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Ali v. TysonFacebooktwitterlinkedinmail

“Muhammad, you know how much I respect you, but I won the heavyweight championship at twenty,” says Mike Tyson. “You were still a beanpole at that age, and I’d have whipped you.”

“I’m not gonna give you the edge even at twenty since you couldn’t have touched the young, dancing Ali. Anyway, let’s set the fight at age twenty-two when I dominated Sonny Liston, a big bear who probably kicks your butt.”

“I’m too quick for Sonny.”

“I’m too quick for Sonny, you’re too small,” Ali says.

“Listen, when I was twenty-one I stopped world champions Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, and Michael Spinks. Holmes was one of the greatest ever.”

“’Was’ is right. He was about forty.”

“Only thirty-eight.”

“Still way over the hill, and you know it.”

“When I was twenty-two I destroyed Frank Bruno in the fifth round and at twenty-three took care of Carl Williams in the first.”

“Mike, I’m a big fan. Lots of times I’ve told people you’re awesome. But what else happened when you were twenty-three, when you were still in your prime?”

“I knocked out Buster Douglas.”

“He knocked you out.”

“But I knocked him out first.”

“All the replays showed what I saw live: he got up at the count of nine. And face it, Mike, he dominated the fight.”

“One referee had me ahead by a point and another had it even.”

“What planet were they on? Douglas landed more than twice as many punches and controlled you with his jab and overhand right and eventually the right uppercut he dropped you with. The judge who had you down six points had it right.”

“Okay, let’s talk about Ken Norton. He beat you three times.”

“Only the first time, I won the next two.”

“You beat him about like the judge said I was beating Douglas. Be honest.”

“Kenny Norton was a great fighter and much tougher and more awkward than most people realized.”

“Muhammad, I guarantee you I knock Norton out every time.”

“Styles make fights. You sure don’t last long against George Foreman, who I knocked out in the eighth round.”

“Maybe George doesn’t last long with me.”

“George dominates you. Look at the record. Big guys could handle you, like Lennox Lewis.”

“I was almost thirty-six and about shot for him, like you at thirty-eight against Larry Holmes when he used you as a heavy bag for ten rounds.”

“I admitted it when I got old.”

“Not at the time.”

“After I got my ass whupped.”

“I got pounded three of my last four fights and said, ‘That’s it.’”

“Listen, Mike, we’re both champions forever,” Ali says. “Why don’t we just have lunch?”

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This entry was posted in Boxing, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston.