1896~Modern Cinematography Birthed with Bob Fitzsimmons vs Peter Maher Heavyweight Title Fight

Yupsir, the first ever attempt to film a modern length full feature film was scheduled on a Friday, February 14th, a fight lover’s Valentine Day, 1896, over 121 years ago. The heavyweight title was in dispute after James J Corbett retired in a huff after a Dallas hotel lobby spat with Bob Fitzsimmons, thus the impetus for Thomas Edison’s attempt to film the first full length cinematographic feature in Langtry that Judge Roy Bean helped to put together as the “host” as it were. We could say thus began the love story over all things Langtry, Texas and Judge Roy Bean in Texas lore. You could read all about it here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/bobby-mac/an-anthology-of-short-stories-for-o-henry/paperback/product-23360297.html

The fight was an unadorned, unapologetic, unrelentingly savage beating with percussive punches mixed in the roar of thousands of fans perched on the canyon rim echoing off the walls of the Rio Grande canyon. Never before nor after has such a magnificent natural theatrical backdrop been staged in boxing. Waged pillar to post in the middle of a spit island floating atop the Rio Grande river on one side, the Rio Bravo on the other, the fight could never last but 60 seconds before Fitz popped the cork on the game Peter Mahrer with a counter right hand.

Modern boxing poseurs, with a few notable exceptions like Manny Pacquiao who is as old school as they come today, they simply can’t compare to the oak twisted hardwood of ol’ Timers like Bobby Fitzsimmons and Maher.

So, pray tell us what they did after the one minute knockout? Well, they did what sports from time immemorial have done, they threw the biggest party Langtry has ever seen. With an able assist by Judge Roy Bean who had set up a sort of tarp city with some complaining it was a trapped city, he packed it with local adult refreshments, mystery meat jerky vittles, and plenty of freshly grilled mystery meat offerings, jackrabbit being the most prevalent.

Unfortunately, the making of the fight was a political and logistic nightmare, compounded by the furious action under misting conditions, net result being that either the fight never got recorded before the 60 second KO, or the footage was lost. Yet it may still be possibly existent in someone’s collection of fight or cinema memorabilia, or just in a dusty box in the attic of ol’ grandpa’s meager possessions.

Thankfully a year later in March of 1897, James J Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons put together a fight under ideal filming conditions in Reno, Nevada that did get filmed in it’s dramatic entirety of the first ever recorded “Phantom” one punch knockout that got all the “boxing experts” of day boiling over in competing theories of the moment.

Such were the days and history of boxing and the US of A with cinematography now completely democratized internationally and as local as the girl next door with a plethora of video enablers like YouTube one example of dozens.

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Mighty Joe Parker vs Hugie Fury

This Saturday, September 23rd, Mighty Joe Parker defends his WBO heavyweight title against Irish Traveler Usurpist Hughie Fury, he of the notorious heavyweight champion Tyson Fury traveler stock @ Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, England.

This donnybrook of undefeateds has the prevailing look of the  “weird beards” of modern boxers, so of course the notoriously unreliable BBB of C enlisted the notoriously unreliable referee Terry O’Connor for 3rd man duties in the ring. Also, by modern heavyweight standards these are veritable kids, only 25 and 23 years old respectively, and Hughie ain’t even ranked by Ring or Boxrec, the two most dominant rankings. By WBO in house rankings which are bought by the fighters, young Hughie bargained his way into a mandatory ranking, so here we are with this the rescheduled version of the fight after Hughie literally left Parker in a lurch by pulling out two days before their last fight, citing a “back” injury.

By size these two are near equal, and by styles Parker has resisted the brutish Samoan stereotyping to become a very underrated boxer with some pop. Hughie is also a boxer type without any apparent pop, so this is not likely to be an action fight, but rather tit for tat moving smoothly about the ring. Parker has been in with vastly better competition though and should pull this off rather easily, but he’d better bring his knockout punch because the decision rendering business in boxing these days is more akin to crap shoot than a studied analysis, and the ref  certainly won’t be doing him any favors.

