Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
Ali would've probably been seen stronger head-to-head but weaker resume-wise. Although it wasn't planned, going away for three years built up his opponents and gave his legacy a tremendous boost. Louis should've taken notes, but then he did go to war and retired rather quickly after.
Let's keep in mind, also, that if Ali did fight and defeat Frazier in 1968/1969, the win wouldn't count for much. It probably wouldn't of even been the "FOTC", really, if Frazier was just another contender, albeit a good one.
And since Frazier wouldn't be as highly regarded, Foreman wouldn't have been a "future ATG". He would've been a crude, hard-punching but limited Olympic champ.
The layoff helped his resume because he came back and beat most of the better guys anyway.