The Ali vs. Holmes Sparring Myth

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Omega74, Jan 11, 2022.

  1. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    In his autobiography, he says that he started sparring after shadowboxing and working the heavy bag, just to be a bit tired, like in the later stages of a fight.

    I think what has been recorded of his training regime puts it in that order as well.

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
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  2. bbjc

    bbjc Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Yeah both masters. Still personally think no one would outskill ali. When he wanted to he got off first everytime. Interesting fight tho. Big usyk fan....but also still think ali,s about the closest thing to perfection you,ll see in a boxing ring.

    Watching them videos just reminds you how good he was.
     
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  3. KidGalahad

    KidGalahad Member Full Member

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    that´s exactly the phrase i always think of when i remember ali´s style in the ring, it just describes it perfectly:

    "poetry in motion".

    one of the first fights, if not the very first, i watched on tv as an 8 year old was alis vs. norton 3 in new york´s yankee stadium.
    this fight was my introduction to boxing and ali. i was mesmerized at first glance.
    in his book, ferdie pacheco writes about this fight it was "the night when muhammad ali stopped being muhammad ali". of course, i knew nothing about this back then. only later i learned that my idol was over the hill and past prime by then.
    what i still remember as if it had been just yesterday, was, that ali´s movements looked so different to his oponent´s.
    they looked smooth and controlled, almost like a dancer, but much stronger.
    he made his fighting look so easy, kind of elegant, almost playful - you didn´t get the idea that it could be dangerous, when you saw him punching.
    norton looked very powerful, but kind of clumsy compared to him.
    i liked very much what i saw, was impressed as much as an 8 year old could be.
    and even if the paternal friend, who watched with me, said, that norton should have won it, i remember who i wanted to have won, because he had just won my heart in an instant.
    made me a fan for life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
  4. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Thanks, that’s awesome info!
     
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  5. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Great provision of the Holmes quote re Ali turning it on for the cameras - I hadn’t heard that before.
     
  6. C.J.

    C.J. Boxings Living Legend revered & respected by all Full Member

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    Absolutely true !!
     
  7. Balder

    Balder Well-Known Member banned Full Member

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    The skill between them is so obviously in favor of Ali - it is staggering.

    There has been nothing like Ali I have ever seen. He made great fighters look average around him. This Ali would have beaten Holmes at his best with relative ease.
     
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  8. bbjc

    bbjc Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Great share....pretty much summed it up perfectly for me. Still to this day never seen the same poetry in motion again quite the same. Its like everything worked in complete unison. Like other fighters...there top and bottom half move not quite in tandom...but with ali....everything was working in unison all at the same time.

    Just elegant...i still suspect them punches we,re a lot harder than they looked as well.
     
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  9. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

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    Larry Holmes was a long way off being the finished article when he was Ali's sparring partner.
    Of course he didn't dominate. Ali was his employer. Holmes wasn't yet world ranked, whereas Ali was at the very top.
     
  10. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

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    Larry Holmes was 9-0 in professional fights when he was helping Ali get ready for Foreman.
    And we all know Ali was probably in his absolutely best form in 1974, outside of his '65-'67 prime.
     
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  11. ThatOne

    ThatOne Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Ali was never great in sparring. He allowed himself to be hit to test his strength and endurance. Unfortunately it cost him. Also, he was just not the type of guy to beat up sparring partners for the hell of it.
     
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  12. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    For what it's worth there is a story in the Hauser book on Ali where Holmes supposedly had said in an interview that Ali was the champ but that he, Holmes, was the better fighter. Word got around to Ali who according to the story gave him a good go over in sparring to show him what was what.

    If it happened like that is another thing. Doubt Holmes would certify the story.
     
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  13. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yes, it'a bit weird, seeing that he had passed 30 and already had brutal wars with Frazier and Norton on the clock, but I think the best he looked in the '70s was from the Norton rematch to the Foreman fight. About a year, in which he was 32 for the most part.
     
  14. ThatOne

    ThatOne Well-Known Member Full Member

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    The Frazier and Norton rematches were the last fights we saw him on his toes for the majority of the fights.
     
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  15. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yeah, that was the best he moved after the lay-off. He looks light on his feet and in terrific condition in that sparring footage with Holmes as well.