All-Time Heavyweight Tournament
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Muhammad Ali-Joe Louis
How They Got Here:
Tko 7 Bob Fitzsimmons
Ko 11 Ezzard Charles
Ko 13 Jersey Joe Walcott
Tko 6 Jess Willard
Tko 13 Sam McVey
Tko 2 Harry Wills
W15 Evander Holyfield
Ko 4 Riddick Bowe
L15 Rocky Marciano
L15 Jack Johnson
Tko 12 Mike Tyson
Ko 6 George Foreman
W15 Jack Dempsey
Ko 3 Lennox Lewis
Muhammad Ali-Joe Louis
Cox's Comments: Ali's attitude coming into this fight was totally different from his previous bouts where he had shown nothing but contempt for the abilities of his opponents, on the contrary Ali had nothing but respect for Joe Louis. In this fight respect was earned.
Ali came out boxing carefully in the first round. Ali probed with his jab but Louis was well prepared for it jabbing with Ali and blocking Ali's jab with his glove and countering with his own jab effectively in a similar fashion to the Ken Norton fights. Louis managed a pair of strong body punches mid-way through the first and capped the round off with a strong left hook to the jaw that momentarily stunned Ali. The first round clearly belonged to Joe Louis.
In the second Ali showed more mobility using his toes and circling a slower moving Louis. Ali suprised Louis this round with his great hand speed switching from the jab (which was ineffective) to quick right hand leads as he did against Foreman. A strong right by Ali past the 2:00 mark caused the sweat to fly off Joe's head. Ali was in command this round.
The third round saw the tactical battle continue with Louis at least equal in the jabbing match and Joes jabs were much stronger. As Ali had trouble with his jab he increasingly relied on his quick right leads to suprise Louis and then dance out of danger. This continued over the next few rounds which were very close though Ali seemed to have an edge.
In the 6th Louis turned the tide back in his favor with a pulverizing left hook to the liver. Ali went to the ropes for the first time. Louis hammered away with both hands to the body and ingnored Ali's head so as not to leave himself open to his counter-flurries. Louis was very workman-like with Ali against the ropes. Ali tried to fight back but Louis clearly got the better of a violent exchange. A smashing left hook to the jaw rocked Ali to his heels and he appeared to be in a bit of trouble but the bell ended further action.
Ali continued the faulty rope-a-dope strategy agaisnt Louis in the 7th and 8th which were Louis best rounds of the fight. Louis worked over Ali's body and continued to land with strong left hooks to the jaw though Ali was able to partially block and anticipate many of them. Louis began pounding Ali's body like Joe Frazier in the Manila fight. Louis was trying to set up his big right cross but Ali was able to effectively neutralize it, but Ali was taking a beating to the body in the process. Ali had his spurts of activity but Louis was clearly in command and doing all the damage. In the 8th Louis landed a very hard left hook to the jaw and Ali was staggering. It looked like it might be all over for Ali! Ali mocked being hurt even more than he was and Louis was unable to find the finishing blow.
Realizing his rope fighting strategy was a failure against an opponent who didnt tire Ali finally listened to his trainer Angelo Dundee and brought the fight back to ring center in the 9th. The conensus at ringside was that Louis was winning the fight easily at this point. However Ali began to get himself back in the fight, slowly at first pitter-pattering light flurries but enough to offset Louis rhythm. Ali was still having trouble with his jab so he began to switch between jabs and right hand leads, and pivoting and changing directions to befuddle the menacing, stalking Louis much as Jersey Joe Walcott had done. Ali won the next few rounds in this fashion simply by out-scoring Louis who was remained the aggressor.
Jack Blackburn was scolding Louis after a lazy 11th round in which Ali was doing very little but more than Louis. Joe was was aggressive but throwing few punches. The bout began to take on a look of the DeLahoya-Quartey fight where the aggressor was landing few punches and the defender was content not to be hit. However things lit up in the exciting 12th! Both men were exchanging jabs at ring center with Louis causing a slight swelling under Ali's right eye. Ali then turned away from Louis dipping his shoulder and pivoting into a right hand (as Larry Holmes did agaisnt Gerry Cooney in the 2nd round of their fight). Bam! Ali's best right cross landed flush on Louis jaw. Louis went down! Joe was more suprised than really hurt. But Ali saw an opportunity and went after Louis sensing that the scoring might be very close in a match largely controlled by Louis. Ali landed his best 5 punch flurry of the fight and Louis was covering up. Just as it appeared Louis may be in serious jeopardy. Pow! Louis right hand that he had been looking for all night landed clean on Ali's chin! Ali went flying back into the ropes and he was hurt! The crowd already on its feet ROARED in anticipation. Ali was back against the ropes and both men exchanged hard punches. It was the best exchange of the fight. Both men were hurt! Ali forced a clinch and Louis banged with both hands to the body. Louis forced the issue with a strong right uppercut-left hook combination that made Ali's eyes roll back in his head. Ali was out on his feet at the bell. All 3 judges gave this round to Louis.
Angelo Dundee was pleading with Ali not to exchange punches with Joe Louis before the start of the 13th. Ali was slumped in his corner and appeared to be a beaten fighter. Drawing from the reserves that made Ali legendary he came out of his corner determined not to be knocked out. He scored with 3 successive straight right leads whose quickness could not be estimated by his opponent. Ali opened up with a peppering flurry and then slid out of danger from Louis quick-strike counters that had nailed him the previous round. Ali started the round strongly and then boxed cautiously the rest of the round. Louis was stalking but not landing. Ali landed a quick 4 punch scoring flurry before the bell ended the 13th.
The 14th was a repeat of the 13th, slowly paced with Louis plodding forward searching for an opening but unable to find one. Ali was content to circle and occassionally pop Louis with a quick right lead. Louis tried to cut the ring off and finally managed to do so and attacked Ali's body with both hands in the final seconds of the round but wasnt enough to win the round on 2 of the judges cards.
In the last round Louis went all out gunning for the knockout, the fight was still close so this last round was important to both men. Louis landed two strong jabs that had Ali's right eye looking more swollen than any of his previous fights. Ali's jaw was also badly swollen as in the first Frazier fight. Ali also, no doubt, was suffering from some very sore ribs. Louis had some puffiness around his left eye from Ali's right hands and was begginning to have trouble seeing the right hands coming. Ali took advantage of this in the final round circling to his right and scoring with quick right leads and some occassional flurries that though not particularly damaging scored valauble points. Louis was unable to find the mark with his big right and his attempts to get to Ali's body were frustrated by clinches and his deteriorating vision. It also made it more difficult for him to find the mark with his left hook the punch that allowed him to dominate the middle rounds of the fight. Ali won the round through caution and attrition it was now up to the judges. This was a clean bout Refereed by Mills Lane.
The early rounds were fairly even, the middle rounds Louis and the late rounds Ali.
Official Decision: Judge Harold Lederman had it 144-141 Ali; Judge Ruby Ortega 144-141 Louis; and Judge Art Adala had it 145-140 for winner by split-decision and Cox's Corner All Time Heavyweight Computer Boxing Champion...Muhammad Ali.
Now who said Joe Louis was my pre-picked winner? You were WRONG! The computer picked the results!
Final Standings Based on Computer Tournament Results
All Time Heavyweight Computer Tournament Page
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