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#1
Old 05-11-2006, 10:55 PM
Brassangel
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Default Ali vs. Tyson: out on a fragile limb.

All right; I can't take it anymore. I watch Sabbath and Frazier's 15th make these ludicrous threads about great champions throughout history and how great they were NOT. While their research deserves credit, I have to say that it's moronic to use articles and statistics to assume that a fighter wasn't great; especially when the same logic could be applied to every single fighter in history.

Now, that aside...

I've noticed a lot of threads including posts regarding the myth of Muhammad Ali, and the myth of Mike Tyson: how they were both media hyped into being portrayed as invincible fighters in their prime, how good would they have been without layoff time, and so on. I think this is rediculous. Both were great, both suffered personal hardship, both got involved with the wrong people, both were repeat champions, etc. I think that their greatness should not be questioned. I think that the real question here is how a fight between them would have really turned out. While I am aware that this would be the 6984354986th post about Ali vs. Tyson, I am trying to look at it differently.

First of all, let's assume that Ali is the very slippery, fluid, hard to hit, feet rarely planted, and doesn't rely on his chin Ali that ruled the mid-to-late 60's. This is the Ali we know and love; the young Elvis, if you will. Clearly one of the two greatest heavyweight champions of all-time (perhaps only side-by-side with Joe Louis).

Next, let's also assume that Tyson is fast, accurate, very defensive, and full of the same heart he had when he was enroute to unifying the titles. Hungry, explosive, endurant. Not the sack of sand who showed up in Don King's corner and didn't mind getting hit while hoping for one big punch.

Okay, so we have two superfighters. Let's consider their styles and how they fair against each other based on what we know. For one, Tyson showed signs of struggling in fights where his opponents were tall with a good reach. This wasn't always the case, as we are considering the Mike Tyson who was determined. He still managed to win those tougher fights on points because of his ability to cut off the ring, throw combinations, avoid opposing jabs, and last for the length of the fight. One other thing Mike was good at was breaking his arms free in a clinch, and slamming at the body. This often took the legs away from his taller, agile opponents, thus making his usual disadvantage almost non-existent. Mike did come out a little too quickly from time to time, however, which could tire him out when he puts so much effort into every punch. Also, he never really went up against someone who could mess up a game plan quite like Ali.

Muhammad Ali was slippery, had a rock solid chin, a great left hand, and moved gracefully. It was difficult for opponents to catch him, as most heavyweights were used to plodding around the ring. If there's some criticism here, I would have to say that Ali was a poor defensive fighter. He didn't parry, and often times he just grabbed someone's head instead of clinching while waiting for the referee to come by and give him his reach back. Furthermore, Ali often waited a few rounds to get started while he felt out the pattern of his adversaries. Even so, Muhammad Ali was a great general in the ring and usually dictated the flow of each round.

Now I will site a few details that I think most people overlook, and this evidence is based on the studies I've done over the past few months. I have been watching prime Tyson and prime Ali fights on side-by-side screens, sometimes in slow motion. One observation I've made that most people aren't aware of is that Mike Tyson runs forward faster than Ali danced backward. Also, Tyson's hands fire off faster than anyone Ali faced, sometimes just as quickly (when timed) as Ali himself. Furthermore, fighters who gave Ali trouble usually did so by crowding him and/or countering the jab with their own jab or right hand. The two places they failed, however, were that they almost never attacked the body when given the chance, and they didn't work in the clinches. There's no better way to neutralize a fighter's speed than to attack the body and work the clinches. Mike generally combined these as well as anyone the biz. Ali wouldn't have had much in the tank without his legs. It's borderline annoying to watch fighters take swings at his face instead of ripping into the body which, for the most part, Ali left unguarded in close.

Finally, when people did manage to crowd Ali, they didn't maintain that pressure. Many times they would throw a punch or two and reset, giving Ali his reach advantage again. As far as I could see from watching them side-by-side, Tyson wasn't the kind of guy to relax from pressing an opponent; he also didn't give his adversaries 2-4 rounds to figure him out. He simply knew his gameplan and executed it before one could get comfortable.