Nor will Big Tyson, the King of Verbose Gaseous Vapors missives will be suffocating Parker all night. It should be further noted that both the Furys may or may not have been involved in a minor Performance Enhancing Drugs mishap that the BBB of C seems to have had a hand in, but in that the alleged parties have largely remained mum on the issue, and thus ignored, the issue steadily receded to be now rattling around the dustbins of dubious history. But, wait, wait, the BBB of C cut a new stacked deck with the reassignment of O’Conner to judge duties with a new British ref, Marcus McDonnell.

Well, folks, it’s a new millennia, a new era of English heavyweight boxing, and such monkey shines are the current state of English boxing, indeed, boxing is just about every jurisdiction sad to say, but lookie-lookie, both the fighters properly shaved their beards!

 

Ace of Spades~Canelo vs Golovkin For The Glory

Saul Alvarez, 49-1-1, 34 KO and former WBC champ challenges unified middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin, for all his titles, HOWEVER, Canelo still holds the Ace of Spades in this dust ’em up, the Ring middleweight title he won off Miguel Cotto 2 years ago. That would, of course, be this Saturday, September 16th, in Las Vegas at T Mobile.

Canelo’s last fight was supposed to be an old school Mexican heavyweight shootout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, but Canelo amazingly unveiled a new, high octane, bob and weave aggressive offense utilizing lateral in and out movement that proved to be way too much for Junior as the complete pounding of him demonstrated. This was the best anyone has seen out of Canelo, so now he risks health and legend going against a modern day MONSTER in Golovkin, 37-0, 33 KO who only just lost his 23rd consecutive KO streak, accumulated over a 10 year span in his last fight against a running Danny Jacobs. Speculation ran rampant when training pics 3 weeks out showed Canelo ripped to the gills as usual, and, gasp, the titanium forged Golovkin looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Canelo 3 weeks away: 

Golovkin 3 weeks away:

Naturally the frothing, slobbering anti-social media experts concluded that Golovkin must be SHOT now at 35 years of age, but of course they already knew that Canelo would never fight him after savaging the Canelo name across the internet, pretty much exposing them had they any honor, which of course they do not.

Canelo and Golovkin have some favorable history together as sparring partners upon arriving in America to make their chops where the teenage Canelo actually had more pro experience. Anecdotal reports recall the teenager holding his own  as a welterweight in some lively spars, and now here he is all grown up in the greatest years of his prime as Golovkin enters his last prime years, so it’s a win/win for boxing if boxing can clean themselves up from the fetid mess they splattered themselves with a few weeks back with McGregor vs Mayweather. Yes, we have to hold our collective breath just to talk honestly about boxing these days as we scramble for our gas masks just to survive the outrages.

Best Buds

Best Buds

And, yupsir, that orchestrated hoax in advance took some of the wind out of the promotional sails of this fight. Canelo is still P4P #1 on boxrec while Golovkin is #4.

Golovkin, blessed with a naturally sunny disposition that belies his unceasing brutality as a fighter, is the expected favorite, the approximate odds 3 weeks out being Canelo +140 to Golovkin -160. I suspect the close odds reflect that he’s a slugger with all the attendant bias against sluggers who let their opponents go the distance as happened with Jacobs. Canelo is the money fighter in this donnybrook and could very well nab the decision in a corrupt jurisdiction as Vegas is whether deserving or not.

Forget the dubious scoring and prejudicial actions of the ref in Vegas.  For those wanting to actually enjoy boxing without being emotionally bound to a wager, it should rightfully be The Big Drama Show of a hotly contested ebb and flow of a classic that even the most pedestrian non-fan can savor. Who cares if one or the other wins the always dubious Academy Award by the end? If the combatants play out their roles as expected, we’ll have a fight to savor ’til the end of time.

 

 

Magomed Abdusalamov Settles $22 Million Claim Against New York State

— Always been a big critic of the endemic bogus premature stoppages of modern boxing, but this case a prime example of a commish completely inept in following their own regulations to protect boxers. Mago’s own corner also should have stopped the fight since every indicator was a fighter medically damaged beyond his capacity to win. 

