Using the illogic of the "you must beat a prime great to be great", then how is Liston great? Because he beat Patterson? Who did Patterson beat that was great and in his prime? Therefore, Ali hadn't proven that he was great by 71, when he lost to Frazier. Frazier, therefore, isn't a "great", since Ali hadn't proven that he was "great" by not beating a prime great fighter.
These rules can make life difficult and step on toes, but then the truth is often not easy to swallow. I will give two examples, both extracts from an essay I am writing on the linear middleweight championship.
Example one: It is generally held that, in the way of Suger Ray Robinson's retirement, Carl Olson won the vacant title when he defeated Randy Turpin in 1953. He successfully...