Muhammad Ali if he retired in 1972

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by MaccaveliMacc, Mar 31, 2024.



  1. MaccaveliMacc

    MaccaveliMacc Member Full Member

    235
    326
    Feb 27, 2024
    How would you rate Muhammad Ali in the all time rankings if he didn't have his 1970's reign? Let's say he loses a split decision to Ken Norton in the rematch and retires as he said he would. How would his resume from the 60's (+ some notable wins in the early 70's) look like against other all time greats?
     
    Richard M Murrieta and Stevie G like this.
  2. ThatOne

    ThatOne Boxing Addict Full Member

    4,118
    6,095
    Jan 13, 2022
  3. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 Member Full Member

    312
    255
    Jan 6, 2024
    He would be viewed as the best HW of the 60s who was surpassed in the 1970s by multiple fighters.

    The thing is Ali retiring in 1972 opens up a whole can of butterflys you can't account for. If Foreman stays dominant he never comes back in the 90s and if he never comes back in the 90s do we rate modern fighters better? How are Frazier and Norton viewed as presumably Foremans best competition? Does Fraziers career run longer without those 2 wars with Ali? How long does it take Holmes to get the belt and does he compile the same resume as he did taking over for a declining Ali? These things all impact of the number of fighters one would rank over Ali if his resume ended in 1972.

    He might be like 10th?

    Of earlier HWs I think Tunney(and Louis if you have Ali higher than Louis which I do not) might be the only one to jump him. Everyone else who'd pass him would be more recent.
     
  4. Marvelous_Iron

    Marvelous_Iron Active Member Full Member

    697
    787
    Jul 9, 2022
    Beating Foreman was like 75% of his in-ring greatness and the thrilla was a defining part of his larger than life aura
     
  5. Barrf

    Barrf Well-Known Member Full Member

    2,467
    3,718
    Sep 19, 2021
    The Holmes question is an interesting one. If Foreman isn't retired, then what? Holmes probably has to go through Norton and Frazier to get to Foreman, and damn, he's got to run the table on that crew to grab the belt? Yikes.
     
  6. InMemoryofJakeLamotta

    InMemoryofJakeLamotta I have defeated the great Seamus Full Member

    12,432
    8,302
    Sep 21, 2017
    I'm picturing Foreman sitting on a throne like Shao Khan waiting for Holmes to arrive if he beats his minions Frazier and Norton.
     
  7. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 Member Full Member

    312
    255
    Jan 6, 2024
    I'm going to assume Foremans gone before his 2nd career starts in our timeline. But Foreman and Holmes are the same age. Foreman very well might swallow up Holmes career.
     
  8. Ney

    Ney Active Member Full Member

    1,342
    1,726
    Feb 13, 2024
    Foreman is clearly going to reign until at least Holmes, which I consider a pick ‘em fight. If Foreman defeats Holmes & finished up undefeated or thereabouts, he’s probably gone past Ali in rankings. If he loses to Holmes, he might still even end up ahead of Ali.

    Ali himself would be Top 10, but I don’t think he’s quite Top 5 by 1972.
     
  9. White Bomber

    White Bomber Boxing Addict Full Member

    4,186
    2,737
    Mar 31, 2021
    Ali would not even be considered a top 10 HW without his 70s career
     
  10. Barrf

    Barrf Well-Known Member Full Member

    2,467
    3,718
    Sep 19, 2021
    If Foreman has the title, where's there for Frazier to go? Hang around as a contender who isn't any challenge to the champ? Same goes for Norton. If Foreman has the title, where's there for Norton to go? Hang around as a contender who isn't any challenge to the champ? And both of them look over their shoulder and see a hungry Holmes chomping at the bit to get through them to get a title challenge? Squeezed on both ends, maybe they retire.

    Maybe this then sets up a rivalry where Holmes and Foreman trade the title back and forth? If Norton and Frazier are gone, there's a period of time where Holmes and Foreman are both the favorite to beat anyone else. Given that Holmes never gave up in his career trying to get the title back after he'd lost it, and given his lack of personal demons to take him out, maybe he just out-lasts Foreman here, and ends up with a similar 80's reign to what he had, but with with a very different 70's behind him?
     
    HistoryZero26 likes this.
  11. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    24,206
    6,478
    Jul 17, 2009
    A lot would say that Ken Norton was lucky in getting the verdict for his second fight with Muhammad Ali.

    Ali would be rated between 11-15 in all time heavy list. The consensus may well have been that had his career been uninterupted in the sixties,he had the potential to have replaced Joe Louis as the greatest big man of all time.
     
    MaccaveliMacc likes this.
  12. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    26,310
    9,985
    Jan 4, 2008
    The Norton fights included, so after 1973? I think most would have him in the top 10, but it would probably vary a lot where. The debate if/ how much he lost to the exile would be even more heated.

    If he retires just one year later, after beating Foreman, few would have him outside the top 2, so that year makes a vast difference. Manilla was the only thing that would add to Ali's legacy after that.

    On year earlier, in 1972, and he's still top 5 for most people, I think. He ends on a bit of a high after dominating Quarry in the rematch and his only loss is a fierce war with peak Frazier shortly after coming back. You can get around that loss somewhat even without the two later wins, but his struggles with Norton in 1973 are damaging.
     
  13. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    26,310
    9,985
    Jan 4, 2008
    Not by you, but by most. He would be undefeated, having won the crown from the formidable Liston and making more defences of it than most others. I think most still would have him above Marciano, who almost everyone have in their top 10.

    There definitely would be quite a few who would have him as the best ever, claiming that only the government stopped him from ruling the division for another 5+ years and retiring undefeated.

    Sure, he would have his detractors, like you, claiming that the Liston and Patterson fights didn't mean anything and the rest of the division was shite, and Cooper and Jones etc, but that's not very different from now. The majority would see the value of his first reign, as they do today.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2024
  14. MaccaveliMacc

    MaccaveliMacc Member Full Member

    235
    326
    Feb 27, 2024
    Yeah, my mistake, I meant after the second Norton fight in 1973.
     
    Stevie G and Bokaj like this.
  15. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    26,310
    9,985
    Jan 4, 2008
    So the great Lubbers win doesn't count? :)
     
    Stevie G likes this.