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Old 11-01-2012, 10:58 PM   #1
Senor Pepe'
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Default Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

November 18, 1977

24 year-old Italian Heavyweight - Alfio Righetti 27-0-0 (14 KO's) battled
Leon Spinks 5-0-1 (5 KO's) in a scheduled 10-Rounder for the right to
Challenge Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship in February 1978.

Alfio, entered the ring a 3-1 Underdog, and many thought that the slugging 1976 Olympic
Light-Heavyweight Gold Medal winner would have little trouble with the boxer-puncher.

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Old 11-02-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Friday Night - November 18, 1977

CBS-TV (11:30 E.S.T. PM)

'Frantic Finish Gets Spinks 10-Round Win'

Leon Spinks rallied over the last 3-Rounds with a frantic attack, to earn a hard-fought and closely
contested 10-Round Unanimous Decision over Italian Heavyweight Champion - Alfio Righetti.

The 24 year-old 6' 1" - 201 lb. Spinks found himself in a very difficult battle in the middle rounds,
as the 25 year-old 6' 4" - 217 lb. Righetti kept him at bay with plenty of left jabs, and counter right
hands.

Spinks was the aggressor from the opening bell, and pressured the Italian with fast hard punches in
Rounds 1 and 2, driving Righetti backwards into the ropes.

Many had given the undefeated former traffic policeman, who was a 3-1 Underdog, little chance of
defeating the slugging Spinks. But the 'undefeated' Italian (27-0-0), a smart defensive counter-
puncher, patiently waited for his openings on the aggressive Spinks.

But, Righetti who controlled the middle rounds, by using clever boxing, also played it up, as he
covered up on the ropes and moved backwards, as Spinks flailed away with ineffective punches.

Righetti used pleny of left jabs, and right hand counter-punches to score on a crouching Spinks.

After 7-Rounds, the Italian had a lead on the scorecards, and looked to be on his way to a Decision win
and an opportunity to Challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship in February 1978.

After 7-Rounds, 'two' of the judges had Righetti up by '1-point', while the other had Spinks up by '1-point'.

But the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal Winner (178 lb. Light Heavyweight), put together a strong charge over
the last 3-Rounds, by using a vicious body and head attack, and escaped 'disputed' and narrow
Unanimous 10-Round Decision.

'2' of the '3' Judges each scored the last 3-Rounds for Leon Spinks.

All '3' Judges Scorecards had it 46-44 for Leon Spinks.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Alfio Righetti landed many right hand counters on the forward-pressing Leon Spinks.

To try to avoid the punches, Leon had to crouch low, while attempting to get in close
on his 6' 4" opponent.

Leon, who 'bursted-out' fast for the first 2 1/2 Rounds, slowed down dramatically
at the end of Round 3.

Alfio, a well-schooled clever boxer with fast hands, started to pick off Leon's aggressive
charges, and in Round 4 took command with plenty of well-placed left jabs, and right
hand counters.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Too bad Righetti didn't win. It would have been nicer to see Ali's last opponent as a 28-0 contender, rather than a 7 fight novice who didn't take training seriuously.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. magoo View Post
Too bad Righetti didn't win. It would have been nicer to see Ali's last opponent as a 28-0 contender, rather than a 7 fight novice who didn't take training seriuously.
True Fact,

Alfio Righetti gave Leon a better fight than an aged Muhammad Ali did.

It could be argued that Alfio had fought a Draw with Leon. Some at Ringside
thought Alfio had won 46-45 (5-4-1 in Rounds).

Muhammad Ali, who was at Ringside, thought Leon had pulled it out by
a 1-point edge.

In Las Vegas, Leon gets the edge. In Italy, Alfio had the edge.

I remember watching the fight, and thought Alfio had done enough to
get the Decision, but expected the bout to called 'A Draw'.

Leon was a 3-1 Betting-Favorite, and CBS-TV was pulling for Leon to win.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Pepe' View Post
True Fact,

Alfio Righetti gave Leon a better fight than an aged Muhammad Ali did.

