Statistic [#396.2]
I excluded southpaws from the comparison because some boxers (like Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson) didn't face a single non-bummy[?] southpaw thus they would have a high advantage over boxers who faced a lot.
Please note that Wladimir Klitschko's numbers are the current numbers. They will increase of course because he is still boxing and his opponents are still boxing.
It's probably pretty astonishing for some how good Wladimir Klitschko is.
In fact he is the most dominant heavyweight champ who ever lived.
Wladimir Klitschko's dominance is not normal or usual.
His power is AT LEAST 1 league apart from Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, let alone George Foreman or Clay/Ali.
A more dominant heavyweight KO'er than Wladimir Klitschko has never existed.
But it will be even more astonishing for some how ABYSMAL Cassius Clay (aka Cassius X aka Muhammad Ali) is.
And indeed, Ali's lack of dominance is the hallmark of his era: 4 of the 8 weakest (= rounds per KO in 200×2 fights) heavyweight champs came from Ali's era: Ernie Terell, Ali, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks. Ali's featherfisted'ness is only bottom'ed by Terrell and Tony LaRosa. TONY LAROSA!!
Already the fact that 4 of the biggest butterflies (= featherfists) like Ali, Terrell, or Frazier (18 rounds per KO) could become world champions is telling. The fact that Frazier is considered a heavy puncher by good-old-time nostalgists is even more proof of how AliFans suffer from "childhood delusion" and a "retreat into the past".
The discrepancy between Ali's extreme lack of power and his nickname "The Greatest"
shows us how well the 70ies Mythology Mill deludes people until now.
The US Fame Factory is unbeatable when it comes to producing… NAMES.
Please spare me the few examples where Ali looked dominant. Please spare me YouTube "best-of" compilations. Such "highlight video clips" are worthless. Watch his complete fights! Aside of his early fights he stumbles along like an overweight zombie ("mu-HAM-MAD") whose only chance is to out-stamina'ize his victims. He has no footwork, reflexes or mention worthy speed.
Ali gets away.
Ali is lucky (e.g. both Sonny Liston fights).
His opponents nearly have no trouble hitting him. He wins because he lets them punch themselves out on his body. That strategy only works if your opponents are weak. And indeed when you sum up how many KO'wins 200×2 his opponents had at the time of the bout then you find out how weak they were:
|Name||Number of KOs of Win Opponents in their 200×2 fights (at bout, aside)||Average||Number of KOs of Win Opponents in their 215×2 fights (at bout, aside)||Average KOs (200×2) of opponents|
662 total KOs
391 total KOs
590 total KOs
322 total KOs
338 total KOs
39 total KOs
548 total KOs
244 total KOs
404 total KOs
91 total KOs
32 total KOs
3 total KOs
207 total KOs
73 total KOs
525 total KOs
165 total KOs
Fistic Statistic [#396.3]
As you see Wladimir Klitschko's opponents had compiled 662 KOs thus far (in their real heavyweight fights) at the time of the bout against Klitschko. In other words: Wladimir was exposed to opponents who had KO'ed twice as many real heavyweights as Ali's opponents.
Take for example George Foreman: Foreman had scored (at the time of the bout when he fought Ali) 7 KOs in his superheavyweight fights 215×2 (= what we consider genuine heavyweight now). Wladimir Klitschko's AVERAGE opponent now has 7+ KOs on his record: In other words Wlad facing someone with a Foreman'esque KO experience IS NOTHING SPECIAL. Wlad's AVERAGE opponent has 10 times more KOs on his superheavyweight record than Ali's average opponent (0.7 KOs on average).
When it comes to superheavyweight 215×2 then even Joe Louis faced more KO'ish opposition than Ali (73 KOs vs 39 KOs). No wonder good-old-time nostalgists think that Ali had a hard chin: Because they think he was exposed to hard punchers whereas his opponents' KO performance is no comparison to Tyson's, Lewis' or Klitschko's (or even Larry Holmes) opponents.
Ali's era was truly a butterfly's dream.
Only Rocky Marciano is worse, but his era was a special case directly after world war II.
The truth about Ali's heavyweight record
Ali has won against 25 non-bummy opponents. That's extremely good. Not as good as Klitschko (27 non-bummy WinOpponents) or Roy Jones Jr (35 non-bummy WinOpponents) or Sugar Ray Robinson (SRR) (38 non-bummy WinOpponents) but nevertheless extremely good. You have only a handful of fighters who fought (and won) against that many good opponents.
But here comes the thing: Why does nobody compare SRR's opponents to Klitschko's opponents and then claim "SRR is a better heavyweight than Klitschko"? Because SRR opponents are sub-200-lbs opponents. It is illegal for Klitschko to face sub-200 opponents. Nobody doubts that SRR is one of the best (if not the best) boxer of all time. But his achievements are WORTHLESS in terms of HEAVYWEIGHT ACHIEVEMENTS. He did not fight a single heavyweight fight 200×2 AND NEITHER DID ANY of his 150+ opponents.
In terms of boxing Sugar Ray Robinson is an all-time-great, but in terms of heavyweight Sugar Ray Robinson is a nobody because his record (150+ opponents) consists only of of sub-200 fights and the records of his opponents (15100+ fights) consists also only of sub-200 fights.
The same applies partly to Muhammad Ali:
Take for example Muhammad Ali vs ·Bob Foster.
Foster himself (56-7) is a non-bummy boxer. That's good. But a win against Foster is WORTHLESS for a heavyweight record comparison. Foster was 180 lbs at the time of the bout and was not once involved in his whole career in a real heavyweight fight 200×2. Foster's worthiness in terms heavyweight (as it is defined nowadays) is ZERO.
