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Old 07-17-2009, 03:14 PM #1
Ziggy Stardust Ziggy Stardust is offline
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Default Muhammed Ali And Joe Louis: Who's The Greatest Heavyweight?

It's no secret here in Boxing History that I openly admire Joe Louis. That being said, I have always consistantly ranked him number 2 at Heavyweight behind Muhammed Ali. I've always felt that a prime Ali's unreal foot and handspeed made him the runaway favorite for the title. Over the past couple of years I've had discussions with people who place Louis at number 1; which puts me in the uncomfortable position of arguing against my own personal favorite. So! I'd like the Boxing History section's best minds to weigh in on the subject with their best arguments for one fighter or the other. If you back Ali, tell me how I'm right in this argument. If you back Louis, do your best to change my mind on the subject.

I want this to be a serious discussion for the posters I know are some of best on Boxing Scene. To that end, certain "trolls" that have been making the rounds here lately have been barred from this thread. As I said, I'd like to see a serious and thoughtful discussion not a juvenile trolling party; and if the trolls are thinking of making alts to get in on this thread their alts will be barred too.

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Old 07-17-2009, 03:32 PM #2
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I don't know if you would consider me as one of the great minds on this forum but I do know a lot about boxing history. This would be a toss-up for either fighter since they both have advantages over the other.

While Ali had a great chin, we shouldn't forget that he's been knocked down a few times including nearly getting counted out in the first Henry Cooper fight. Everyone knows Joe Louis was one of, if not the, best punchers pound for pound and he definitely hit harder and more accurate than Henry Cooper. So a Louis knockout is possible.

We also shouldn't forget how quick Ali was. Great footwork and longer reach would keep Louis at bay most of the time, including his lightning-quick jab.

Overall, I think Ali would be the favorite in this fight to win by decision but don't be too surprised if Louis wins by a knockout. If Louis gets Ali at the right moment, it could be all over.

Last edited by UKnowIt; 07-17-2009 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:49 PM #3
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Originally Posted by poet682006 View Post
It's no secret here in Boxing History that I openly admire Joe Louis. That being said, I have always consistantly ranked him number 2 at Heavyweight behind Muhammed Ali. I've always felt that a prime Ali's unreal foot and handspeed made him the runaway favorite for the title. Over the past couple of years I've had discussions with people who place Louis at number 1; which puts me in the uncomfortable position of arguing against my own personal favorite. So! I'd like the Boxing History section's best minds to weigh in on the subject with their best arguments for one fighter or the other. If you back Ali, tell me how I'm right in this argument. If you back Louis, do your best to change my mind on the subject.

I want this to be a serious discussion for the posters I know are some of best on Boxing Scene. To that end, certain "trolls" that have been making the rounds here lately have been barred from this thread. As I said, I'd like to see a serious and thoughtful discussion not a juvenile trolling party; and if the trolls are thinking of making alts to get in on this thread their alts will be barred too.

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This is the oldest question in boxing! As you're well aware, you & I are only about 50/50 on HW opinions & where they should be rated.. Same again I'm afraid old boy... If I'd wrote your thread, It'd be very similar, except a hairs breath in Louis's favor.. Gonna be a difficult debate lol...Louis was basically more dominant throughout his era, but I also say, that there were a better head of competition in Ali's day, so that's kind of even..
Ali had the better foot/handspeed & Louis had the better punch in both hands.. so that's even.. Both men had equally big hearts to.. .Ali's chin was better, but had he EVER fought ANYONE with Louis's power speed combo..? I'd say with the exception of Frazier, NO, he hadn't.. Ali was particularly good at beating hard punching slow guys (ie: Liston & Foreman) But, not as good as at beating good/fast punchers (ie:Frazier & Norton).. With Louis, it didn't really matter.. All 25 of em, went the same way, & there were a few different styles thrown into the mix as well.. Louis's wins were less controversial to.. They were more cut & dried.. Another reason, would be longevity to the throne.. Although, some of Ali's prime years were taken away from him (don't want to get into NAM), unfortunately, this kinda divides the two, & once again goes against Ali...
All said & done.... Prime Ali (215 est) Vs Prime Louis (197est) I'd say Ali takes the decision... But any other time it's Louis by late TKO.. That's how close it is my friend.... Jab 4 Jab on chapter 2 lol..

Last edited by mickey malone; 07-17-2009 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:24 PM #4
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As you're well aware, you & I are only about 50/50 on HW opinions & where they should be rated.. Same again I'm afraid old boy... If I'd wrote your thread, It'd be virtually the same, except a hairs breath in Louis's favor.. Gonna be a difficult debate lol....
Difficult debates are cool! I have perfect confidence in the regular posters in this section: Easily some of the most knowledgeable boxing minds in the world as I see it. Thoughtful debate among intelligent adults is great......I just kept the juvenile trolls out to ensure it WOULD be a thoughtful debate and not a smear fest.

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Old 07-17-2009, 04:26 PM #5
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Originally Posted by UKnowIt View Post
I don't know if you would consider me as one of the great minds on this forum but I do know a lot about boxing history. This would be a toss-up for either fighter since they both have advantages over the other.

