Originally Posted by SolomonDeedes
Fine, I'll bite:
01. Doug Jones. Jones clearly won. They gave it to the younger fighter with potential (Clay).
No. Every reasonably impartial observer saw this as a close, competitive bout. Jones did not clearly win.
02. Sonny Liston 1 & 2. Both rumours of a fix.
There is no evidence of a fix in either fight. People thinking the second fight was rigged is understandable as it's such a bizarre spectacle, but as in most cases the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. Liston was genuinely knocked down, could have got up, and didn't because Ali was refusing to move away from him and Walcott never started a count.
03. Henry Cooper. The glove tearing.
The myth that Ali got significant extra time to recover has been thoroughly discredited.
04. Ernie Terrell. Thumbing Terrell in the eye which changed the whole flow of the fight.
Like a lot of beaten fighters, Terrell had an excuse for losing. In reality damage around his eye was visible as early as the second round from absorbing repeated jabs. The idea that this turned a possible win into the one-sided beating which actually took place is unrealistic.
05. Joe Frazier II. Was allowed to hold all night - referee did nothing.
This one is actually true. But the referee clearly wasn't as big an Ali fan as all that, as his ending the round early when Frazier was dazed on the ropes illustrates. In Manila the following year, the referee determinedly prevented holding and Ali won anyway.
06. George Foreman. Rumours of a fix.
Foreman's claims would have more credibility if he had picked a single excuse and stuck with it. Instead it was doctored water or loose ropes or deliberate dehydration depending on his mood. The man himself probably summed it up best while in a different mood: "Everyone need an excuse. I couldn't live without an excuse. So I was picking them out of the air. 'Oh yeah, my shoes were too big.' Anything."
07. Ron Lyle. Premature stoppage - Lyle was ahead on all cards.
Lyle was slightly ahead on the cards. If he'd somehow survived the eleventh it would have been a 2-point round for Ali, which would have put him ahead. In any case Lyle was slumped on the ropes making no move to defend himself. Any decent referee would have stopped it.
08. Joe Frazier III. Ali wanted to quit, Frazier did not, Frazier was forced to quit, Ali won.
The suggestion here is that Muhammad Ali, after all he faced and overcame in the ring, was about to become the only man in history to lose the title by refusing to come out for the final round after giving his opponent a one-sided beating in the previous round. He had been saying since the 10th that he felt like he was dying, so he may well have mumbled something about not being able to go on as he slumped onto his stool. It doesn't mean that after a minute's rest he'd actually have quit, any more than he did when he said to cut the gloves off against Liston 11 years earlier.
09. Jimmy Young. Total robbery.
The ageing Ali boxed poorly and it was a dull fight, but not a robbery. There were very few clean punches landed by either man and very few rounds clearly won.
10. Ken Norton III. Total robbery.
As the referee, both ringside judges, the Associated Press, the United Press and even Joe Frazier agreed, this was a close fight and not a robbery.
What this comes down to is if you accept uncritically every internet rumour of foul play and every opponent's excuse for losing, and pronounce every close fight a robbery, you can make anyone's career look pretty mediocre.
Ali was never the untouchable superman that popular culture sometimes depicts. He was human and fallible and even at his peak he would get hit and occasionally lose a round. And yet he had a career which only Joe Louis can rival in terms of longevity and sheer volume of achievement. The idea that it is possible to do all that through a mixture of poor sportsmanship, dumb luck and shady behind the scenes dealings is a fantasy.
OK then at the least.....
Cooper was robbed by Ali having his glove torn
Frazier was cheated in the second fight by the holding
Lyle was robbed by a premature stoppage
Norton was robbed in the third fight - clearly
Young was robbed in their fight - clearly
Those have no speculation or rumours. That is 5 fights Ali controversially won and maybe did not deserve to win (Norton + Young especially).