If Ali Hadn't Faced Leon Spinks..

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Fergy, May 8, 2022.

  1. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Would he have probably lost to the next person he fought?
    Let's say Leon goes walkabout and ends up dropping out of the title challenge, so Ali ends up meeting...... Fill in with any challenger from the top 20, would that still be a losing fight iyo?
    God forbid he's matched with Foreman!
  2. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Duane Bobick might be the answer here.

    Looking at the Ring Magazine end-of-year rankings for 1977 (the first Spinks fight was February 1978), there’s no one there Ali seems likely to beat in the shape he was for Leon, although the version from the Spinks rematch might be competitive with a few of the others — except for Alfredo Evangelista (a rematch that couldn’t be made), Leon and … Bobick.

    Checked and the Brit champ is Joe Bugner still and I think that’s not happening because it already has (and it would be a tougher go for Ali at this point) and Evangelista still holds the Euro so you can’t go cherry pick someone there.

    Lorenzo Zanon wasn’t ranked by Ring but will soon win the Euro title so maybe he’s viable. I think he’s the Italian champ and you could do a Rocky angle and fight him in Rome or something.

    But Bobick is the one who stands out. He’s No. 5 by Ring at end of ‘77. Since losing to Norton he’s beaten Scott LeDoux and Pedro Agosto, which are decent quality wins — not great but those guys are credible. And if you recall, at the time of the Norton loss it was somewhat shrugged off (or at least there was an attempt to spin it) that Norton landed a freak punch to the throat on Duane and even for a first-round KO there was some argument that it wasn’t necessarily that Bobick wasn’t good, just a chance occurrence.

    Duane ended up fighting the South African Kallie Knoetze in February 1978 and getting sparked out in three. I’m saying this fight happens instead.

    So I think they could have sold Ali-Bobick, especially in Minnesota but probably Las Vegas or MSG as a farewell type fight for Muhammad. I think Ali takes his training slightly more seriously than he did for Spinks, and has just enough to decision Duane.

    Bobick comes out of it looking competitive so he’s probably involved in the tournament when Ali does retire and ends up getting sparked out by Knoetze and we’re back on track.
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  3. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Good thread idea.
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  4. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Cheers CT. Coming from you pal, is a complement.
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  5. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Good answer pal. Anything really could have happened in that time frame.
    Ali was ripe for a loss, he was takin so much hamrmer.
    I've checked the ranks myself back then and Bobicks a good pick.
    I don't see any rematch st, Shavers, Lyle or Young. Too dangerous.
    So if he fights him there's a great chance he'd lose. And it could be a bad beating.
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  6. djanders

    djanders Boxing Addict Full Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Good thread!

    I could see Ali fighting a young Larry Holmes at that time. And I believe Larry would have won comfortably, but it probably wouldn't have looked as bad as their actual future fight. Then, if there had been a rematch, the Ali team would have planned a weight for Ali, and a strategy, to try to defeat Larry, but Larry also would have won that (in a much closer fight). Perhaps Ali would then have retired, after passing the torch to Larry Holmes. That would have been a great way for Ali to have gone out, and for the Holmes era to have begun.
  7. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    I have to agree with djanders. But then again Ken Norton was the mandatory WBC contender based on his narrow victory over Jimmy Young on Nov 5 1977, Muhammad Ali would have had to fight Norton for a fourth time or be stripped of that organizations title. Ali was defiant when the subject of a mandatory fight with Norton was mentioned. I think that Ali gets stripped of the WBC version of the title, then fights Larry Holmes for the WBA title, then loses title to Larry on points, then retires.
    Last edited: May 8, 2022
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  8. KidGalahad

    KidGalahad Member Full Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    nice "what if" scenario, saintpat.
    but i see a fallacy here.
    if muhammad would have decisioned duane bobick, then there would have been no reason for him to retire.
    everything we know about "the greatest" points to him continuing on the career. even his closest family members have uttered, that ali would have never stopped fighting, as long as he kept winning.

    after winning against bobick, his entourage would have looked for the next "easy" opponent once again.
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  9. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    Given that Ali had been on the slide for sometime with controversial decision wins over Norton and young plus the loss to Leon ( not included for the thread purposes ) I don’t think he would have stayed champ much longer. What’s more he likely doesn’t become a three time champ.
  10. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 23, 2019
    Holmes might have stopped him in 14. Ali was through.
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  11. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    That would have been the most logical fight in that era.
  12. Dempsey1238

    Dempsey1238 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 10, 2005
    Ali was ready to be taken by than. I give anyone in the top 20 or MORE a good chance in taking the title from Ali. Do not think Ali would retire than, he go on until he is forced to retire.
  13. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Except that he would have been stripped of the WBC if he didn’t fight Norton next. Leon was stripped for rematching Ali rather than facing Norton, who was the mandatory. So they retroactively made Norton-Young a fight for the vacant title rather than the eliminator it originally was — in truth they should have made Holmes-Norton for the vacant title rather than just handing it to Ken, but it wouldn’t change anything and we still would have gotten one of the greatest heavyweight title fights ever.
  14. Roughhouse

    Roughhouse Member Full Member

    Sep 15, 2012
    Ali wasn't fighting anyone tough if Spinks fell out. Be sure of that. Also be sure that any sanctioning body would've given Ali all kinds of a pass on choosing the replacement opponent not only because of "respect" but because of the cash involved. I'm guessing someone less threatening than Duane Bobick.

    Alfio Righetti?
    Mike Schutte?
    Walter Moore?
    George Mostardini even?

    Someone of this variety, I'd guess with "short notice" being the excuse. And we would've watched just like we did with Richard Dunn and Coopman and Evangelista.
  15. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    I don’t think Alfio can slip in here (although Ali’s spaghetti jokes would have been a fun element) because he lost to Leon right before, which the winner was going to get the shot.

    They could have made a case for Scott LeDoux since he fought Leon to a draw in this timeline, although he lost to Bobick before that and would have been like 2-2-1 or something like that in his last five. Still probably could have sold him as a short-notice replacement.