While Ali had a great chin, we shouldn't forget that he's been knocked down a few times including nearly getting counted out in the first Henry Cooper fight. Everyone knows Joe Louis was one of, if not the, best punchers pound for pound and he definitely hit harder and more accurate than Henry Cooper. So a Louis knockout is possible.

We also shouldn't forget how quick Ali was. Great footwork and longer reach would keep Louis at bay most of the time, including his lightning-quick jab.

Overall, I think Ali would be the favorite in this fight to win by decision but don't be too surprised if Louis wins by a knockout. If Louis gets Ali at the right moment, it could be all over.
I see you have fewer than a hundred posts but you are already off to a great start. I think you'll make a fine addition to the Boxing History section!

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Old 07-17-2009, 04:56 PM #6
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Difficult debates are cool! I have perfect confidence in the regular posters in this section: Easily some of the most knowledgeable boxing minds in the world as I see it. Thoughtful debate among intelligent adults is great......I just kept the juvenile trolls out to ensure it WOULD be a thoughtful debate and not a smear fest.

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looool.... 'Smear fest'!
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:57 PM #7
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Two great heavyweights. I've always favoured a peak Ali to win by decision, I doubt he'd stop him but Joe always had problems with jab and move types.

Tommy Farr ran Louis quite close with a jab and move style, Billy Conn's two handed attacks show how easy Louis was to hit with fast combinations from a slick mover. I've also fancied that Walcott was unlucky to lose their first match (even though Louis was post prime the style was the factor for me) and Walcott was clearly outboxing Louis before the champ found the knockout in the second fight.

We all know that Ali was taller, heavier, faster in hand and foot, had a longer reach, a better ability to absorb a punch and arguably a higher workrate than any of these guys. Simple answer really.

Ali faced some very fast guys Mickey. Floyd Patterson was fast handed even in 1972 (experts put his punches through a synchroniser and found that his left was even faster than Ali's at one point in time), Bob Foster had lightening fast fists even though he was too small to be a heavy, Jimmy Ellis had good hand and foot speed, Cleveland Williams had fast hands and barely even managed to land on a peak Ali, Jimmy Young had good handspeed too, Joe Bugner's too. I think all these guys were faster than Norton and Frazier (not better though!) and some may well have had faster hands than Louis too.

I really cant see Louis stopping a peak Ali either. No one could absorb a punch better and he was so hard to hit anyway. He was a 21 year old undeveloped kid when he fought Cooper the first time, Louis may have had a good chance with the youngster Clay but Ali was much improved in late 66/67.

This is not to say that Ali was the better champion, just that I think he would have beaten Louis by decision. Its easy to forget the mental factor too, Ali would have taunted, mocked and wound up Joe up to and throughout the fight, he might have got Joe off his gameplan.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:03 PM #8
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Are we talking in a head to head matchup, or overall who was the greater Heavyweight?

The title of the thread implies it's a debate over who is the greatest Heavyweight, but some of the responses thus far have been in regard to a head to head matchup.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:08 PM #9
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Are we talking in a head to head matchup, or overall who was the greater Heavyweight?

The title of the thread implies it's a debate over who is the greatest Heavyweight, but some of the responses thus far have been in regard to a head to head matchup.
I'm talking over-all but the head-to-head stuff is interesting too.

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Old 07-17-2009, 06:23 PM #10
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Alright then ; I'll do my best on both.

Overall

Overall I rank Louis as the Greatest Heavyweight of All Time, Ali gets my #2 spot, and I'll tell you why I peg Louis for #1......

Louis was a much more dominant Heavyweight Champion than Ali was. Dominant to the point that even some of his toughest challengers were labelled "bums" by comparison during Louis' title reign, and the "bum of the month club" stigma.

While I'd peg the competition in Ali's era to be slightly thougher than the competition during Louis' era ; it is by no means an easy feat to reign on top as long as Louis did and be that dominant, regardless of the era.

His historical title reign is the stuff of legend, and something we'll likely never see duplicated ever again.

For that, and the domination of his opponets during his run at the top ; I peg Louis as my All Time #1 Great Heavyweight.

Head To Head

Head to head is a different story ; I like Ali in a head to head matchup due to his cat like reflexes, incredible speed and stamina, and his tremendous ability to fight through adversity.

While it's true that neither of them have seen a fighter quite like the other ; I think Ali would be the one in this matchup who would adapt to Louis, more so than Louis would be able to adapt to Ali.

I think Ali's incredible reach and slashing jab would keep Louis on the defensive and looking for opportunities.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Louis land a bomb at some point in the fight, and put Ali on the deck.

But Ali would did what he'd always done when he was knocked down ; he'd get up, recover from the blow, and dig his way back into the fight off of his jab.

The only way I can see Louis defeating Ali in a head to head, is if we're talking a prime Louis vs. a green Clay. He may be able to bomb out a young Cassius Clay.

But a prime Muhammad Ali is a different story altogether.
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