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Thread: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

  1. #31
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Joe Louis. PeteLeo.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Tommy Morrison? Holyfield? Briggs?

    While I fully respect George for what he did in his second career, his competition wasn't exactly that threatening, except for Holyfield, Morrison and Moorer. Two of those guys beat him clearly, and one was on his way to beating him until getting coldcocked.

    I don't want to take away from George, or the fact that he adapted, but IMO the young Foreman KILLS the old Foreman if they ever fight. Ali and Young's wins over Foreman are 10 times as impressive as anyone who beat George v2. I say not only does Ali and Young beat old Foreman easier than the young version, Frazier, Norton, Lyle, and probably Chuvalo all also beat old George.

    You just can't combine young and old George, because old George was patient and paced himself, and the young George's strengths all came from his refusal to do either of those things - he was reckless, relentless and hyper-aggressive. It's like asking what would you get if you crossed a sloth with a wolverine. You just can't do it, because they're so opposite.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TKO11
    Tommy Morrison? Holyfield? Briggs?

    While I fully respect George for what he did in his second career, his competition wasn't exactly that threatening, except for Holyfield, Morrison and Moorer. Two of those guys beat him clearly, and one was on his way to beating him until getting coldcocked.

    I don't want to take away from George, or the fact that he adapted, but IMO the young Foreman KILLS the old Foreman if they ever fight. Ali and Young's wins over Foreman are 10 times as impressive as anyone who beat George v2. I say not only does Ali and Young beat old Foreman easier than the young version, Frazier, Norton, Lyle, and probably Chuvalo all also beat old George.

    You just can't combine young and old George, because old George was patient and paced himself, and the young George's strengths all came from his refusal to do either of those things - he was reckless, relentless and hyper-aggressive. It's like asking what would you get if you crossed a sloth with a wolverine. You just can't do it, because they're so opposite.
    I agree TKO. I can't stand it when people claim that the older George had better stamina than in the 70s. He did pace himself more, but when you are 44 years old, fighting guys almost twice as young, you HAVE to pace yourself. And Foreman STILL got tired fairly early in bouts-look at the Holyfield fight-by the 4th round hes sucking wind really bad. If old George had tried to fight like the Zaire George he wouldn't have been able to come out for round 3.

  4. #34
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    George Foreman's early career should not be based on the one fight with Ali.
    George knocked himself out,he didnt stalk Ali like he did Norton.
    He was crazed,he was drivin crazy by psychological war fare.
    Prcactically hyper ventillating in his corner between rounds early on in the fight.

  5. #35
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    I don't see Jeffries or Rocky Beating Foreman. Those 2 would not lay on the ropes hoping big George would pucnh him self out. He would punch him self out on their jaws. Louis would kill George because of his hand speed and timing. Johnson was hard to hit with big power. Lewis because of his power and jab would make Foreman think twice about walking in on him. The Foreman of 1974. if he had to think he was in trouble.

  6. #36
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Some observations:

    1. Foreman was not as well prepared as he might have been. He was cut in training. Anyone knows that if you are peaking and then have to take time off to heal, you then need even more time to then retrain and get an adequate amount of sparring. That did not happen. He was cut and they delayed the bout, but not that long. They forced both to remain in Zaire. So how could he spar if he was cut? He couldn't.

    2. Ali was a flagrant fouler and no referee ever stopped this. Ali held and pulled Foreman's head/neck incessantly, wearing him out. This also was a great defensive tactic. With a different referee, things might have been different. Foreman should have hit him in the balls every time he got his head pulled down. Have someone pull on your head as often as Ali did it to Foreman for 7.5 rounds, then have someone throw some light punches on you and see how well you take it. Wear that neck out and you won't take punches very well. Flip that fight on and simply count how many times George had his head pulled on.

    3. Ali tried to start off moving but couldn't because George tracked him down too well. Ali didn't beat him with the rope a dope so much as he beat him with very fast straight punches up the middle. George did not have the defense to be able to deal with those punches. Frazier could duck, Foreman had very little head movement.