NEW YORK — Nearly four years after boxer Magomed Abdusalamov suffered brain damage from a bout in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York State has agreed to pay him and his family $22 million in what is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement the state has made.

Court of Claims Judge Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick approved the agreement on Friday.

After Abdusalamov’s fight on Nov. 2, 2013, his family filed suit alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice by the New York State Athletic Commission, NYSAC staff and the doctors it retained to work that night. The complaint said improper care crucially delayed diagnosis and treatment of a developing blood clot in Abdusalamov’s brain. He underwent emergency surgery, suffered multiple strokes, was in a coma for weeks, and was hospitalized for more than 10 months, including in-patient rehabilitation.

Now 36, Abdusalamov remains paralyzed on his right side and unable to walk. His speech is mostly limited to mumbling. His wife, Bakanay Abdusalamova, said doctors told her he’d likely never talk again, but now he occasionally delivers fully formed words with clarity. She cares for him and their three daughters — ages 11, 8 and 4 — in a Connecticut house provided by a friend.

Abdusalamov was paid $40,000 for the fight and received the full $10,000 payout from a mandatory minimum insurance policy. A year-and-a-half later, the incapacitated ex-boxer and his family were more than $2 million in debt, according to a 2015 court filing.

After a 32-month investigation, the state inspector general released a 48-page report last year that excoriated the NYSAC for mishandling Abdusalamov’s care and for an array of systemic problems, including its approach to medical emergencies.

The Abdusalamov family’s attorney, Paul Edelstein, characterized the $22 million settlement to ESPN’s Outside the Lines as “the state taking responsibility for its actions and paying an appropriate amount for the damages caused — it was handled by the attorney general’s office and Assistant AG Ross Herman in an extraordinarily professional and empathetic way.”

 More here:

http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20637676/magomed-abdusalamov-receives-22m-settlement-new-york-state

Super Prospect David Benvidez vs Ronald Garvril

Super middleweight prospects David Benavidez, 18-0, 17 KOs, and Ronald Gavril, 18-1, 14 KO, vie for the vacant WBC super middleweight belt from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, September 8th, this Friday night.

Normally these types of fights would part of the development of a fighter on his way to becoming a contender, but boxing is so weak these days, they have to round up their kids to make a title fight in many cases. Benavidez is 20 yrs to Gavril’s 31 yrs, but their pro comp is about similar, meaning on paper this could be considered near even. However, Benavidez is a touted prospect looking mighty promising in a weak era if he can hold it together mentally. Most talented guys in the history of boxing can’t and so never pan out.

Great opportunity for both, so should be a good fight since this will be the biggest fight both in media exposure and talent that either has had.

UFC & Conor McGregor Looks to Neuter Boxing & Floyd Mayweather Jr.


A resurrected Greatest Show on Earth invades the scene of serial crimes, Las Vegas, a sorta Barnum & Bailey Three Ring Circus with Conor McGregor vs Floyd TUE Mayweather Jr @ T-Mobile ArenaLas VegasRobert Byrd the circus master will be cracking his bull whip on Mac’s overdeveloped torso. Gotta keep them boys in line, wink, wink with May safely swaddled away from any application of brute force, bolstered by his personal judges and drug testing cartel, so on paper Mac ain’t got a chance.

However, in a street fight or in the octagon, we know Mac would quickly bulldoze May without any monkey business help, so the UFC fans are betting BIG on him, over 90% of total bets placed to have his 10 seconds needed to do the dirty job.

Not gonna bother really writing about this, the biggest hoax in boxing history, but rather harvesting the little gemstones scattered about, so in a pottymouth 8th grade schoolboy disassociative freestyle streaming as befits the demographic being tapped into, so here we go:

F***, Bitches & Hoes, F*** You, You F****** Bitch, You Bitch Hoe…..

May expected to net $300 million  and brags about making near $10 million a minute for a 12 round fight.

Mac expected to net $100 million win/lose or draw

Big Mouth Paulie knocked down in sparring:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2853057118050662&id=146505212039213&refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fboxrec.com%2Fforum%2Fviewtopic.php&_rdr

http://fightnews.com/easy-money-bettors-back-mcgregor/1286

*** Bookies going crazy with all the surges in betting that keeps changing the odds. Who could ever bet on such a farce when the outcome will probably only be known but a dozen privileged insiders.

