Muhammad Ali's management VERY SMART
I was studying his early career lately and noticed how well protected he was, for his own good on the way up. Ali's management all he way up to liston guided his pro career perfectly, throwing him in against good but not dangerous world class fighters that could potentially upset him. They wanted to bring up young Clay up systematically, They wanted to test his incredible talent vs good fighters but not risk him getting beat or becoming damaged goods. So they threw him in against good lowly ranked contenders, but guys that they kn ew Ali would beat and improve Guys like 6'4 Billy Daniels, 6'4 212lb Alejandro Lavorante, Alex Miteff, Sonny Banks, 152 year old Archie moore were all ranked good fighters and all presented a new stylistica matchup for him, but his management knew no matter they didnt threaten to beat him and Ali would get valuable experience fighting these guys before they threw him in vs Red Meat. The best fighter Ali probably beat pre title was 45 year old Archie Moore who was ranked high and still a dangerous puncher, but they knew Alis speed youthness would be way too much for Archie at his advanced age. when they threw Ali in his first against a top notch young boxer, Ali struggled valiently against jones but gained valuable experience. They were also smart that when Ali suffered his first real punchers test, when he got clocked by a henry cooper left hook, it was henry cooper in ther and not a cleveland williams. So Ali could always dance his way out of there if he got in major trouble. They wanted Ali to gain valuable experience fighting good but not world class fighters, so that as ali continued to mature he would be ready to handle those world class styles when the time was right. Dundee was smart turning down offers from harold johnson and eddie machen.
With Cassius prolific amataur career they could have easily thrown hi against the wolves early. I think had they tried to take on the world class fighters in the early 1960s like harold johnson, machen, folley, williams, johannson, Terell, he would have beat alot of these guys, but he might have been upset 1 or 2 times and certainly been damaged goods early in his career.