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Originally Posted by It's Ovah
I think Lyle is pretty underrated as a power puncher, or rather I should say that he tends to be overlooked when discussions about who hits the hardest invariably come up. I'm not sure why, maybe because he never really had any signature KOs over great opponents; off the top of my head only Mathis and Shavers might be considered name opponents, but then again Shavers wasn't that hard to KO and that was a life and death battle with Lyle nearly laid out on the canvas. At any rate, Lyle was a very hard puncher, and a dangerous fight for anyone at that time. Against Foreman he was literally launching himself at George at the start of every round, and was really putting his weight into his shots. I lost count of the times he had Foreman out on his feet and nearly out of the fight.
Saying that, I still have a hard time imagining Lyle as being the hardest puncher Foreman ever faced. IMO, and taking all their fights into account, Cooney, Morrison, and Briggs were the harder hitters, despite not actually knocking him down. Why is a little controversial. I actually believe that the older Foreman was more resilient to damage than the younger one, due to having a much thicker neck and mass around his shoulders cushioning the blows. He also learnt to take the edge off punches with his mummy-like arms out defensive style where the young Foreman would take them much flusher. In all other physical aspects of course, the younger Foreman trumps him, but, I don't know, the older Foreman just seemed to have an indestructability about him which I don't think a perceived weakness of eras can entirely account for.
**Side point, but I've always thought Lyle had an unusual body for a puncher. He was extremely developed in the upper body, his shoulders and traps were enormous in comparison to the rest of him, especially his relatively thin legs. Sorta like Lamon Brewster, another underrated puncher. It's an odd physique, maybe ok for an amateur bodybuilding compeition in the 70s but not exactly prime boxer material. I think it would be interesting to analyse the effect his best punches had on opponents throughout a fight, since I'm a big proponent in believing that there's more than one way to deliver a stopping blow, and a fighter might find himself having the perfect punching style to seriously hurt a normally iron-chinned fighter.
How do you envision a fight with Tyson, circa-1991, turning out? How would Foreman react to Tyson's speed & power?