It’s more than likely THE ultimate Dream Fight; the mythical match-up that really gets fans talking – and debating. Muhammad Ali, in his prime, against Mike Tyson, at his physical fighting peak: who wins?
The Daily Star has just unearthed a short Tyson interview where the youngest heavyweight ruler in history talks about what would have happened had he met “The Greatest.” “Everything that we have, he supersedes us in, even our arrogance and our ego,” the one time Baddest Man on The Planet said. “He’s fast but he really doesn’t have any great quality that you could really see besides his agility. He was not afraid to let punches fly. But other than that, he never threw a body punch in his life. He doesn’t have a good defence, his speed was his defence. Ali was a f*****g animal. He looks more like a model than a fighter but what he is, he’s like a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a pretty face. He’ll take you into deep waters and drown you, he’s very special. The best in the world. Nobody beats him.” Some interesting stuff from Tyson, a well-known student of the art and the history of the sport he himself lit up in one colossal way in the 1980s. The body punching aspect of Ali’s game that Tyson brought up, or the lack of it, is something that has always intrigued. Why was it that Ali never looked to slow any opponent down by targeting the midsection? Would Tyson have tried to go to Ali’s body in their Dream Fight?
Certainly, this mouth-watering fight would have seen the two fastest big men in history (with the possible exception of Floyd Patterson, in terms of hand speed) going at it. Tyson, in utmost modesty, says of Ali how “nobody beats him,” does this include Tyson himself?
Ali, earlier on in his career, was on occasion vulnerable, to a left hook especially (see his fights with Henry Cooper and Sonny Banks) – this shot also giving a post-exile Ali, who had lost some of his dazzling speed, trouble (see his first fight with Joe Frazier) – and Tyson had a whistling and lethal left hook. On the other hand, Ali had a great chin (more so proven in the “second coming” days) and awesome recuperative powers; and even a peak Tyson faded a touch and grew frustrated if he didn’t get the quick stoppage (see his fights with James Tillis and Tony Tucker). As far as who wins this Dream Fight, it’s close but the 1967 version of Ali wins a decision over the 1988 version of Tyson.