    4. Allow me to somewhat contradict myself. There is no doubt that George failed to properly pace himself in that fight. He threw far too many punches, too many swings, and yes, he should have taken some steps back. Ali found that he could not run, but he also knew that he could take a punch, and he also knew that Foreman was not used to going more than 2 rounds the past couple of years. Huge punchers tend to get fatigued faster because they invest so much energy in their blows. Frazier had more conditioning because although he hit hard, but didn't have the HUGE power that Foreman had. George's power was not the kind that was meant for a fast pace unless he could get you out of there quickly.

    5. Ali won the defensive battle. Foreman did not have Frazier's speed, so Ali was able to see most of what he threw, and he punched so wide generally that Ali was able to see the blows coming.

    I don't think Jack Johnson had the ability to take Foreman's punches and Foreman was too physically strong to deterred by his suppression style. But who knows. Jack may have been too well conditioned and quick for him, along with his cautious defensive style. Would be an interesting match if you could make the fight in valhalla.

    Foreman on his best day would not defeat Larry Holmes. Larry would have owned him. Of this I have no doubt. Larry was too fast, too much footwork, beatiful straight punches, awesome conditioning and punch output. George was not fast enough or well conditioned enough. Larry would have seen his punches coming. Even if George had hurt him, he wouldn't have finished him, and Larry would have taken him into deep waters late in the fight.
    Last edited by apollack; 06-03-2006 at 01:15 AM.

  7. #37
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    I think it is an oversimplification used by Foreman bashers that "all a fighter had to do was last until the 4th round and the 1974 Foreman would be gassed
    They seem to think that any fighter with a chin would beat him : Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall, David Tua, (hell, you guys may as well put Tex Cobb on the list)
    Fact is that George threw (and missed) a lot more punches in Zaire than in his previous fights. He didn't come out like a maniac against Frazier in Jamacia (I know he missed with a wild swing right as the fight began). He was cautious, letting Frazier come to him and pushing him off and hitting him with the jab, until he caught Joe with a left hook, while Joe was on the ropes

    I think Ron Lyle had a good chin. Lyle could also hit, and wasn't afraid of Foreman (hell, Lyle killed about 3 people, it wasn't as though he was going to be scarred to death of Foreman or anyone else). That was a stupid fight for Foreman's management to take, especially after a 15 month lay off. Still, despite being badley hurt, who else had the strength and power to KO a prime Lyle by GOING THROUGH HIM ?

    This other myth that "Foreman couldn't beat boxers" (180 llb Gene Tunney, 185 llb Ezzard Charles, you may as well put Billy Conn and John Conte on the list). Like I said, Foreman took two steps and had the ring cut off, thats why Ali couldn't out box him. The Jimmy Young fight, like I said, Clancy had Foreman fighting at a measured pace, and George didn't do much until the 7th
    round. Most of Young's scoring didn't occur while he was moving, Young countered Foreman's shots while he was on or near the ropes (Young did the same thing to Ali). Still, I have no doubt if Foreman fought Young the way he fought Ali, young doesn't see the 4th roung (Foreman came close to KO'ing Young in the 7th).

    Foreman also went 10 rounds twice with Peralta, who had an iron chin. In fact George got a 10th round KO in their rematch. That second Peralta-Foreman fight is the one that all the fight collectors beg for-wish I had it. Interestingly, until that fight, Saddler had done a decent job of getting quality opponents for Foreman. Then after that fight, they basically shut George down, having him fight only stiffs, who came to him. Probably the 2.5 million dollar purse in Ali-Frazier I (two months before Peralta II) changed the thinking of Foreman's management (Rappaport-Jones thinking). They knew that Foreman was an undefeated #2 contender in the world, so as long as he avoided the top-flight competition (including Ali) and remained undefeated, he'd get the big money title shots. One of the many Saddler screw ups.

  8. #38
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    It's amazing the bout even transpired. The Foreman braintrust had taken a softie bout in Roman but Norton and the champ Smokin Joe certainly weren't softies. They could've milked that title for another year and a half.