Wahhhhhh, my little pinkie boo boo.

Wahhhhhh, my little pinkie boo boo.

http://ekstrabladet.dk/incoming/article5020110.ece/IMAGE_ALTERNATES/p910/Mayweather%20Maidana%20Boxing

IE: Unbeaten former P4P champ Floyd Mayweather should probably be a 100:1 favorite to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The current -475 odds are laughably close considering Floyd is shooting to go 50-0 for his Hall of Fame career against an MMA fighter making his pro boxing debut. Nevertheless, wagers have been flowing in heavily on McGregor +325, and if McGregor wins, Vegas casinos stand to get creamed.

Zach Jornlin, sportsbook supervisor at MGM Resorts, told The New York Post: “This would be a really, really bad loss for us.”

Jay Rood, VP of MGM Resorts Race and Sports, told ESPN: “This could be the worst loss in the history of MGM Resorts.”

http://fightnews.com/mcgregor-also-ko-vegas-sportsbooks/3462#comments

Mac calls May a half fighter, maybe because he’s been part time since his first retirement in 2006.

May says he’s a $800 million fighter going against a $3 million fighter

Mac: I’ll be a god of boxing…this is some Bruce Lee shit!

Black Power ESPN article slaps The Great White Hope on Mac.

May to surpass a billion dollars in earnings after collecting the proceeds from this farce.

May throws up a rain of 1000 $1 dollar bills as Mac picks up his back pack to pronounce May running around like a schoolboy who can’t read.

Mac says it takes 3 sec to choke out a UFC fighter, but reckons he can do May in a 2 count, so what’s Byrd gonna do?

Face value of tickets is 500, 1500, 2500, 3500, 5000, 7500, 10,000. What they go for on the street? Who knows, but they ain’t sellin’ like hotcakes.

Have to preregister—

Tickets for the fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, taking place Saturday, Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will go on sale Monday, July 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. However, you must register in advance to buy tickets.

Here’s how it works. To thwart bots and scalpers attempting to buy tickets, fans must request a unique offer code and link to purchase tickets. To receive the code, fans must first be verified through a registration process. Registering still does not guarantee you will receive a code, nor have the ability to purchase tickets. However, only fans who do register can receive their unique code and have the chance to purchase tickets — limited to two (2) per offer code.

May calls Mac a quitter because he once tapped out of a UFC match.

Jesse Vargas says Mac KOed in sparring based on insider rumors.

WBC making a belt and title for the fight, ie: The Money Belt with 1.5 kilograms of 24 karat gold, 3360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 160 emeralds, all set off center on the crocodile leather strap.

May guarantee alleged 100-120 mil, Mac guarantee 75 mil.

Mac previously fined $150,000 by the Nevada Commish for throwing a water bottle at Nate Diaz that was later reduced to $25,000, so FYI boys!

May been spending all nights at his personal strip club opened last year to complement his personal gym:

Stamina issue:

UFC title fights last 29 minutes with 5×5 minute fighting rounds in between 4×1 minute rest time, Total rest time is about 1/7th of rest, 6/7ths of fighting, ie: 4/29=0.14 rest, 25/29=0.86 fighting.

Boxing title fights last 47 minutes with 12×3  minute fighting rounds in between 11×1 minute rest time, Total rest time is about 1/4th of rest, 3/4ths of fighting, ie: 11/47=0.23 rest, 36/47=0.77 fighting

Boxing ring dimensions are seldom publicly disclosed, but most fights likely use 20’x20′ dimensions yielding 400 Sq Ft fighting area. The largest sanctioned ring is 24’x24’=576 Sq Ft.

Championship Octagon dimensions are a 31′ diameter approximating 754 Sq Ft of fighting area, net result being boxing rings are 53%-76% the size of the much larger Octagon.

Translation: UFC bouts are more cardio intensive using a larger fighting area over a shorter time whereas boxing bouts are slower paced in a smaller area over a longer time. I look for McGregor to be more explosive under these conditions, but could he ever chase down a caged running chicken stinker? That’s what we’ll find out.

