Was Muhammad Ali in good fighting shape in the Fight of the Century 1971?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mark ant, Nov 26, 2021.

  1. mark ant

    mark ant Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    D`Amato visited Ali`s training camp just ahead of TFOTC and noticed Ali was getting hit a lot in sparring, Ali`s weight for that fight was
    215 lb (98 kg)
    Was that Ali`s best fighting weight and does it prove that he had prepared properly for that iconic match-up?
     
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  2. MadProf

    MadProf New Member Full Member

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    No, he was inactive for about 3 years and we never saw Ali at his prime. He no longer possessed the foot speed or the catlike defensive reflexes. The hand speed was still there and he was forced to fight flatfooted. He was getting hit and his fights become wars of attrition.
     
  3. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Yes. Any other answer is absurd. He was in phenomenal shape. Whether he was PRIME or in the best condition he could get himself into is another matter entirely but their is no doubt he was in "good" shape.
     
  4. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

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    Agreed he was in "good" shape .. as good a shape as a man could be who was off over forty months, then in six weeks notice took a fight against a tough guy , showed a bit of fatigue by the time the fight was stopped on a cut early (thankfully) and was then rushed again into a very tough , bruising fight that went almost 15 rounds and then rushed three months later into a massive fight against an all time great in that great's near peak .. if the fear of his license being revoked once again and the insane money at stake being lost was not so overwhelming, Ali would have had six months off the let his body heal and not be shot straight into such a brutal test in so short a time .. the fact he fought as good as he did that fight was possibly his biggest accomplishment .. on top of everything, Ali had a monster heart !
     
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  5. Rollin

    Rollin Member Full Member

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    Obviously not quite near the imaginary prime he could have hit if it weren't for the boxing ban, but he was as close to his physical prime as possible around the time. Fight of the Century and subsequent wear and tear took plenty and then some out of him.

    He certainly would get hit a lot more in Cus' eyes given some of his unorthodox habits that would no longer work without his old physique, and the image of 66' Ali he had in mind.
     
  6. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    Well, he'd just stomped two of the top contenders shortly before, so there's that.
     
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  7. mark ant

    mark ant Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yes but had been slimmer in some of his fights during the 60`s.
     
  8. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I think he was in great shape but might have been a tad rusty. Timing was probably his biggest issue
     
  9. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    The man above has the answer.
     
  10. mark ant

    mark ant Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I don`t belive in God.
     
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  11. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He had the same weight, 215, for Chuvalo in 1966, but a more pronounced muscle tone imo.
     
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  12. Wvboxer

    Wvboxer Member Full Member

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    He was in good shape but fighting so soon after the Bonavena fight couldn’t have helped. I think it took him a few bouts to get his legs in good shape. I think the string of bouts he had in 1972 really helped.
     
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  13. Pugguy

    Pugguy Active Member Full Member

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    Great point. I forgot Ali was 215 for Chuvalo. He was that much lighter either side of that fight, about 210 and 201 respectively but he was definitely a better defined 215 in 1966 than in 1971.

    Though he might’ve felt he could’ve done without it, the tough 15 rd’r v Ringo was the best on the job prep for Frazier.

    I would guess that Ali was in the best possible shape he could be exactly as at the FOTC. Relatively speaking, excellent shape.
    Superficially, Ali’s red trunks appeared that much larger than those he wore in the 60s so they might’ve lent to an illusory effect of his being larger, less in shape than he was.

    As to his actual best shape during his seconding coming, I would say from the Norton rematch thru to Foreman in Zaire. Ali was actually a bit heavier for Zaire than FOTC but his conditioning was well tuned in by then and he appeared more muscular and better defined.
     
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  14. Fogger

    Fogger Active Member Full Member

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    Post of the day!
     
  15. Fogger

    Fogger Active Member Full Member

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    I agree with what you say but I do think there was one other factor. While I think that 1967 Ali beats 1971 Frazier, I also think that Ali would have always struggled with FOTC Frazier. He had never been truly tested by a Hall of Fame level fighter and he was not ready for that kind of opponent even if there was no rust.
     
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