With all of that being said, I will concede that Tyson's psychological state was always subject to frustration. I just think that, given what's been stated above, many of us, probably 95% or more, have written this match off without taking this information into consideration. Most people will say that Ali would dance around, flicking the jab until Mike gets upset, and then Ali wins a late round stoppage or decision. I even agreed with this when I wrote my "march madness + boxing" thread a while back. I am going to walk out on a teeny-tiny limb and say that this is a bad style matchup for both fighters, but it's clearly worse for Ali than it is for Tyson.

I would never place Mike Tyson above Muhammad Ali on my list of favorite fighters, or on an all-time greats chart. Even so, I think that given the different eras, the training, and the styles: based on how they approached similar opponents, I think that Mike Tyson would win this fight. Ali would likely come back and win any rematches, but not fight one. I've watched too many fights including these guys right next to each other to realistically give in to what the populace would have us believe. Ali will always be a better champion, a bigger name, a more stoic legend...but this is evidently an awkward match up.

Of the fighters who had styles and quirks that gave Ali trouble: what could they do that Tyson couldn't do better? When they failed to capitalize on an opportunity, Mike would have pounced on it. When they didn't have the ability to hurt (or especially finish), Tyson was one of the best at putting an exclamation point on his own momentum. When guys like Cooper, Jones, Folley, Chuvalo, that German guy I always forget, Quarry, and of course Frazier gave Ali trouble or even knocked him down, Tyson would have done much worse. Am I crazy? If these guys could win rounds or catch someone as swift as Ali, how could we think that Ali could run from Tyson all night while staying up? While no one truly stopped Ali, does that mean it was impossible given what we know here?

I hope to hear some real analytical views here based on the summarized study I've presented. None of this, "Ali would be too fast and Mike would get frustrated," or, "Tyson would knock Ali out because Ali hasn't faced anyone like Mike," etc. No closed comments, no biased opinions; just these two at their best.

More on this later, but I'm tired.

Last edited by Brassangel; 05-11-2006 at 11:07 PM.
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#2
Old 05-11-2006, 11:51 PM
Heckler
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Tyson would not do better then Frazier did. Place Tyson in Fraziers shoes, 1971 the FOTC. Im absolutely definate with the amount of abuse Ali would throw at Tyson during pre-fight build up Tyson would go out trying to rip Ali's head off. Ali would only compound the problems he faced against Buster Douglas. Of course someone will retort with 'but he wasn't in his prime'... He would always struggle against Buster, watch him against James quick Tillis and you will realise he always had trouble against a boxer that had the ability to stick, move and attempt to fight Tyson.

Tyson was always able to capitalize when the oppurtunity arose? Mitch Green, Tillis, bonecrusher smith and tucker - He hurt all these guys atleast once during their matches yet he never finished them off?

'Of the fighters who had styles and quirks that gave Ali trouble: what could they do that Tyson couldn't do better?'

Frazier was a better inside fighter, unlike Tyson he was rarely muscled around on the inside and made a consistent attack on his opponents body. Sure Tyson threw quick combinations on the inside but he never made a consistent focused attack on the body throughout a fight and had a tendancy to go headhunting. Mike was a better mid-range fighter and had a tendancy to lunge in, if he did this against Ali he would eat right hands all night. Tyson although relentless never applied the same kind of pressure or achieved the same workrate as Frazier. Frazier was always on top of Ali, working his way on the inside and breaking him down regardless of the amount of punishment he had to withstand to do this - And here is the key difference, in the face of adversity where Joe would dig deep and persevere Tyson would crumble. It wasn't Joe's speed or profficency on the inside that defeated Ali, it was his relentless workrate and Iron will. Ali had all the tools to beat Tyson and there is no doubt in my mind that he would.

Tyson had the physical tools to beat any great fighter. What he lacked was the mental capacity. We often hear 'but under rooney he was stable' - I went back and watched Tysons fights when he was under Rooney, it was clear even then that Tyson had a short fuse and was fill of self doubt. He was still doing clownish **** like throwing punches after the bell, getting frustrated when he couldn't put an opponent away. He's a great fighter that never reached his full potential and would trouble all the greats of the past, but because he never showed the ability to dig deep and triumph in the face of adversity he will never be considered one of the very greatest.