    How many other heavyweights in history would've fought Foreman's level of competition between 1973 and 1974? Everyone else would've gone after another opponent in October instead of Ali and kept him on the back burner for awhile. There were guys like an old quarry/bugner/shavers/ or even a Frazier rematch.

    Ali was the one that really needed the championship matchup since he had not been champ for 7 years. And had that norton loss and close decisions against both norton and frazier.

  9. #39
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Quite frankly, I thought Foreman defeated Young. I disagree with the scoring. I felt the ref should have taken points off Young for holding, and was completely biased for taking points off Foreman for pushing a grabbing Young off. Something was fishy with that one.

  10. #40
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    The reason Foreman took on Ali was simple, a 5 million dollar payday. Plus after defeating Frazier in the rematch in MSG, and Quarry, and Norton (in the disputed rematch), Ali was by far the #1 contender. And being the living legend at the time, Ali's Foreman's only big money fight left. Plus the prestige of beating Ali had to weigh in.

    There are some Quarry fans that say that Foreman ducked him (I know after Jerry died, George said that he feared Jerry, but George bullshits so much playing the role of the good guy), but they don't look at the time line. In December of 1973, Quarry became a contender again(the "New" Jerry Quarry) and Clancy screamed for a title shot for Jerry. Saddler chose Norton instead. Norton was rated higher and was coming off a decision win and a split decion loss to Ali. The same Ali that Jerry couldn't win a round against in two fights. Obviously style-wise Norton's an easier match than Jerry would have been, but still at the time, Norton's a bigger fight.

    After KO'ing Norton, Foreman signed to fight Ali.I guess the Quarry supporters must think that George ducked Jerry to fight Ali for 5 million. Ali went on to beat George and Joe Frazier smoked the "New" Jerry Quarry (Quarry may have actually been favored over Frazier in the rematch-I can't remember).

    The point is, Foreman had to fight Ali. He can't be pissing around defending against stiffs and risking that either he or Ali would lose, thereby blowing a 5 million dollar gate (Frazier made the same mistake, turning down a 50-50 split of a 6 million dollar purse against Ali by defending against Foreman for $850,00 Who can Foreman fight after Norton ? You mentioned Bugner and Shavers. Bugner had lost to Ali and Frazier, Shavers had just been KO'ed in one round by Quarry, who had lost a one-sided fight to Ali. Ali's the only money fight out there. Like I said, the longer Foreman waits the more likely that Ali would get upset, thereby blowing a 5 million dollar purse. At least that was the thinking at the time; obviously no one had any idea that Ali still had 4 more years of boxing left. They thought he was nearly done.

  11. #41
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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    apollack,
    Back to post #37. You make a lot of excellant points, I don't agree with all of them, but you make good arguements. Point #1- Foreman cut sparring. I agree, it hurt George, but I still think Ali would have won had they fought on the original date (Ali kills big, slow power punchers-he has the chin)
    Point #2 Ali was a fouler. True, but I don't think there was ANY referee at the time (not even Mercante) that would have had the balls to DQ Ali. If he did, he'd never work another major fight. Plus Foreman fouled all the time as well, he'd use his forearm, he'd shove his opponents (especially swarmers) back, and he'd wrestle and man handle people all of the time. Ali also accused Foreman of thumbing him in that fight, and called George the dirtiest fighter he'd ever fought (this was before his first defense against Wepner). The Ali supporters would claim that Ali out muscled Foreman, beating him at his own game by grabbing him behind the head. Certainly, if Jay Nadey was refereeing then, Frazier might have been 3-0 vrs Ali (Nadey would have DQ'ed Jack Johnson by the 3rd round). Point #3, Ali couldn't beat Foreman with movement-I agree 100%, that was one of the few good things Sadler did with Foreman, he did teach him how to cut the ring off. Ali also was too fast for foreman and beat him with straight punches down the middle. I remember Foreman's two-handed parry, when he'd stick both arms out to prevent his opponent from getting inside (or he'd shove them), Ali fired right through that defense making George look like an amature (it worked against shorter fighters). Point #4 You're correct, the rope a -Dope never worked against Frazier, because as you state, he's conditioned to go 15 rounds and he doesn't throw wide bombs, that had to tire George out after he missed.

