Ah, Muhammad Ali, the self proclaimed Greatest of all time. People were aggravated by him at first, then they fell in love with him. Initially the likes of Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey were considered clearly superior, but now the general public considers him to be unparalleled not just by Heavyweights, but by anyone period. Sure, there are the Tyson, Mayweather and at times even the odd Lomachenko fanatics who consider them the best ever because Joe Rogan said so, but they're not the majority of the general public. Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson really are the two names basically everyone knows before they are even interested in the sport, and the ones they are most fascinated with when that interest ignites, mainly due to Ali's antics and personality and Tyson's destruction of men and his aura. However, it's an unspoken rite of passage towards being a true fan of the sport when one realizes the seemingly inhuman Tyson wasn't all that, and that someone like Robinson and Armstrong were greater than Ali. Only difference is, Tyson indeed wasn't all that either in comparison to his image nor to other fighters. Ali was also not as great in comparison to some other fighters as advertised, but he was actually greater than his image and than most think of. Let's get into it. Muhammad Ali initially started out against weak competition, just like any fighter does, but he didn't do it for long. Within a year of his pro debut he defeated #8 rated Heavyweight Alex Miteff, just a few months later he dispatched the #10 rated George Logan in 4 rounds. Not even a full month later he defeated the undefeated Billy Daniels, who would still be rated #8 by the end of 1962. Then he beat Alejandro Lavorante, who was as high #4 rated in 1961 before he lost to Archie Moore. Speaking of which, #5 rated Moore would fall in 4 right after Lavorante. The #3 rated Doug Jones put up a good fight, but Ali still won convincingly, despite what some detractors would like you to believe. #9 rated Henry Cooper knocked him down, but got stopped in 6. Muhammad Ali was not even a champion yet, but he had defeated more rated fighters than Deontay Wilder did in his whole career. Not even exaggerating or kidding. It's true. After that, the Sonny Liston fight when he got the title. Liston was about as feared as anyone in history and already regarded as a borderline Heavyweight all time great, Ali made him look ordinary. He would then proceed to ''knock him out'' in the rematch with the phantom punch. #1 contender and former Champion Floyd Patterson proceeded to last more rounds that Liston, but he certainly didn't perform any better. #9 rated Chuvalo had some sucess but was clearly inferior. #4 rated Henry Cooper would get stopped without much of a challenge. #10 rated Brian London got bamboozled into unconsiousness by some feints and a blindingly fast 12 punch combination. #3 rated Karl Mildenberger proved tricky at first, but once Ali figured him out, he was almost a pushover. #3 rated Cleveland Williams fell victim to arguably the best version of Ali out of his entire career. WBA champion and #1 rated Ernie Terrell arguably didn't win a round. #2 rated Zora Folley would fall in 7 rounds. After that, Ali's license was suspended. Fortunately for him and us, he would come back, otherwise he might have been Boxing's biggest what if. #1 and #3 rated Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena were both stopped. And then, the Fight of the Century, to this day one of the greatest fights in all of Boxing. Ali was of course defeated by the Champion and ATG Heavyweight Joe Frazier. Afterwards, he decided to clean house before attempting to capture the title again. #7 rated Jimmy Ellis got stopped in the 12th round. #6 rated Mac Foster was easily outclassed. George Chuvalo didn't do any better than in their initial contest. #2 rated Jerry Quarry lasted more rounds but didn't perform any better than the first time either. Fringe contender Alvin Lewis didn't do much either. #3 rated former Champ Floyd Patterson did manage to do quite better than the first time, but he couldn't go past 7. Light Heavyweight Champion Bob Foster was effortless work. #8 rated Joe Bugner not quite as much, but certainly not to the point of winning. #9 rated Ken Norton famously upset Ali and broke his jaw, propelling him to the upper rankings of the division, as high as #2. Ali did however beat him in the rematch, arguably the best he would ever look after his exile, in a close but in my opinion legitimate decision. This time, the #1 contender, the great Joe Frazier would also fall short to the great Ali. Ali had finally cleaned house, and it was time to take on the dangerous George Foreman. Who would be totally outhought and outperformed by Ali's genius. Making Ali arguably the greatest Heavyweight of all time even by that point in time. #9 rated Chuck Wepner stepped on Ali's foot and knocked him down, angering Ali, as a result, the real life inspiration for Rocky didn't quite go the distance. #8 rated Ron Lyle would be stopped in 11, #4 rated Joe Bugner didn't do any better than the first time. #2 rated Joe Frazier and Ali would beat the soul out of each other in one of the most haunting fights of all time, they wouldn't be leaving the ring as the same men as before, neither of them would ever be healed of what transpired that night. #3 rated Jimmy Young arguably deserved the decision, same case with the #2 rated Ken Norton in their final bout together. #8 rated Alfredo Evangelista wouldn't be successful at all though, unlike #5 rated Earnie Shavers who would allegedly punch Ali the hardest anyone ever would, thus starting the legend of his power. Some people think Shavers also might have deserved the nod here. Then of course the loss to Olympic Gold medalist and #9 rated Leon Spinks, who got a slight hold's of Ali's title. But would then lose it in a much wider loss than his win over Ali, thus making Ali the only 3 time lineal Champion in history. At this point, Ali had clear Parkinsons symptoms for years, but that didn't make him any less stubborn, coming back to fight and then get tragically beaten up by the current Champion, Larry Holmes. Though he did make a good attempt against Trevor Berbick in his last fight, who was a legitimate contender at the time. This to me proves that Ali is greater than most people would give him credit for, as well as the greatest Heavyweight of all time, even if he is not quite on par with the absolute P4P greatest like Greb, Langford and Robinson whose careers look like borderline science fiction. His resume is actually insane even by P4P standards, let alone Heavyweight. He is 5-1 against arguably 3 of the top 10 greatest heavyweights ever. He is 11-3 against Hall of Famers. He has 38 wins against top 10 rated Heavyweights. And he has 19 overall defenses of the Heavyweight title. Who else, aside from Joe Louis, even comes close to that ?