Last edited by Heckler; 05-12-2006 at 12:05 AM.
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#3
Old 05-12-2006, 12:11 AM
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Your choice of Jerry Quarry as a guy that gave Ali is trouble is amusing. No need to go into details. I take it you haven't seen those fights.

Chuvalo giving Ali trouble is only applicable to Chuvalo's strength and toughness. In their first fight Chuvalo won 1 round out of 15 on one of the judges scorecards and in their rematch Chuvalo won none of the 12 rounds on one of the judges scorecards. At best Chuvalo won a combined 4 rounds. My math says 1-4 out of 27 rounds isn't that troublesome.

Calling Folley trouble for Ali is laughable. Angelo Dundee predicted a 4th round KO so Ali and chose not no throw any meaningful punches until the fourth when guess what? Ali decided to throw a hard punch and knocked Folley down. Ali then toyed with Folley until Dundee told him to stop playing and promptly floored Folley again and ended it in the 7th.

Tyson against Ali would look similar to Ali-Frazier but Tyson could not absorb the same punishment as Joe, was not as mentally tough, allowed more breathing space and was nowhere near the in-fighter. Don't believe me? Watch Frazier against Mathis, Quarry, Ellis or the FOTC then compare it to Tyson against Ribalta, Green, Tillis, Tucker, Smith, Douglas etc...it's not even a comparison. Tyson often was content to hold and rest on the inside.

You won't want to talk about the Holyfield fight even though Tyson was younger than Ali was against Foreman, all 3 Norton fights and Frazier #2 and #3 and I'm sure you are factoring in Ali's performances in those fights to help you draw your comparisons. In any event Holyfield took Tyson to school fighting on the inside winning 9 of the 10 rounds befor stopping Tyson. Tyson is the only world class opponent I can ever recall Holyfield successfully using that style against. So much for Tyson being great on the inside.

Tyson had faster hands than Frazier, but not as fast as Ali's. Frazier had the better left hook while Tyson had the better right hand. Ali wasn't overly succeptible to right hands anyway. Frazier maintained his strength, power and determination as the fight progressed, but Tyson faded both stylistically and effictively after 5 rounds. Tyson holds the grand total of 1 KO win past the 7th Round, with his opponent Jose Ribalta still on his feet clear-eyed and complaining to the referee of the stoppage. The only other fighter he floored past the 7th round was Buster Douglas and we know how that one turned out.

One of the reasons Tyson didn't score late stoppages is because he was not a concentrated body puncher like Frazier was. While he did go to the body he had a tendency to head hunt more. Sustained body punchers break their opponents down, slow their feet and sap their strength. Did Tillis, Green, Tucker, Smith, Douglas or Holyfield (a fighter famous for fading against Moorer and Bowe) look worn down late in their fights against Tyson? Of course not. Why? Because if you could make it past the early rounds against Tyson even if you are a heavyweight with modest tools like the above mentioned fighters (Holyfield is the exception) you're likely not getting stopped.

George Chuvalo was trained by Joe Louis for the first Ali fight and had the Brown Bomber in his corner. In addition to Louis, the recently fired Bundini Brown was in Chuvalo's camp telling him how to beat Ali. Bundini was also near Chuvalo's corner during the fight yelling instructions. Louis mapped out the strategy and had Chuvalo concentrate exclusively on Ali's mid-section. By Chuvalo's admission 85 % of his punches landed were body blows. Now, with perhaps the greatest heavyweight of all time plus Ali's trainer in his corner you would think Chuvalo would have won more than 1 round. Anyway, did this 85% concentrated body attack sap Ali's strength late in the fight? Apparently not as Ali swept rounds 11-15.

To beat Ali, Tyson would have to get lucky in the first or second round. Ali defeated better punchers than Tyson and definitely tougher fighters than Tyson.

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#4
Old 05-12-2006, 12:12 AM
Abe Attell
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I think what people fail to realize is that Tyson with Rooney didn't slip up that much, and especially not with Cus and Jimmy Jacobs...the one problem is that when Cus died Tyson started to slip, and yes, even with Rooney, but of course it didn't get worse until after he won the titles.