 

Terence Crawford vs Julius Indongo For All The Marbles

Terence Crawford, 31-0, 22 KO and Julius Indongo, 22-0, 11 KO will be unifying the 140 division @ Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska, Saturday, August 19th. The whole kit and kaboodle consists of WBC World super lightweight title, 
WBA Super World super lightweight title, IBF World super lightweight title, 
WBO World super lightweight title, and International Boxing Organization World super lightweight title.

Not to mention the Ring belt, so that’s a YUUUUGE handful of belts in this modern age of split titles, and the winner will hold them all, as blessed win/win/win/win/win/win for boxing and fans in this otherwise dismal year for boxing that sees the next week the greatest all time hoax in boxing history, Conor McGregor bum rushing Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The pity is that boxing has sunk so low that these two undersung fighters are at the top of their game raring to unify in an all time classic on the level of this year’s Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua, my current favorite for the Fight of the Year, yet only a few of the dwindling numbers of boxing aficionados left in this world will be watching. The Junior Welter division has never been a glamour division, further exacerbated by Crawford possessing a bland personality sullied by repeated brushes with his hometown law enforcement.  With Indongo being a late maturing, locally sourced African fighter out of WindhoekNamibia, he cannot help the public demand much since breaking into the top rankings less than a year ago.

No matter the lack of a greater public appeal, a great fight is still a great fight by any other name in Billy Shakes’ world. Indongo a longer, stronger, awkward southpaw who thus far has been perfect in blasting the smithereens out of hometown favorites, so how does the switch hitting, mecurial Crawford adjust? 

Tonight: Vasyl Lomachenko vs Miguel Marriaga

Probably not gonna be much of a fight, but Vasyl Lomachenko defends his WBO World super featherweight title tonight against Miguel Marriaga @ Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California. Marriaga is ranked 29th by boxrec at featherweight, but a solid fighter with power who’s never been knocked out…until tonight I suspect.

Basically, none of the big dogs are willing to fight Lomachenko because he makes them look really stupid in the ring. Nobody in boxing today or recent memory has his command of footwork, distance, timing, and offensive arsenal needed to land punches from any angle while maintaining a magnificent defense.

I interpret this bout as a stay busy showcase for future prospective fights with Jorge Linares likely huge in Japan or southern California against Mikey Garcia.

Here he is with fellow P4Per, Mikey Garcia who is willing to move back to 135 lbs to fight Lomachenko who is willing to move up to 135. As you can see, Lomachenko is of a diminutive stature compared to the huge Garcia who last fought at 140 and is probably around 155lbs for these shots. We’ll see who steps up next, but Marriaga first.

Little Big Man vs Big Man

Little Big Man vs Big Man

Happy Days!

Happy Days!

 

Mickey Garcia Picks A Bone With Adrien Broner

 

The fight is being marketed as 3 division champ Mikey Garcia, 36-0, 30 KO vs 4 division champ Adrien Broner, 33-2, 24 KO this Saturday, July 29 @ Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York.

The fight should be a good one because, whatever his numerous flaws, Broner at least comes to fight unlike many other high profile American divas in boxing today. Garcia is a highly disciplined ring technician extraordinaire, so ultimately, if you like slow, careful, progressive beatings, that’s what we’ll likely see the more the fight progresses, perhaps even a stoppage by Broner’s corner. I give Broner a 5% puncher’s chance, and that’s it.

*** On a side note, I don’t get how boxing suddenly allowed fighters to have these thick beards in the ring as Broner sports. It’s already bad enough with their atrocious ring entrances blaring trash misappropriated as music. Such coincides with an overall decline in American boxing.

A Broner fight pays decent and is a guaranteed workout. Mikey is well supported by his older brother,  Roberto Garcia, who gave Marcos Maidana a good gameplan to BTFO out of Broner a few years back. About Billions Broner flushing his career down the potty like he did with his money on video clips as the Broner Braindead Trust pulled another boner in their opponent selection…OUCH!

