Originally Posted by Langford
very solid post there MF, true stuff.
What about the talk that gets thrown around about Johansson vs. Ali (and a young Ali showing him up) during a sparring session? I have always wondered about what the facts were on that, but never too much I guess because I never looked too much into it, but your post makes me wonder about it.
How in shape was Ingemar? Was he even trying? What exactly happened? Was Ali simply moving around the ring and avoiding him? And if so, what does that prove? In addition to the London myth people always seem to bring that up as a way to poke a hole into Johansson is worthy argument.
I'm uncertain about this incident. I do know that Johansson was known for being unmotivated and unimpressive in sparring, and Ali was extremely anxious to prove himself at this time and was likely very motivated if he was getting the chance to strut his stuff against a heavyweight champ. Not to mention, Johansson came into the third Patterson fight with a bit of gut and weighing in at a career high of 206, and this was well before then, so he was probably 210+ and quite flabby at the time of this sparring session. And even if those previous sentences weren't true, being shown up for a round or two in a sparring session with one of the greatest heavyweights of all time would hardly be cause to write a fighter off, or even really relevant to anything.