It was said that Tyson's confidence was raised when he had "the right people" in his corner...people that had great egos about themselves, or better yet, confidence...Tyson was said to feed off of the people around him; so if he was around strong characters, he became strong, if he was around weak, he became weak...sounds a bit like a comic book hero, discussing a superheroes power and weakness

When Tyson was in his "prime", with Rooney, Tyson at press conferences let his opponent talk all the **** he wanted to, just sitting there himself, with a look like, "You know what is going to happen to you, everybody here knows it, but I don't have to say a word"; he let his fists do the talking, he didn't need to talk ****.

If he fought Ali, just say Cus was there, I doubt Tyson loses it, nor does he fold emotionally like Liston did:
Cus used to say all the time that he knew how to beat Ali, but he just didn't have the person to do it...he even thought Patterson could have done it, but Patterson if I am not mistaken was not trained by Cus at this point, and wasn't healthy {he had a back problem, which is a big problem when you fight in such a style}

I remember reading an article as to why Tyson had a chance at Ali, and yes, even a young Ali, not the one that fought Frazier, the one that didn't have his legs back...in this article, one of Tyson's old friend, said that Tyson ability to move forward fast, to punch with two hands in combination, with speed and accuracy, would have been trouble for somebody like Ali who liked to keep his guard down, moving backwards to prevent the attack...with Tyson's speed, accuracy, timing, ability to punch with both hands, not afraid to be hit, etc. Ali would have been tagged.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:29 AM
Abe Attell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heckler
Tyson would not do better then Frazier did. Place Tyson in Fraziers shoes, 1971 the FOTC. Im absolutely definate with the amount of abuse Ali would throw at Tyson during pre-fight build up Tyson would go out trying to rip Ali's head off. Ali would only compound the problems he faced against Buster Douglas. Of course someone will retort with 'but he wasn't in his prime'... He would always struggle against Buster, watch him against James quick Tillis and you will realise he always had trouble against a boxer that had the ability to stick, move and attempt to fight Tyson.

Tyson was always able to capitalize when the oppurtunity arose? Mitch Green, Tillis, bonecrusher smith and tucker - He hurt all these guys atleast once during their matches yet he never finished them off?

'Of the fighters who had styles and quirks that gave Ali trouble: what could they do that Tyson couldn't do better?'

Frazier was a better inside fighter, unlike Tyson he was rarely muscled around on the inside and made a consistent attack on his opponents body. Sure Tyson threw quick combinations on the inside but he never made a consistent focused attack on the body throughout a fight and had a tendancy to go headhunting. Mike was a better mid-range fighter and had a tendancy to lunge in, if he did this against Ali he would eat right hands all night. Tyson although relentless never applied the same kind of pressure or achieved the same workrate as Frazier. Frazier was always on top of Ali, working his way on the inside and breaking him down regardless of the amount of punishment he had to withstand to do this - And here is the key difference, in the face of adversity where Joe would dig deep and persevere Tyson would crumble. It wasn't Joe's speed or profficency on the inside that defeated Ali, it was his relentless workrate and Iron will. Ali had all the tools to beat Tyson and there is no doubt in my mind that he would.

Tyson had the physical tools to beat any great fighter. What he lacked was the mental capacity. We often hear 'but under rooney he was stable' - I went back and watched Tysons fights when he was under Rooney, it was clear even then that Tyson had a short fuse and was fill of self doubt. He was still doing clownish **** like throwing punches after the bell, getting frustrated when he couldn't put an opponent away. He's a great fighter that never reached his full potential and would trouble all the greats of the past, but because he never showed the ability to dig deep and triumph in the face of adversity he will never be considered one of the very greatest.

You notice the fights you chose to say "Tyson wasn't able to finish them off” were also the fights that those fighters chose to defend/cover up, preventing Tyson from landing any clean shots. If you haven't noticed, boxers tend to get knocked out when they have punches that actually land on them directly on a those spots that are not covered...Tyson has always been a fighter that is able to see and take advantage of those openings, those moments of opportunity that are there to expose.

For the Douglas fight, you have to consider the circumstances, why? Because that is what educated people that like to investigate "WHY" an event happens_happens. In this case it has been spoken many times before: he wasn't training properly, was not with Rooney, getting drunk and to much pie , was even having trouble in sparring leading up to the fight, basically, he wasn't motivated, didn't care, and wasn't "TYSON."
Should we not question why Napoleon lost at Waterloo?

