Re: Hardest Heavyweight Puncher?
I have dug out my copy of the excellent Hauser biography of Ali, I will give you a couple of direct quotes from the book:
'In round two, Shavers landed a devastating overhand right. Ali was hurt. "Next to Joe Frazier," he said later, "that was the hardest I ever got hit."
"Of all the men I fought in boxing, Sonny Liston was the scariest; George Foreman was the most powerful; Floyd Patterson was the most skilled as a boxer. But the roughest and toughest was Joe Frazier. He brought out the best in me."
Interesting stuff, but contradictary and no definitive answer from Ali on the OP question. Ali seems to talk 'off the cuff', not analytically comparing one opponent to the other across the length of his career. What about Listons punching power in their first fight?
Ali seems to be leaning toward Frazier...but this may be because Joe's constant pressure would leave Ali open to getting hurt by Joe in ways more ponderous bangers like Shavers and Foreman couldn't manage.