Muhammad Ali’s top 5 greatest fights of all time

Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time has fought many incredible fights throughout his career, here we take a look at his stop 5 fights.

Cassius Clay, wildly known as Muhammad Ali was born on January 17th, 1942, in Louisville, is considered as one of the great heavyweight boxers of all time if not the best, he has fought 61 fights in his career and has won 55 of them, and 35 of those being a knockout. His speed was the one thing he was most famous for, he would punch an opponent in a matter of milliseconds and had reflexes like never seen before, he would dance around the ring, entertaining the crowd, talk trash to his opponents, he was a true showman and did it all while dominating his in the ring.

He is a one-time gold medalist in Olympics, he was the world heavyweight champion from 1964 to 1967, in 1974 he was recognized as a fighter of the year by boxing writers association, he was again the World heavyweight champion 1974 to 1978 and then from 1978-79,  he was inducted in the international boxing hall of fame in 1990, these are just his boxing records, but he has done off the court is also why he is wildly known as the greatest sportsman in the history of American sports.

5.  Ali vs Cleveland Williams (TKO 3, November 14, 1996)

This was Muhammad Ali at its peak, he at the heights of his powers, he was young energetic, and faster than he ever was in his career, his famous saying “fly like a bird and sting like a bee” couldn’t have been more truthful, he was up against a knockout artist Williams, he had 51 knockouts to his resume. This was Ali’s 7th title defence and he demolished Williams, he outboxed him in every manner, his quick jabs stung Williams, his speedy combinations were too much for the challenger and as a result, he was knocked down three times in the 2nd round and with Ali’s 4th and final knockdown to Williams in 3rd round was enough for the referee to stop the match and declare Ali as the winner.

Requiem For A Houston Heavyweight: The Tragedy Of Cleveland Williams - Boxing Over Broadway
Ali punching Williams| image courtesy- Boxing over Broadway

4. Ali vs Joe Frazier I ( Lost in 15 rounds, on March 8, 1971)

This was the beginning of the best trilogy the sport of boxing has ever seen, Ali vs Smokin Joe Frazier, this is a rivalry that is unmatched and it is not often that loss comes in the top fights, but Ali who fought only 18 rounds in his last 3 years of fighting, on this day went against a ferocious, unorthodox boxer in the name of Frazier. This was the fight where Ali after a long time was the one who was being dominated, with Frazier style of boxing close range Ali couldn’t handle his intensity but this was the fight where we saw Ali as a FIGHTER, as a competitor who will never back down in a fight. After hard-fought 15 rounds, Frazier dropped him with a ferocious left hand but Ali rose again and shocked the world with his competitiveness but ultimately lost with a unanimous decision, this was Ali’s first defeat in his career

Ali vs. Frazier:; - Los Angeles Times
image courtesy- LA times

3. Ali vs George Foreman (KO in 8 rounds, October 30, 1974)

The fight was named ‘Rumble in the Jungle. This fight took place in Zaire in Central Africa and now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ali who was at the time 32 years old was regressing, his speed, the defence was not the same as it used to be, he was matched against another knockout artist and is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers himself, he was a young ferocious 25 year old, who just came off a win against Joe Frazier and Ken Norton in jus under 2 rounds, Ali was the underdog in the fight, everybody thought Ali would be knocked out in early rounds, but Ali who has always gone against the odds did what he always did, Ali in his many interviews before the fight said he has no stamina and will the fight, that is exactly what happened as Ali’s great rope-a-dope technique allowed him to block his opponent’s powerful blows and tire him out and by the 8th round, Ali knocked him out and once again became the heavyweight champion of the world.

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Ali vs Foreman| image courtesy- DAZN

2. Ali vs Sonny Liston (TKO in 7 rounds, February 26, 1964)

The legend’s story had to start somewhere and this was the beginning of the story of one of the greatest boxers of all time. This was his last fight in the name of Cassius Clay. The 22-year-old Clay/Ali was up against the world heavy champion Sonny Liston, he was viewed as the unbeatable boxer, he demolished his last opponents with consecutive first-round KOs and was the obvious favourite to win his fight against Ali, but the sport would never be the same as after 18 minutes of fight in the ring Liston surrendered to the supremacy of Ali’s fast hands and unstoppable ring movement and Ali for the first time in his career became the world heavyweight champion, Liston gave and excuse of surrendering due to bad shoulder and in a rematch, he was demolished and was knocked out in the first round.

Clay vs Liston 1 - Boxing Over Broadway
Clay vs Liston 1 – image courtesy- Boxing Over Broadway

1. Ali vs Joe Frazier III (TKO in round 14, October 1, 1975)

The Thrilla in Manila was the final fight against the Smokin Joe Frazier, Ali tasted his first defeat at the hands of Frazier but won his second fight in 12 rounds at MSG this was the final and last fight of the trilogy to see who was the better boxer, even though both of the boxers were not what they were 4 years ago but the fight exceeded everyone expectations, it cant be described in words, the heart, the fight, the competitiveness. the courage both the boxer had, it was in the 14th round where finally Smokin Joe waived the flag, what many don’t know is that even Ali was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat but Joe did it a second earlier, both went back and forth and ended up in the hospital after the fight, in Ali’s word “this was the closest thing to death he has ever experienced”, this is something one has to witness to gather the greatness of this match but even after a great battle fought by Frazier, Ali was the one who came with a win and solidified his boxing as the greatest heavyweight of all time.

 

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