Frazier was also not Tyson: Frazier was naturally a more motivated and determined person than Tyson, since Joe didn't need a trainer to tell him what to do or boost his confidence, but:
Tyson was stronger, had two fisted power, had a better arsenal of punches, was faster, had better head movement, was able to go forward faster, move to the side to setup his punches, and had a better chin...though of course the Ali that Tyson would be facing in a Fantasy matchup wouldn't be the one Frazier fought


With training with Rooney, I mentioned a bit above in my other post...that said, if you notice in his pro fights early on till the time he made it a full time into the black trunks, he was a better fighter...so he actually did continue to improve after the death of Cus D'amto, but he stopped progressing after he won the title...how do I know? just look at his fights before and after, he liked to attack the body more, but now, he was not throwing those combinations as much as he used to...he didn't seem to be as determined as he once was, even with Rooney in his corner...it seems that after he won the title he fulfilled his promise to Cus {that he would become the youngest Champion in history} after that, what else was there to do...I may have read it wrong, but I thought I read an interview that Tyson stated that he only fought to get out of the situation he was in, to fulfill what Cus wanted him to do, and he just liked that he was able to express his rage on his opponent, to make a name for himself, to be accepted.

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#6
Old 05-12-2006, 12:39 AM
Brassangel
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It's not that under Rooney all of his problems would be solved; it just happened to be that Rooney didn't fill his head with the same crap that Don King's camp did. Rooney didn't tell him he was invincible, nor did he say that no fighter could take his punch, nor did he say that these guys don't deserve to be in the same ring as him. He was more realistic in his approach.

While he hurt the aforementioned fighters without putting them away, he still outscored and generally outworked those fighters, despite his apparent lack of work ethic. Ali was excellent at sliding a right hand in the face of an oncoming attacker, but it didn't pack its usual disruption against a guy like Frazier who moved his head a lot. Granted, Frazier had a better work ethic than Mike did on the whole. I will not concede that Smokin' Joe was more hungry at all times than Mike was when he won his first title and proceeded to unify the belts. That was the last time Tyson looked mentally prepared for a fight or series of fights that counted. Also, Tyson's combinations to the body tended to have much more of a surprise factor than did Frazier's, as they came in from both hands effectively and with great speed. This often set up his ability to head hunt without too much difficulty; this would certainly pose a problem for Ali especially since he was reliant upon simply moving his head as a defensive maneuver.

James Douglas was a great opponent for Mike Tyson on that particular night in Tokyo, but it wasn't simply because his style and game plan would always pose such a problem for him. Tyson should have been in his prime during that fight, and I won't say that he wasn't. He didn't take advantage of his gifts, however, and often stood in place, throwing a telegraphed punch from a flat-footed position that Buster could counter without much effort. Also, I would have taken Douglas on that night against many fighters. That aside, way more factors than should be allowed in a fantasy consideration came into play to set up that particular result.

Since I'm assuming that this Mike Tyson is hungry, and there aren't any pre-fight hearings to give Ali his apparently psycho facade (which confused Liston soundly), this is purely the boxers at their game. Work ethic will usually perservere, but sometimes the physical advantages are enough to decide a match (a la Foreman vs. Frazier, Marciano vs. (Old) Louis, Liston vs. Patterson, etc.). The losers in each of these examples were generally more technically skilled with incredible heart, while the other had more in the physical department for one reason or another (age, size, reach, etc.). While this is not always the case, nor is the notion that work rate and heart will overcome physical disadvantage.

If Tyson's weak mindset at times was his largest weakness, the same ability to achieve this effect was one of Ali's greatest strengths; because of this, Ali would have an advantage. How good would he have been without the preliminary mindgames? If we just plop them in the ring, and the referees don't allow too much clowning around, what happens then? Tyson was uncertain at times because of his blurry mindset; but he did have those shining moments of heart before championships and hundreds of millions of dollars were in a 21-year-old boy's lap. Not to mention the poisoned whispers from manipulative women and crazy promoters. This is what I am suggesting: the ideal from both men. I sincerely believe that in our world of boxing theory, Ali would come up short in the most previously presupposed match in fantasy sports.

