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Old 11-08-2007, 08:00 AM   #1
Mendoza
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Default The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

I watched some of Ali's early title defenses vs Patterson, Chavalo, Terell, and Cooper. While Ali had great feet and quick defensive reflexes, his guard was wide open.

In the 60's, Ali seemed to have a height, speed, and reach advantage over just about everyone he fought. Ali was hit cleanly at times, but seemed to be able to get away with fundamental defensive flaw because no opponent he faced could match him in speed, size or reach. Sometimes a fighter would be near even to Ai in one of the three mentioned attributes, but the other two were not close enough to even things out.

But what if Ali was fighting a skilled fighter in the 80's, 90's, or 00's. A man who could match or exceed Ali's height, reach, and is close to Ali’s hand speed?

In this case, I think Ali would need to re-tool his defense style. Otherwise he's wide open to jabs, hook, and rights…and would find himself in a tough fight.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Yes

Every day of the week including Sunday.

His reflexes were god given and most of these big oafs today would be in no danger of hitting him cleanly. Whether you had a reach advantage or not he could judge distences so well that he only had to pull back to make you miss by an inch.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Concur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Yes

Every day of the week including Sunday.

His reflexes were god given and most of these big oafs today would be in no danger of hitting him cleanly. Whether you had a reach advantage or not he could judge distences so well that he only had to pull back to make you miss by an inch.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Yes he could 95% of the time. But I supect if he began his career in 1988, by now he would of had at least one defeat due to the tactic.

Lewis, Bowe and Holyfield in the time period all had enough speed and power to potentially make Ali pay at least once in any potential match-ups
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Absolutely

Last edited by janitor; 09-05-2006 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Yes

Every day of the week including Sunday.

His reflexes were god given and most of these big oafs today would be in no danger of hitting him cleanly. Whether you had a reach advantage or not he could judge distences so well that he only had to pull back to make you miss by an inch.
I disagree 100%. Holmes, Bowe, Lewis and Klitschko all had better height, better or even reach, and plenty of speed...in addition to power.

If you have a wide open low left guard, you’re going to get tagged by right hands in boxing from mid to long range, unless you have a towering height advantage, and long reach advantage yourself. It’s that simple. Ali was fighting slower handed fighters, with far less reach and in most cases height than him. So he was “ safe “ with this flaw.

Look at Kenny Norton. He gave Ali hell. Why? Ali's low guard. Sorry, Norton was not as good as the four fighters I mentioned. And If Ali fought any prime version of these guys, his going to be in a tough fight, and this weakness will be an issue. I’m not saying Ali wins or losses. My point is the flaw, not a fantasy pick result.

Good hand speed with good range & accuracy makes it harder to get out of the way...even if you are as quick as Ali.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

With his mobility and head movement, yes. Bugner and Terrell weren't slow, yet were decisoned pretty handily by Ali. He never had any particular trouble dealing with taller opponents than himself.

Bugner didn't have tremendous power, but he was a tall, skilled and well-schooled boxer in the European mold, with good speed. If Muhammad had a fast surface to dance on, with decent ring size to maneuver in, it would be extremely difficult for a power puncher to get sufficiently set to launch bombs against him. Such a hitter might dislocate his shoulder trying to reach him (as Liston did).

The right which Lewis took out Rachman with was devastating, but Hasim straightened up, and virtually gave himself up to LL just before that punch connected, something Ali never would have done at his peak.

Larry Holmes would have always given Muhammad headaches, but Larry had the best heavyweight jab of all time, and great ring intelligence to boot, as well as Eddie Futch in his corner for some of his peak performances.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Albeit Ali did fight rangy opponents the size of today's heavyweights, I think I get and agree with what you are suggesting. He would have more trouble with more accurate, more sizable opponents.

Only what you have as yet failed to consider is that Ali did not use the low guard because of a flaw in his style. When Ali used the low guard it was not some irrational miscalculation or a particular defficiency in fundamental skills, but a form of strategy. In fact it can be argued that he would not have won the fights he won, or any imaginary match-up you or I can think of, if not for the employment of his famous dance routine.

Ali would struggle against more accurate, more sizable opponents, but then again, very few others would not. Holmes, Lewis, Bowe, and Klitschko are very good fighters- all four belong around the top echelons of heavyweight boxing- but they are not a product of the 'modern era', and only Holmes and Lewis belong in the ring with Ali.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

So, yeah. Ali could still get away with it; and with relative ease also.