FUN before the fight

FUN before the fight

 

 

Wilt Chamberlain vs Ali~50th Year Anniversary Tribute

In 1967, Wilt Chamberlain contracted  to challenge Muhammad Ali for his undisputed heavyweight title in Madison Square Garden. ABC and Howard Cosell arranged a special sports segment with Ali and Wilt appearing jointly to announce the fight. Jim Brown was supposed to have been the promoter and had enough money lined up on the table that enticed the Ali team to enter into contract negotiations. The abbreviated story is that Ali’s manager, the Nation of Islam, son of Prophet Elijah Muhammad, Herbert Muhammad, passed on the deal without comment, so Ali refused to sign the contract as verified by the public ABC youtube footage shown here. Ali did put on a credible act of talking about a fight, yet couldn’t be induced to pen his John Henry to paper.

Instead, Ali’s last title defense of 1967 was a milquetoast affair against grizzled long time contender Zora Folley before being stripped of his titles in 1968 for refusing to be drafted into the US Army. That led to a 3 year exile from boxing and a pending case before the US Supreme Court before Ali was able to make his 1970 comeback against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia. Not many boxing fans know a gang of Northeastern big city thugs crashed Ali’s elite Atlanta victory celebration filled with Atlanta’s most renown political icons,  media big shots, and various celebrities to rob the well heeled bunch at gunpoint. Got away with it for a huge harvest too, but slowly the underworld extracted a payback of sorts since these were just two bit punk gangsters, not the real gangsters who would never dream of pulling that kind of public relations nightmare heist. 

The 1960s through the 70s was quite an era for sports fans. Boxing’s big fights usually aired over “real” free terrestrial TV as did the Olympics, World Series, Superbowl and many of their regular season games. Then you had the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500 and Daytona 500 and so on. Ripe, passionate sports fans of all ages, sex, and races grew on trees into the furthest reaches of America ready to be plucked for viewing every sports weekend.

What could’ve been the biggest sports splash of the Century slowly ebbed out of existence. Oh, to be sure there was a brief flare up in 1971 had Ali pulled off the win against Joe Frazier in the Fight of the Century. The closed circuit fight was to be in the Houston Astrodome with posters actually printed up.

Ali instead got well whooped by Frazier, so Wilt canceled their contract since the heavyweight title was no longer Ali’s to defend as most of the money backing the deal also fled for greener pastures. I don’t know who the promoters were, but Jim Brown talks about the fight in his Siri interview below where he laughs about the Ali shouting “Timber” story that supposedly killed the fight. He may have been part of the promotion, or at least close enough to deny “The Timber” moment ever happened as reported. Ali once again entered  into his wanderings in the wilderness of being yesterday’s news even as he was ultimately reaffirmed with a favorable Supreme Court ruling and could now box free of Federal charges against him. Wilt was in his last two creaky knee years of an all time career in the National Basketball League, so he was less inclined to further pursue an assbackwards sport, boxing, rife with so many contractual problems and other boxing monkeyshines magnified by the political instability of Ali himself.

At any rate, Ali never had had full control over his career with Herr Herbert at the helm. Ali wisely recalled the fatal fate of  Malcolm X after getting crossed up with the NOI. He picked a later date after his retirement after NOI founder, Elijah Muhammad,  passed away before Ali felt safe to leave that sect.

Nonetheless, Wilt did his part in trying to make this fight, and he had more than just financial backers that included substantial boxing support from Cus D’Amato. The future HOF trainer had long made a study of the Ali style and was training Wilt in secrecy just how to leverage his immense gifts of size, strength, reach, athletic ability, and, yes, it must be stated frankly, Wilt was substantially more intelligent. Substantially! Ali may have been a naturally gifted fighter, yet he was physically inferior to Wilt with Ali further burdened by a limited boxing style that only he ever used to success that served him ill has he aged. Cus knew how to crack his style and famously showed Ali how in a documentary just how Frazier was going to break him down. That prophecy was fulfilled on March of 1971 in the Fight of the Century.

