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Old 07-01-2007, 12:25 PM   #61
Muchmoore
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Default Re: Hardest Heavyweight Puncher?

1. Shavers
2. Foreman
3. Liston
4. Tyson
5. Tua
6. Lewis
7. Marciano
8. Baer
9. Bruno
10. Wlad Klitschko
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:02 PM   #62
Duodenum
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Default Re: Hardest Heavyweight Puncher?

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Originally Posted by Chaney
I don't think so. The Hauser book (The Life and Times of Muhammed Ali) is a meticulously researched and verified work of biography. Hauser had unprecedented access to Ali and all the main personalities from his story. I would doubt the accuracy of what was written by Richard Durham in Ali's "autobiography" The Greatest, but I think Hauser is an excellent source, the best single volume on Ali, IMO.

What is possible is that Ali was talking 'off the cuff', not in a highly analytical manner. I think he wanted to mention all of his most historically important opponents in one soundbite (i.e, world champions)...and Earnie does not figure in this rollcall. The quote in its entirity also mentions Sonny Liston as Ali's "scariest" opponent. I am also pretty sure that he calls Foreman "the most powerful", not "the hardest puncher" in this quote. There is a difference.

As for Ali's joke about his "ancestors in Africa" feeling the punches from Shavers, he also made exactly the same joke about Henry Cooper's punch that put him on the canvas, on British TV. So we have to be careful about confusing Ali's jokes and soundbites with his considered analysis. Thats why I was interested in reading the full quote where it seemed that Ali had definitivley chosen Shavers over Foreman as the hardest puncher he faced.
This is entirely feasible. The distinction between punching power and physical strength is one that was made by Archie Moore after his challenge of Marciano, when he stated, "He's the strongest man I've ever fought. I don't know that he's the hardest hitter, but he certainly hits hard enough." (Ultimately, as is well known, Archie credited Yvon Durelle's first KD right as the hardest punch he ever took in his completed career.) The version of Big George who regained the linear HW title is surely the physically strongest boxing champion in history. (Did George ever take a single involuntary backward step inhis entire second career?)

"The Greatest" had some good quotable lines in it, but it was dreadful in terms of making obviously false statements, like identifying Zack Clayton as the referee of Ali's rematch with Liston. (How incompetent can a ghostwriter be, and still make a living?)
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:07 PM   #63
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:15 AM   #64
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Default 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.
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