    I do disagree slightly, with Holmes over Foreman. Unlike you, I waiver on that one all of the time. Yes, Holmes is faster than the 74 Ali, but he is no way stronger. The $64,000 question is can Foreman cut the ring off on Holmes in the early rounds. If he does, i can't see Larry's body holding up like ali's can. Hey, I agree that Larry's tough and has an excellant chin, but I've always labled Holmes "Ali Lite", kind of like Sugar Ray Leonard is to Robinson. Ali's just a little better in speed, chin, strength, ect (he'd not better fundamentaly and Holmes will go to the body), I think they all add up.

    I realize that although Larry doesn't hit that hard, but he hits hard enough and is accurate enough to stop George from going through him. Still, Shavers took a ton of Holmes' shots in the 23 rounds that they fought, as did Cooney,
    and neither of them have the chin that George has. Of coarse they arn't as reckless defensively as George was, and would be less likely to be repeatably tagged while walking in. Still, the 1974 Foreman has a way of dragging his opponents down to his level, especially light hitters. I think that he'd cut the ring off and force Larry to stand and fight him, eventually forcing him to trade. I don't think Larry had Ali's strength or ability to take it to the body. If he gets to the 7th round, then George is in trouble, but getting to the 7th round against THAT pressure is easier said than done. I think George would get him, but i wouldn't bet on it, and I have no problem with people who pick Holmes. Now the Gil Clancy Foreman, who is fighting at a measured pace, gets killed by Holmes (unless he gets lucky). Like you said, George doesn't give much head movement, and a precision puncher like Holmes, who is Foreman's size (another key factor), should wear George down late, and go for the kill after George's powers gone (10th round since he is fighting at a measured pace). But the killer in Zaire ?

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Shoemaker, thanks for all of your analysis as they were insightful and informative. I really enjoyed what you wrote in your last couple of posts. I agree that Foreman did not duck Quarry. I also think he would have killed him had they fought. Quarry's defense was simply not good enough and he cut too much. If Jerry thought Norton hit hard (Ken stopped Quarry) then he ain't seen nothing yet if he got in there with George.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Adam,

    I am not so sure Foreman beats Quarry. Jerry ate big, slow guys for breakfast ( Foster, Lyle, Shavers ).

    Shoe,

    Johnson would grab the back of his opponents ARMS while simultaneously pivoting, and then slam home an uppercut. George may have been slightly stronger than Jack, but for a guy who was 6' 200lbs he was a powerhouse; plus he was alot faster and better defensively. IMO George will connect with about as much glove and forearm as Jack allows. This is not to say George doesn't have a chance, but more times than not he will end up on his back.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Excellent point on Johnson's strength...Johnson was exceptionally strong...watch the Burn's doc where he easily spins full sized, almost fat guys around his neck with his neck muscles alone...He manhandled the "legendary" Jeffries even in the early rounds...

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    On Quarry-Foreman: I disagree. Same arguement lumping Foreman in with Shavers, Lyle, and Foster. Unlike those guys, Foreman knows how to use his strength, arguably better than anyone in the ring. He also puts way more pressure on than those three and his JAB is a killer. Jerry was always susceptable to the the jab and should bust up in a few rounds. Jerry also had physical disadvantages vrs George, he's slightly undersized (around 200), has short arms, and wasn't a monster puncher. Against Frazier's pressure, Jerry wore down, because he often had to throw punches just to get Frazier off him, the same thing would happen against Foreman. Unlike against Foster, Shavers, and Lyle, Jerry can't rest, or set to throw punches. Yes, he lasts longer than Frazier because he doesn't come to George, and he'll have his moments nailing George, but George eventually will turn the fight into a fight out of a phone booth. Jerry should eventually be busted up. Jerry had an excellant chin, but it's not caste iron (got badly hurt by a Foster RIGHT hand- foster was a converted southpaw), and his body is questionable as well (went down from a supposidly washed-up frazier body shot). I know styles favor Quarry, but Arguello had a style advantage on Pryor and Pryor went through him anyway. I'd say George in about a 4-6 round stoppage. With Jerry screaming at the ref (I noticed that a lot with Jerry, he would be taking a beating, not throwing punches back, then after the ref stops it, he'd suddenly get an energy surge).