In fact (since this is the topic of this article) if Wlad WOULD call out a 180 lbs guy (just like Foster) who never fought (and who never will) in a single real heavyweight fight (just like Foster) it would be a proof of "how the heavyweight division sucks". But here is Ali and suddenly Foster is a proof of the greatness of Ali's era.
Thus to be fair and to legitimately make a valid comparison of Ali's opponents and of Klitschko's opponents you have 2 choices:
Compare only the 200+ lbs opponents
- Compare the real heavyweight worthiness of Ali's and Klitschko's opponents.
The following table does both:
|Name||SumRecord (at about, aside) of Win Opponents||SumRecord (at bout, aside) of Win Opponents (200×2)||SumRecord (200×2, at bout, aside) of Win Opponents||SumRecord (200×2, at bout, aside) of Win Opponents ( 200×2)||Average 200×2 record of Win Opponents (non-bums, at bout)|
|·Roy Jones Jr||1363-257||0-0||21-3||0-0||0-0|
Fistic Statistic [#396.4]
How to read the numbers:
Look at Ali's column: The opponents that he won against (= Win Opponents) had piled up records of 1907 wins and 311 losses. Archie Moore alone is responsible for 184 wins and 22 losses (yes, Ali fought Moore in Moore's 219th(! ) fight). It's obvious that NO HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER nowadays could face an opponent with a record of 184-22. Moore's record is so high because it is filled with no-danger-opponents who boxed as low as 122 lbs (Billy Day) or even 112 lbs (Alabama Kid).
Additionally Archie Moore himself was only 191 lbs at the time of the bout.
Thus I made these 4 columns:
- The first column is a sum of the records of all opponents Ali did win against. It includes ALL wins of Ali (whether 200+ or not) and ALL the fights of Ali's opponents (whether 200+ or not). This column includes Archie Moore's 184-22.
- The second column excludes fights of Ali which were sub-200. This column excludes Archie Moore because Archie Moore was a cruiser at the time of the bout.
- The third column includes ALL wins of Ali (whether 200+ or not) but sums up only 200×2 fights of his opponents. This column includes Archie Moore but only with Archie Moore's 200×2 record of 2-0.
- The fourth column excludes Ali's sub-200 wins and his opponents' sub-200 fights. This column does not include Archie Moore.
- The fifth column shows the AVERAGE heavyweight record of Ali's non-bummy opponents.
In other words: The fourth column features a pure heavyweight figure (as it's defined nowadays). And as you can see, in terms of real heavyweight, Wladimir Klitschko's average opponent is twice as worthy (26-2 vs 12-1) as Ali's.
Now, these figures are STILL unfair to Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, because they don't include the featherfisted'ness of Ali thus they punish KO'ers like Tyson or Klitschko.
Thus you should adjust these figures by throwing "Rounds needed per KO" into the calculation to properly honor THE DOMINANCE of wins:
Klitschko finishes his opponents approximately 3x faster than Ali
(6.8 rounds instead of 21.4 rounds per KO against non-bums )
and his average opponent has a 2x greater "heavyweight worthiness" than Ali's
(21-2 vs 12-1)
thus Wladimir Klitschko is approximately
6x better as a heavyweight (200×2) than Muhammad Ali.
In other words: Would you choose to watch all of Klitschko's fights and all of Muhammad Ali's fights then you would get 6 times more "real heavyweight'ness" from Klitschko than from Ali.
I know how incredible this might sound for AliFans BUT THAT'S ONLY
- because they think that beating 170+ lbs opponents is a win comparable to Klitschko's wins
- they have been indoctrinated by the (USA) boxing media or fooled by their childhood memories
Ali's supposedly superior opponents
There is no greater delusion in the (US) boxing world than about the "out-of-this-world quality" of Muhammad Ali's opponents. While the quality of Ali's opponents AS BOXERS was high their quality AS HEAVYWEIGHTS was lower than nowadays' heavyweight boxers. Just like you could claim that Manny Pacquiao AS A BOXER is better than any opponent Lennox Lewis has ever faced, but Manny Pacquiao would be squashed within a few minutes by any half-decent heavyweight because Pacquiao's quality AS A HEAVYWEIGHT is NON-EXISTING.
Thus let me make this clear: Ali's opponents were good boxers (at least by the then-standard), but they were not necessarily good heavyweights.
But my gosh, in those old times, they called George Foreman (6'3.5'') BIG GEORGE FOREMAN. My gosh, they even thought that 6'0'' is tall ("They are big boys. George Chuvalo is 6'0''", commentator of the Chuvalo vs Buster Mathis fight). My gosh, they thought that Earnie Shavers was a power puncher (see explanations below). My gosh, they considered heavyweight boxers old who were 30 years of age ("Ali is 30 years old now, but what a fantastic athlete he still is", original remark by the commentator of Ali vs Lewis), in other words: Ali's opponents who were 30 and above (25 of his opponents) were possibly like 40 or 50-year-olds nowadays.
In other words: These delusions of the 1970ies still linger on and I have to make this blog to set things straight and feature THE FACTS:
Modern heavyweights are a new type of breed and they would have steamrolled over past boxers.Half of Klitschko's opponents (e.g. Lamon Brewster, Sam Peter, Ray Austin, Tony Thompson just to randomly name a few) would have RULED most of Ali's opponents in the 1970ies. The 1970ies have not seen anything as strong and big as Klitschko's opponents, let alone Klitschko.
But anyway, let's analyze Ali's non-bummy heavyweight Win Opponents 200+ lbs one by one. Let's find out what is so *cough* stellar about them. Let's pop some balloons filled with propaganda and childhood delusions:
This article is a draft. Full text coming soon!
Instead browse the sitemap with complete articles...