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Old 02-09-2008, 08:45 AM   #1
Bokaj
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Default Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

If Ali had been born in the early 80's and in his full prime today, would he still be as fast as he was in 66-67 or would he be slower through having been bulked up with today's greater emphasis on weight-lifting? Or would he be just as fast, only bigger and stronger?

Your thoughts?
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

I'm not sure how many of today's heavyweights are bulked up with diet and weight-training, and how many are just naturally bigger anyway. I suppose it must be more a case of the former, as training will have changed since Ali's day.

I think if Ali was boxing in his prime today, he'd still be the same weight naturally as he was in his own day, but he might well gain weight in order to match his modern opponents. If this happened, he may lose a little speed, but I think it would depend on how much weight he put on, and how much of it was muscle.

If he bulked up by around a stone, (14 pounds if you're American) and it was mostly muscle, he may not lose much speed, and would punch harder, but it may just sap his stamina a little?

However, if he went up to about 240-245 pounds like today's heavys, I think he'd likely lose a noteable amount of his speed, though its his stamina which would suffer the most, I think, because that much weight wouldn't suit him.

He'd only be stronger if he gained muscle, but that would be a useless advantage compared to losing his snap.

The truth is, with Ali being like he was back then, he probably wouldn't allow his trainers and criticts talk him into gaining too much weight, due to his sheer self-belief.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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Originally Posted by Steviewonder
I'm not sure how many of today's heavyweights are bulked up with diet and weight-training, and how many are just naturally bigger anyway. I suppose it must be more a case of the former, as training will have changed since Ali's day.

I think if Ali was boxing in his prime today, he'd still be the same weight naturally as he was in his own day, but he might well gain weight in order to match his modern opponents. If this happened, he may lose a little speed, but I think it would depend on how much weight he put on, and how much of it was muscle.

If he bulked up by around a stone, (14 pounds if you're American) and it was mostly muscle, he may not lose much speed, and would punch harder, but it may just sap his stamina a little?

However, if he went up to about 240-245 pounds like today's heavys, I think he'd likely lose a noteable amount of his speed, though its his stamina which would suffer the most, I think, because that much weight wouldn't suit him.

He'd only be stronger if he gained muscle, but that would be a useless advantage compared to losing his snap.

The truth is, with Ali being like he was back then, he probably wouldn't allow his trainers and criticts talk him into gaining too much weight, due to his sheer self-belief.
I don't know how much weight Ali could realistically carry without sacrificing speed and/or stamina. When Ali fought Berbick, he was 238 and looked like George Foreman. I guess if he had a modern trainer he could have gained muscle weight without much fat, but maybe Ali didn't have the frame to carry a lot of weight.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

Having extra bulk would'nt help Ali although he would probably come in a little heavier than 210-212 lbs. He would'nt need to rely on his foot speed as much as he did in the 60's and 70's because today's HW's are bigger and generally slower than the fighters of those decades were. A little well timed lareral movement combined with his fast hands and good reflexes would be enough to get the job done against todays behemoths. Ali at say 220lbs would be all the size he would need and could effectively carry on his frame to match his fighting style. Any more and it would slow him down some and affect his timing and stamina. There's a lot more to boxing than size and bulk, especially if it's not natural size but packed on mass.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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Originally Posted by JIm Broughton
Having extra bulk would'nt help Ali although he would probably come in a little heavier than 210-212 lbs. He would'nt need to rely on his foot speed as much as he did in the 60's and 70's because today's HW's are bigger and generally slower than the fighters of those decades were. A little well timed lareral movement combined with his fast hands and good reflexes would be enough to get the job done against todays behemoths. Ali at say 220lbs would be all the size he would need and could effectively carry on his frame to match his fighting style. Any more and it would slow him down some and affect his timing and stamina. There's a lot more to boxing than size and bulk, especially if it's not natural size but packed on mass.
Well put! But I think he still would have as much need for his speed. Not to avoid today's behemots, as you call them, but to move in and out of their superior reach and delivering stinging combinations. In other words he would have a lesser need for speed from a defensive standpoint, but maybe a larger need from an offensive standpoint.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

Ali was a product of his time and was a light heavyweight when he won the gold, the envirorment that created him does not exsist any longer, same with Marciano,Louis,Lewis,Dempsey etc. I think the core of each all time great was a great start of gifts, none the same as the other, the future will bring other great but the envirorment will be different but the core (great fighter) will be like cream it will rise to the top
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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Originally Posted by Bummy Davis
Ali was a product of his time and was a light heavyweight when he won the gold, the envirorment that created him does not exsist any longer, same with Marciano,Louis,Lewis,Dempsey etc. I think the core of each all time great was a great start of gifts, none the same as the other, the future will bring other great but the envirorment will be different but the core (great fighter) will be like cream it will rise to the top
This is great thinking.. what exists at one time may be absent from another. That is why it is hard to compare one era with another. I don't really get into the Dempsey stuff, but outside of that what you said is still valid. Like you said, the cream rises to the top... and that explains why we still compare some very old boxing legends with others.
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

Ali was never into weights regardless so I don't see him putting on a massive amount of weight unless he dipped into anabolics or growth hormones.
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

With modern nutritionist and supplements (nevermind weights and steroids) Ali would weigh an extra 10-20lbs of ripped muscle and be actually faster.

If he did olympic weightlifting (NOT BODYBUILDING WEIGHTLIFTING AS MOST HWs do) and plymotetrics he would be faster and more explosive still and add a bit more muscle.
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher
With modern nutritionist and supplements (nevermind weights and steroids) Ali would weigh an extra 10-20lbs of ripped muscle and be actually faster.

If he did olympic weightlifting (NOT BODYBUILDING WEIGHTLIFTING AS MOST HWs do) and plymotetrics he would be faster and more explosive still and add a bit more muscle.
And that... would be terrifying.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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And that... would be terrifying.
I'll re-mention that 99% of boxers don't have a clue how to use weights to improve their power/speed/strength while retaining stamina and few HWs get the nutritional side of the equation right
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

Might lose a tad bit of speed, but Ali was an unique individual, so maybe not.
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Would Ali be as fast as he was if he was active today?

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
With modern nutritionist and supplements (nevermind weights and steroids) Ali would weigh an extra 10-20lbs of ripped muscle and be actually faster.

If he did olympic weightlifting (NOT BODYBUILDING WEIGHTLIFTING AS MOST HWs do) and plymotetrics he would be faster and more explosive still and add a bit more muscle.
So Ali would be an athletic superheavyweight weighting 230-240 lbs?

That's quite a lot for a guy who started in the olympics as a light heavy.

Also Ali could fight in the cruiser division if he was active today.
When he was 24 he made 201 lbs in the Cooper fight, Haye got in the ring at around 210 lbs.

He was 212 lbs against frazier in 74, surely the simplest weight draining and staying fit can keep him in the cruiserweight division as long as he wants to be.
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