It could be argued that Alfio had fought a Draw with Leon. Some at Ringside
thought Alfio had won 46-45 (5-4-1 in Rounds).

Muhammad Ali, who was at Ringside, thought Leon had pulled it out by
a 1-point edge.

In Las Vegas, Leon gets the edge. In Italy, Alfio had the edge.
I don't know if it had any influence on the decision. But I think Leon was the one who everybody wanted to get the win. The fight was fought on American soil, afterall and he was a very recent gold medal winner.. Like most olympic prospects, the projections of his future success were huge. But like I said, it would have been nicer to see Ali go out with a win over a 28-0 fighter, rather than acquire an "L" to a guy with less than 10 pro fights and who's career fizzled in hindsite.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

It would have been great to see Muhammad have the balls to fight Ken Norton for that fourth and final time, and lose gracefully.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Leon actually owed Alfio Righetti a 'rematch'.

That would have been a better fight in September 1978.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Alfio Righetti defeating another tough and well conditioned Italian Challenger, Mario Baruzzi.

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Old 11-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

love threads like these
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

In October 1977,

Muhammad Ali signed with Top Rank to face the winner of the November 18, 1977
bout between the Leon Spinks vs. Alfio Righetti winner.

Ali was to receive a fight purse of $3,500,000 if Leon Spinks was the opponent, and
$2,500,000 if it was Alfio Righetti.


9-months later, Larry Holmes signed to fight Alfio Righetti on September 8, 1978.

Larry was to recieve a fight purse of $1,500,000.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan1 View Post
It would have been great to see Muhammad have the balls to fight Ken Norton for that fourth and final time, and lose gracefully.
It would have been great to see Ali fight a real contender (Larry Holmes?) in Feb. 1978 rather than a 7-fight novice in Spinks. How was Spinks more deserving of a title shot than either Holmes or Norton or even Jimmy Young?
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

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It would have been great to see Ali fight a real contender (Larry Holmes?) in Feb. 1978 rather than a 7-fight novice in Spinks. How was Spinks more deserving of a title shot than either Holmes or Norton or even Jimmy Young?
It was Muhammad Ali's 'retirement tour', based upon 'money'.

You just knew Muhammad Ali was done, when he pulled out of fighting
Lorenzo Zanon, because the 'weak-chinned' Italian Heavyweight was too fast.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

That Ali camp learned their lessons with the Young and Shavers bouts. They were supposed to be mismatches on parr with the Richard Dunn fight. That's what they were supposed to be like and that's why those opponents were carefully selected instead of other guys around at the time.

Young had losses. And everyone knew he had minimal punching power. No promoter or anything behind him. Who could make for a more ideal opponent as a title defense in 1976?

And Earnie was not supposed to be there after 10. that was supposed to have been an easy night's work and let Shaver's run out of gas and get the late stoppage.

Then you had Evangelista and I think he deserved the nod because he was the only guy fighting. Ali did not look much different than this when he fought Spinks the first time, Leon just threw more.

It was such a horrible time for the sport and that was the way things were until Mike Tyson came along and cleaned up everything in about 15 months. It sure didn't take a superhuman effort to clean up the division, but there had been no attempt to do so for such a long time and we the fans of boxing were the one's that suffered.

But those policies and strategies do come back and there is a major cause and effect. The effect has been the reduction in popularity of Boxing as a sport compared to how high it once was. Proeffesional wrestling has evolved and popularized itself far more than Boxing and it has almost turned into a complete role reversal. Without the current influx of top notch european fighters, it definately would be a role reversal.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:13 AM   #15
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Default Re: Alfio Righetti 'One Round Away From Fighting Muhammad Ali'

Can you imagine Righetti or Zanon as champ?

It's another argument for champions to retire early: they become both less willing to face reputable challenges AND more vulnerable to C-graders as they get older. And when a C-grader becomes champ, as with Leon Spinks, the whole sport suffers.
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