Thoughts on boxing

ESPN is showing some classic bouts, first the Ali-Foreman, the rumble in the jungle and Holyfield- Foreman as Foreman fell short in regaining his title at the age of 42.   (Foreman would win his title in an upset victory over Michael Moorer.)

Ali was the heavy underdog against Foreman, who had already destroyed Joe Frazier and Ken Norton.  Ali began the first round by moving but came to conclusion that he couldn’t keep that up against a hard charging Foreman, so he resorted to the Rope-a-dope.  He stayed on the rope and countered against Foreman.  This strategy was risky since Foreman was one of the hardest punchers and most fighters who would attempt just a strategy  would end up on the canvas.   Foreman nailed Ali with vicious shots but during the rounds, Ali countered effectively.  Through the first five rounds, it was a close fight as Foreman attacked and Ali played the matador against the raging Bull Foreman.

By the sixth round, Foreman started to slow down, and Foreman’s punches lost steam. Ali landed four rights in the eighth and the final right sent Foreman down for good in one of boxing’s biggest upset.

Foreman at the age of 42 stood toe to toe against another great heavyweight Evander Holyfield and went the distance against a fighter at his peak.  Foreman had his moment, but Holyfield was too quick for the older champion. 

Foreman would win the title three years later.  For nine round, Michael Moorer dominated Foreman and there was a question if Foreman would make it to the end.  A Foreman right hand stopped Moorer in his path and Foreman with one punch erased an overwhelming Moorer’s lead.

The 1970’s was the golden age of boxing as Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Larry Holmes were three of the greatest heavy weight fighters but it was dominated by Ali as he came back from a three year exile due to his refusal to be inducted into the service and first lost a classic fight to Frazier before winning back his title in 1974.  Larry Holmes would take command of the heavyweight division which he would control until the mid-80’s and his loss to Michal Spinks.  He would come back from retirement and lose to Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

The 90’s proved a second golden age as Tyson, Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis. While Tyson and Holyfield were the more popular fighters and Lewis had a suspect chin as he lost to two fights, one to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman by knock out, (He revenged both losses with victories.)  Lewis would end up as the premier boxer of this era as he also introduced the era of super big heavyweights as he stood 6’5” and 250.  Lewis was a skilled technician who combined skills and power.  His last fight was a TKO victory against Vitali Klitschko. 

Now in 2020, we may be witnessing a third golden age as Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are now competing against each other. Wilder is one of the biggest sluggers of the division but Fury may be the best technician of the bunch and may prove the best of this era but there are heavyweights like Joseph Parker, Anthony Ruiz, Dillan Whyte, and Olekandr Usyk.  We will see over the next three years more about this era of heavyweight.


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