    I'd probably take the post-Clancy Foreman as well, fighting at a measured pace, probably by a decision. Jerry's a hell of a counter puncher, but I think Foreman's size, reach, and Jab would keep Jerry out of range. I'd say George via decision, unless he cuts Jerry. IMO

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    On Quarry-Foreman: I disagree. Same arguement lumping Foreman in with Shavers, Lyle, and Foster. Unlike those guys, Foreman knows how to use his strength, arguably better than anyone in the ring. He also puts way more pressure on than those three and his JAB is a killer. Jerry was always susceptable to the the jab and should bust up in a few rounds. Jerry also had physical disadvantages vrs George, he's slightly undersized (around 200), has short arms, and wasn't a monster puncher. Against Frazier's pressure, Jerry wore down, because he often had to throw punches just to get Frazier off him, the same thing would happen against Foreman. Unlike against Foster, Shavers, and Lyle, Jerry can't rest, or set to throw punches. Yes, he lasts longer than Frazier because he doesn't come to George, and he'll have his moments nailing George, but George eventually will turn the fight into a fight out of a phone booth. Jerry should eventually be busted up. Jerry had an excellant chin, but it's not caste iron (got badly hurt by a Foster RIGHT hand- foster was a converted southpaw), and his body is questionable as well (went down from a supposidly washed-up frazier body shot). I know styles favor Quarry, but Arguello had a style advantage on Pryor and Pryor went through him anyway. I'd say George in about a 4-6 round stoppage. With Jerry screaming at the ref (I noticed that a lot with Jerry, he would be taking a beating, not throwing punches back, then after the ref stops it, he'd suddenly get an energy surge).

    I'd probably take the post-Clancy Foreman as well, fighting at a measured pace, probably by a decision. Jerry's a hell of a counter puncher, but I think Foreman's size, reach, and Jab would keep Jerry out of range. I'd say George via decision, unless he cuts Jerry. IMO

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Shoe,

    fair points. Foreman is better than Lyle, Foster, Shavers like you said, but is also a big, slow puncher similarly ( not to say he was ONLY a big slow puncher ). Not saying Quarry wins, just that his style in particular could really wreak havoc w/Big George.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    Colin,
    Like I said, Jerry would last longer than Frazier/Norton and probably have his moments, but beating him? Like you said, Quarry does have a style advantage and would nail George early. Hey, it wouldn't be the upset of the century if he pulled it off, but I don't see it happening. In fact if I'd probably rather have Lyle or Shavers try Foreman and hope for a lottery punch (that's the pre-Zaire Foreman, who had a ton of confidence).

    Jerry was a hell of a professional, who got the most out of his body and had a huge heart and chin. I could make the excuse that Jerry was a huge step up in class for Foster, Lyle, and Shavers, but I think that he beats them in their primes regardless (not sure if Mac Foster had a prime). George definitely ain't blowing Jerry away in a round or two and he will get hit. I just think the law of averages points to Jerry getting sliced. By either a jab, a headbut, or an elbow, something.

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    Re: Could anyone but Ali beat Foreman in Zaire ?

    You speak of Jack Johnson being very strong, but it's easy to look strong against a guy 5'7" and 175 pounds, and a former middleweight. Johnson's opponents did not have anywhere near the strength of George Foreman. Jeffries was a complete shell of himself when they fought and that fight was utterly meaningless boxingwise. Six years off, fat and out of shape, and then first fight back taking on a prime defensive master - ridiculous.

    Not saying Johnson wouldn't have beaten Foreman though - because he was fast, well conditioned, paced himself well, and was a defensive specialist, all of which would have given George trouble.

    Still, I think Johnson had some chin issues. If he thought middleweight/light heavyweight sized Ketchel and Choynski hit hard...they weren't in Foreman's league in terms of raw power.

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