Boxing


Great Fights That Never Happened.....But Could Have

david tua28.03.07 - By James L. Boyle:Throughout the years boxing fans have long debating about what would have happened if great fighters from different eras would have met. Who would have won if Ali and Marciano traded leather or if Louis and Dempsey laced them up? But those fantasy fights were just that, pure fantasy. They could have never happened because these fighters fought in different eras. But over the years there have been many instances where great fighters shared the same spotlight and timeline, but for some reason or another their paths never crossed in the ring. Be in politics, money or just bad timing, the two combatants were just never destined to meet. Here are 10 bouts that never happened that under the right circumstances could have and if they had they would have made for some very interesting fights:

1973 - JOE FRAZIER VS. KEN NORTON

Smokin' Joe and Ken Norton were fairly good friends and made it known that they never really wanted to fight each other. But if they did it would have had to happen after 1973 because this is when Norton burst onto the Boxing scene with his surprise victory over Muhammad Ali.

Frazier of course had just been crushed a couple of months earlier, losing his title to George Foreman. So if the two met it would either be a 10 round or 12 round title eliminator bout. After Frazier lost to George he was never really the same again. He was still a great fighter, he still had the heart, determination, and will, but he lost a little something in Jamaica along with his title to Big George.

Norton on the other hand was entering his prime even though he was slightly older than Joe. However, even though no one knew it at the time Norton's Achilles Heel was that he couldn't handle big punches. So what would have happened if these two squared off in the ring? I think Frazier as always would have kept the pressure on Norton all night, taking shots to land his mighty left hook. Norton, not nearly as mobile as Ali wouldn't be able to elude Frazier so easily. He'd land his shots but not being the power puncher that Foreman was he wouldn't be able to put the same kind of hurt on Frazier.

Ali Couldn't hurt Norton, he wasn't that kind of puncher, but Frazier could kill a man to the body and then come up to the head. Frazier wouldn't be able to take Norton out in 1 or 2 rounds like Foreman and Shavers did, but after 5 or 6 rounds Norton would be in serious trouble. And by around the 8th he would either be knocked out or the ref would have to stop the fight. It would have been a fight of styles, and Norton would have been perfect for Joe.

As a footnote I just want to add that I think Ken Norton was a fine fighter, and a true champion who never got his just due. He had to suffer the indignity of being "awarded" the title without actually winning it, based on his victory over Jimmy Young in 1977. But in actuality he did win it on 9/28/76 by dominating Muhammad Ali in their third bout at Yankee Stadium. It was the worst boxing decision I have ever seen and I haven't seen a worse one yet. The Chavez / Whitaker decision wasn't as bad and neither was the first Holyfield / Lewis decision.

Watch the fight and try to give Ali more than 4 rounds. Many people say that Norton even won the second meeting between the two. Regardless, even if Ali was past his prime, for whatever reason, Norton owned Ali. But politics and corruptness keep him from getting what was rightfully his in 1976, the Heavyweight Championship of the World. "Boxing Monthly" once called it the 5th worst decision in boxing history.

1973 - GEORGE FOREMAN VS. EARNIE SHAVERS

In January of 1973 George Foreman annihilated Joe Frazier, and went on to make 2 successful title defenses before losing to Muhammad Ali. His second defense against Ken Norton at least on paper was a good one. But his first defense against one Joe "King" Roman was a complete waste of time. Earnie Shavers meanwhile was knocking out everyone in sight. He had just knocked out Jimmy Young in 3 rounds and devastated Jimmy Ellis in one. Shaver's record at the time was an incredible 45 - 2 - 44 KO's with 33 of those KO's ending in 3 rounds or less. The man was a killing machine. This would have made for a fantastic if not shortlived war.

Throughout his career Big George has shown pretty good resiliency. The only man to ever really out a real hurt on him was Ron Lyle. Ali knocked him out but that was only after George threw haymakers for 7 rounds and basically fell over from exhaustion in the 8th. Even in his second career in his 40's talented fighters like Holyfield, Morrison, Stewart, Moorer, and Briggs couldn't put him down. Shavers on the other hand had a terrible stamina problem. If you could get past the first few rounds with him you had a chance. He would tire over the long haul and quickly.

