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Monday, December 14, 1998 Published at 16:04 GMT


Sport

Ali - The Greatest

Ali pounds away on Al Lewis in Dublin (1972)

Former world champion George Foreman believes Joe Louis is the greatest heavyweight of all time.

BBC News OnLine asked whether you agreed with Foreman's view and the answer was a resounding 'no'.

Muhammad Ali beat Foreman in the famous 'Rumble In The Jungle' and your overwhelming response was that Ali, not Louis, was the most complete heavyweight in history.

Here are some of your responses:

"Ali was clearly the greatest, in that he came through an era when we saw so many other great heavyweights - Foreman, Norton, Frazier.

We must also remember that we actually NEVER saw Ali at his peak, as he had been banned from fighting in the US following his principled stance against the war in Vietnam. Aidan Hughes, Ireland

Ali was the greatest boxer ever. He had a greater pool of tougher opponents than Joe Louis who was boxing at a time when people of his own race (who dominate boxing today) were being denied the opportunity to box or perform any sport at the highest levels. Ifeanyi Duru, Detroit, USA


[ image: A master at the microphone]
A master at the microphone
We should not even be asking who is the greatest - who else can be besides Muhammad Ali? From 1960 to 1980, he literally ruled boxing and sport. He defeated Norton, Frazier, Foreman, Shavers, Liston, the list goes on and on. Ali is the greatest sportsman in the history of sport. He is by far the greatest in boxing. Shuja Syed

There is only one - Muhammed Ali. Hand speed - unmatched; Power - could knock people out and did frequently; Ability to take a punch - proved it against Liston, Frazier, Foreman, etc; Guile - unmatched; Foot speed - unmatched; Ability to surprise - unmatched, opening Foreman fight with straight right lead. All together, enough to match Joe Louis in what would have been a close fight. Neil Smith, Japan

I think, given the facts, Muhammad Ali deserves the place of the greatest boxer in history.

Variety of weapons in his arsenal and their appropriate use, perseverance, his ability of employing psychological techniques before and during the fight, a thorough professional approach in the preparation for the fight like an able General, dealing and overcoming the pressure of media, public, opponents etc. indicate he deserved his place as the "GREATEST EVER". Azhar Waheed, Karachi, Pakistan

In my opinion the best heavyweight of all time is Ali. Although Foreman points out that Joe Louis was a better boxer, to which I probably would agree, it takes more than boxing skill to be a great world champion. It takes fighting tenacity, the best exponent probably Rocky Marciano, and courage exemplified by Ali fighting with a broken jaw. Andrew Thorburn

Muhammad Ali, before his ban in the 1960s, was by far the greatest heavyweight of all time. His speed, skill, ability to take a punch and heart meant an unbeatable combination.

Joe Louis was probably a close second but Ali would have taken his punch and would not have hung around to be caught by his combinations.Mike Tyson in his heyday would have been beaten by both Ali and Louis within nine rounds. Accumulation of punches plus an inability to control the fight would have lead to frustration, mistakes and then finally due to a lack of heart defeat by stoppage. Darrell Blackmore

Joe Louis was a great fighter no doubt about it, but it has to be said that his chin was suspect. He was knocked down 10 times by fighters who on the whole were pretty ordinary. Ali on the other hand had a great chin and fought in a era when the heavyweight division was filled withexcellent fighters such as Frazier,Liston,Norton,Shavers etc. John Metcalfe





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