Plus, Lennox and Larry aren't even around today.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza
I disagree 100%. Holmes, Bowe, Lewis and Klitschko all had better height, better or even reach, and plenty of speed...in addition to power.
Holmes, Bowe, Lewis and Klitschko senior are curently growing morrows in the countryside. I dont think they would be much more bother for Ali today than they are for any other fighter.

Quote:
If you have a wide open low left guard, you’re going to get tagged by right hands in boxing from mid to long range, unless you have a towering height advantage, and long reach advantage yourself. It’s that simple. Ali was fighting slower handed fighters, with far less reach and in most cases height than him. So he was “ safe “ with this flaw.
He was able to use the tactic against some fighters with better reach like Liston and Terrel.

Quote:
Look at Kenny Norton. He gave Ali hell. Why? Ali's low guard. Sorry, Norton was not as good as the four fighters I mentioned.
Norton came up with a specific fight plan to counter Ali which alowed him to land consistently. A higher guard might not have helped.

I would suggest that the punches that his low guard left him most vulnerable to were actualy the left hook and the uppercut thrown at close range. These are the most dificult punches to time when you are pulling back. The longer the range a punch is thrown from the easier it is to time.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duodenum
Such a hitter might dislocate his shoulder trying to reach him (as Liston did).
I think Ali dislocated the bully part of his brain actually.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBooze
Yes he could 95% of the time. But I supect if he began his career in 1988, by now he would of had at least one defeat due to the tactic.

Lewis, Bowe and Holyfield in the time period all had enough speed and power to potentially make Ali pay at least once in any potential match-ups
You forgot to include Tyson. But I otherwise agree with your post.

I think Ali kept his hand low because it catered to his style so perfectly that fighting out of a more conventional stance would have compromised his reflexes slightly. Ali did a fine job of measuring distance and his opponents and I'm under the impression that if he were in with a guy who he felt could exploit it I'm certain he would have adjusted accordingly.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:45 AM   #13
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I think Ali dislocated the bully part of his brain actually.
You bring up an interesting point Chris. He certainly did dislocate the bully part of Liston's brain, but I've read conflicting accounts of what an X-ray of Sonny's shoulder revealed after that bout. Some claims state that a shoulder separation was indeed revealed, while other reports assert that no such injury was diagnosed. If such an X-ray was taken, it would be very interesting to see what it looked like. (Ditto for Ali's jaw fracture inflicted by Norton, which I understand to have been auctioned off to a private bidder.)

Along the same lines, any formal medical test results establishing Jess Willard's true physical condition after Dempsey dethroned him ought to make for some intriguing viewing. Did Willard truly sustain the devastating multitude of fractures in Toledo commonly described, or was this mere sensationalism? Counter allegations are surfacing that Jess only suffered some lacerations and a severe bruising, but no lost teeth, broken bones, or a dislocated jaw. It would be satisfying to know for sure, one way or the other.
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Yes.
The 60s Ali could get away with this move in any era including this bad era for hwt boxing.

As Ali said after defeating foreman... `I have a radar built inside me & I know how to judge punches.`



Class.
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:31 PM   #15
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: The 60's Ali. Could he get away with a low guard today?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duodenum
You bring up an interesting point Chris. He certainly did dislocate the bully part of Liston's brain, but I've read conflicting accounts of what an X-ray of Sonny's shoulder revealed after that bout. Some claims state that a shoulder separation was indeed revealed, while other reports assert that no such injury was diagnosed. If such an X-ray was taken, it would be very interesting to see what it looked like. (Ditto for Ali's jaw fracture inflicted by Norton, which I understand to have been auctioned off to a private bidder.)

Along the same lines, any formal medical test results establishing Jess Willard's true physical condition after Dempsey dethroned him ought to make for some intriguing viewing. Did Willard truly sustain the devastating multitude of fractures in Toledo commonly described, or was this mere sensationalism? Counter allegations are surfacing that Jess only suffered some lacerations and a severe bruising, but no lost teeth, broken bones, or a dislocated jaw. It would be satisfying to know for sure, one way or the other.
Indeed. I have seen an article from Monte Cox that provided evidence that Willard's damage wasn't as bad as it is known to be. He was still beaten up badly of course, which is viewable on film.

I think we'll never know whether or not Liston had truely dislocated his shoulder. To me it sounds like a smarter choice than "stomach cramps", but nothing more than just that: a "smarter choice".
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