A well passed his prime Ali defeated the seemingly invincible Foreman via KO, with little in the way of stopping his game plan. Sure, he took a lot of shots to the midsection, but that was what he expected to do, and he executed it perfectly. Liston never laid a glove on Ali until he blinded him first. Frazier gave Ali extreme difficulty, so I believe that Tyson would as well, but Marciano and Louis would not do so well against him. Joe Louis simply does not match up well to Ali at all. He started fights slow, he plodded around the ring slowly, while Ali would slash him apart and put him down. I love Joe Louis, obviously, as I have him at #1, but I can't watch footage of either fighter and realistically give Louis a chance against Ali; especially if we're talking about the same Ali who fought Cleveland Williams. Even so, Louis was the best "champion" on my list for the reasons presented; all head-to-heads aside. Rocky Marciano was prone to bleed and cut, something Ali was a master at taking advantage of. I think the Rock would do well if the fight made it into the late rounds, but Ali would have all day to cut him up and force a stoppage.
Furthermore, I think that Ali would win a best of three against every single fighter on that list. That's what made him great; he rarely had a truly bad matchup (at least not during his short-lived prime), and that window of "beatability" shrinks before the layoff. While he had some awkward performances against some mediocre opponents, he knew when it was time to take over the fight. Also, much like Mike Tyson, Ali's prime was actually witnessed for a very short period of time, prior to being laid off; the difference being that Ali made something worthwhile of his return. During that short period of time, he was almost perfect. Beatable, but nearly flawless. I don't like him as a man, mind you, and I detest complimenting him so much, but it is difficult to say that anyone on that top ten list would perform better against the other nine than would Ali.
Also, by using the word "handle," I simply meant that he could get business done and probably take at least a decision against most of them. He would have some difficult matchups, though again, I think he wins a best of three against all of them.
Last edited by Brassangel; 08-22-2007 at 05:15 PM.