If this fight had taken place it would have been a barn burner. George would use his bludgeon like jab to keep the smaller Shaver's at bay while Shaver's would try to get inside to land his bombs. Foreman's trouble was that he threw wide punches and could be countered and if that happened against Shaver's it could be lights out. Either way I think it would have been a great war for about 3 or 4 rounds with George's chin and stamina outlasting Shaver's. Foreman wins by KO in the 5th.

1983 - MARVIN HAGLER VS. DWIGHT MUHAMMAD QAWI

This fight was actually talked about for about 5 minutes shortly after Qawi had lost to Michael Spinks. But there was no way that Hagler was going to mover up to Light Heavy and no way Qawi could move down to Middle. But what if they had met at 168. When Qawi moved up to Cruiserweight he was just never the same fighter anymore. Yes he won another title, but he was no longer the Joe Frazier like full steam ahead locomotive that had chopped down Matthew Saad Muhammad twice and other would be opponents. Through 1982 he really lived up to his nickname, "The Camden Buzzsaw".

Marvin Hagler on the other hand in my opinion was the greatest fighter of his generation. The consumate professional, always in shape, a perfectionist in every way. Seek and destroy. He dominated the Middleweight division with disdain, crushing everyone in his path. If these two had met in the ring it would have been brutal. At 168, Qawi would have been in razor sharp condition. Hagler I'm sure would have easily been able to handle the extra poundage. So who wins? I'd have to say that given his vast experience Hagler wins the fight via 15 round decision. I think Qawi would have been too tough back then for Hagler to knock him out. But seeing these two guys go at it would have been a lot of fun.

1996 - MIKE TYSON VS. DAVID TUA

Mike Tyson was in the middle of his comeback collecting the W.B.C. & W.B.A. boxing titles from Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon in very short order. Once again he looked indestructible. David Tua was still David Tua, not the blob we know him as now. He was mopping up the ring by knocking out John Ruiz in 19 seconds and flattening a then pretty good contender in Darroll Wilson with one devastating left hook at the end of the first round. 1996 would have been the perfect time for this fight. If this fight ever happened the middle of the ring would have been ground zero and the crowd would have been instantly vaporized as soon as the bell rang to start round one.

Tyson is faster to be sure, but I've never seen Tua hurt. Both hit like runaway freight trains. This fight can't possibly go more than a few rounds. If Tyson doesn't get Tua out of there after 3 or 4 rounds does he give up and quit? I hope not. Is Tyson's speed too much for Tua? Is Tua's chin really made out of cement and does his bombs hurt Tyson more than Tyson's bombs hurt him? I really don't know how to call this one. I'm leaning toward Tua just because of Tyson's history of giving up when frustrated and knowing how well Tua can take a punch. But it's really anyone's fight.

2003 - WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO VS. VITALI KLITSCHKO

Brother vs. Brother. I've put this one in here just for fun. Even though this one is actually possible because both fighters are still active I'm sure it'll never happen and I hope it doesn't either. If it did I'm sure it would be nothing more than a glorified sparring session because I don't think either brother would really want to hurt the other. I also had a little difficulty trying to figure out which year to choose for these two to meet because when one was on top of his game the other seemed to be a bit down and vice versa.

But in early 2003 Wladimir was still the W.B.O. Champ and labled as the "next best thing", he hadn't lost to Sanders yet. Vitali was just about to come into his own and fight Lewis to basically a stand still before losing on a cut and then go on to win his own title. So what if these two brothers got mad at each other, defied their mother and decided to "get it on". Wladimir as we all know is the better althlete of the two. He's a better technician in the ring and much more fluid with his punches, however he has a questionable chin. Vitali is the bigger of the two, not by much, but he seems to be tougher, and seems to take a better punch (he's never been on the canvas). 12 rounds for the W.B.O. Heavyweight boxing Championship Of The World.

Now granted, I believe that Wladimir is a much better fighter now with Emanuel Steward in his corner, but with Vitali out of the ring for over 2 years it's just not fair. If these two really went at it given what happened to Wladimir against a hard puncher like Corrie Sanders back in '03 and how well Vitali fought against Lennox Lewis and then in his fights after that I'd say Vitali at some point in the fight catches Wlad and Knocks him out. But that was then. I think Wladimir is the best heavy in the boxing world right now even with his suspect chin. Here's hoping that Vitali can regain his form against Oleg Maskaev this June.

Article posted on 28.03.2007



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