I said I was walking out on a thin limb; it's just that the more I watch of each, the less convinced I am that it would go how everyone assumes. I truly think that Tyson's lack of respect for Ali would be one of his advantages. It's how he overcame the savvy and experience of Holmes (whether or not he was old), how he crushed Micheal Spinks in less than two minutes, etc. While Tyson had rough moments in his prime, so did Ali. Everybody had difficult matches and moments where they even looked a little, dare I say, bad. Mike Tyson's flaws are often discussed or exposed before his gifts. His body work is overshadowed by his knockout blows to the skull. His speed is eclipsed in discussion by his power, and his hunger his never glorified because of his breakdowns.

*sigh*

I guess I'm nuts...
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:44 AM
Abe Attell
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there was actually a fight when Tyson was younger where he was interviewd after the fight on how well he did, Tyson gave himself a "C" {something like that}...standing next to him was Rooney, who said, Tyson must feel he can always do better...that says it all.


For Douglas, there was not truly great what he was doing...he was acutally doing basically the same thing over and over...it was just that Tyson came in **** condition, thought he could land one punch and go home, had no head movement, etc.

If anybody doesn't think that if Rooney was training him that Tyson wouldn't have at least done better than what he did, has to be crazy...even if you take that particular Tyson, drive Rooney to the stadium to get in his corner for the 2nd round, Rooney still would of helped...yelling at Mike to go to the body, use combinations, head movement, etc.
In an interview, Kevin Rooney said Mike being in such bad physical shape, he should of just attacked to try to knockout Buster in the early rounds, that was his best chance.


Here is a great quote from Tyson's SportsCentury:
"Tyson was as good as the program you put into him"-{can't remember who said it"

Last edited by Abe Attell; 05-12-2006 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:51 AM
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Ali psyching out Tyson before hand or not Ali had the mental strength IN the ring that Tyson lacked

Sportswriter once wrote this: "Tyson exuded arrogance and self-confidence; but I submit it was the equivalent of a scared child whistling in the graveyard. If you look at the amateur Mike Tyson that cried before his bouts out of fear of losing, you will see an athlete filled with self doubt, a man, who as a professional had no answers when plan “A” didn’t work"

We can't suggest that we just LEAVE a fighters mindset out of the debate. Douglas would bother Tyson on any night and its quite possible he would beat Tyson on any night. Every time Tyson has been tested against a top notch opponent willing to fight he has failed and there is no denying this.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:52 AM
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You know what though? Even if Ali gets a hearing or a weigh in to mess with Tyson's head, he didn't allow himself to do much of the talking (or listening) when he was hungry. There's a good chance that Tyson would be business as usual. He knew his gameplan, and he used it, no matter what the opponent was talking about. While he was afraid of losing, there's no honest boxer in the world who could say otherwise. Ali said lots of crazy things to psyche himself out of being scared. He admits this in his biography when he talks about fighting Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. He looked confident, but so can any good actor. Tyson was very youthful in his peak, and this was more difficult to conceal for him. That doesn't mean he buckles to Ali, however.

Additionally, Tyson's punches did grow thin from rounds 7-10, but that's because he didn't need them past that point. His opponent was down and out before that mattered. Even when he had to go that long, he still won decisions because he was working harder than his taller, lengthier opponents. I guess this would mean that his work ethic was in place more often than he's given credit for. Joe Frazier usually gave up the earlier rounds in favor of taking the mid-to-late portion of the fight. That was just their respective preferences.

The big slide for Mike wasn't just Rooney leaving; it was before then. Winning the Undisputed bout against Spinks, who was terrified, was probably one of the reasons Mike believed himself to be (and everyone told him that he was) invincible. That's when he stopped caring.

This pleasant fiction is pretending we aren't at that stage yet.

Last edited by Brassangel; 05-12-2006 at 12:55 AM.
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#10
Old 05-12-2006, 12:56 AM
Heckler
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"Even when he had to go that long, he still won decisions because he was working harder than his taller, lengthier opponents" None of these fighters were what i would consider EXCELLENT none of these fighters created a real situation of adversity which Tyson had to overcome. Your implying that Tyson was mentally stable Pre-spinks and under rooney, its simply ridiculous. Tyson throwing punches after the bell in many of such fights and loosing focus against Quick Tillis indicated otherwise.
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