Ali fans naturally scoff and deride the notion of a basketball player being able to beat Ali, but they typically show ignorance in understanding just how gifted Wilt was compared to every other athlete in the world. He would’ve preferred track and field or the Harlem Globetrotters over pro basketball, and yet he set all those still unbroken basketball records because that’s where the money was. Now, seriously, think about it. For sure boxing promoters and trainers hounded him from day one as a pro with the Globetrotters, and eventually a rumor here or there would surface about him in training and of course his two contracts to fight Ali.

As stylistic matchups go, in some notable boxing “exhibitions” against athletes from other sports, Ali looked not only very poor, but vulnerable as well. Ali also looked vulnerable against legit contenders using their own personalized awkward boxing styles.

The Ali/Antonio Inoki fight in Tokyo netted Ali a cool $6 million, but also landed him in a Tokyo hospital on a critical condition after Inoki kicked his leg into a throbbing mess that threatened to send a fatal blood clot to his brain. This a fight where Ali had full access to boxing rules, yet Inoki was limited to only 10% of his arsenal and had to be pulled off  take downs of Ali by the American ref, Gene Lebell, a notoriously famed Judo expert and all around street and Hollywood tough guy.

Then there was the farcical encounter with 400 lb Gorilla Monsoon who quickly popped a vicious body slam on Ali that I’m certain was not supposed to be part of festivities. Ali luckily escaped without injury, but only because the match was immediately stopped.

And then the also ill advised exhibition against Denver defensive lineman, Lyle Alzado, who was likely pumped up on steroids. Ali had nothing to keep Alzado off him and was mauled throughout.

Most fighters are trained in a traditional, upright boxing style that overall is the best style to use in boxing, but boxing has always had a cast of “awkward-savants” who dished out serious punishment to great success. Ali used his own awkward style to great success against traditional fighters, but struggled mightily against other awkward fighters no matter who won. Just think Karl Mildenberger, Buster Mathis, Joe Frazier, Oscar Bonavena, Rudi Lubbers, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Chuck WepnerRon Lyle, Earnie Shavers, and Leon Spinks.

Wilt, with his huge physical advantages, would be the King of Awkward. Wilt had already proven that he could outrun the NFL’s premiere running back of the era, Jim Brown, twice in a row in fact. Wilt turned pro early, an action that was forbidden in his day, but not for the Harlem Globetrotters whom Wilt loved for the rest of his days. He played a 7-1 guard, now think about all that crazy ball handling he got in as a key part of the comedy troop. While no doubt he met many intellectual equals or even greater than his own considerable intelligence, I doubt he ever met his physical equal in his life. If that athlete existed, he’d be in the public record, but nope, just the usual greats of every era, but no Wilts. There are only two other of the most celebrated all around athletes in their day that could match Wilt’s all around ability, yet both would be as equally dwarfed in size and strength as was Ali. The first being the greatest all around athlete ever in this world, Jim Thorpe, and Babe Ruth who still holds Major League Baseball pitching and hitting records, neither of whom lived long enough to meet with Wilt because of age differences. No doubt, they would be mightily impressed.

As to my opinion then and now, well then I was a punk kid pumped for the fight. What’s not to like about such a pairing? I was still raw and unstudied, but instinctively I knew Wilt had a decent chance. I still like the fight today knowing so much more about both Wilt and Ali. I didn’t know who would win when I was young, but now I strongly favor Wilt because of all those physical and mental advantages with Cus D’Amato lined up in his corner focusing on one specific Ali style only. Ali could not study Wilt boxing because there was zero tape, and more importantly, zero sparring partners who could replicate Wilt. Cus claimed that during his childhood Wilt boxed in the amateurs for a short duration, but no record exists that I know of.

Chamberlain loved physical challenges as his varied sport interests are a testament to, but what a shame the public didn’t get to see one of the greatest “what if?” fights in boxing. Cus D’Amato is supposed to have made him an offer to box Ali in 1965, the first of the 3 fights with Ali offered to Wilt. The Philly 76ers talked Chamberlain out of the match with more money, but the idea of the fight never died and gets talked about on boxing forums to this very day 50 years later.

Cus D’Amato trained Wilt Chamberlain vs Angelo Dundee trained Muhammad Ali, who ya got?