Ali Challenges Klitschko

By George Thomas Clark on May 1, 2014
Ali Challenges Klitschko
Twice I played with great white hope Jerry Quarry, who like Cooper was just too small.

I’m not disrespecting anyone. I understood Frazier, Norton, and Foreman were very dangerous. And I know the same about Klitschko…

I was the greatest and will be again. Don’t deny I can do it. I’m drinking Klitschko Kool-Aid secretly provided by Wladimir’s diabolical team of scientists who will only let me partake until I’m at my former peak, and no higher. That would be in 1967 when I was the prettiest and fastest heavyweight who ever lived, and now I’m almost there again.

I’ve got to do something. Some people are trying to destroy my legacy. They’re saying I primarily fought little guys and make a big deal that at age twenty-one I had a close fight with talented but smaller Doug Jones. Listen, every guy who ever fought had some tough nights. Klitschko at twenty-two was stopped by Ross Puritty, a bum who had thirteen loses. You think Ross Puritty would’ve done that to me? When I was the same age I beat Sonny Liston, made him quit, and became heavyweight champion of the world. Next to me Sonny was the baddest man on earth and would’ve sent China-chin Klitschko to dreamland.

So what’s with these white fans disrespecting me and claiming Wladimir Klitschko is the greatest in history? I still think many of them are mad at me for busting up so many white fighters. That’s not being racial. That’s a fact. I had a hundred wars but was never really pressed by any white. Who? People shout that Henry Cooper knocked me down our first fight. The guy had a good left hook but I got right up and busted him up the next round and split him open our next fight. 

That’s the problem, isn’t it, along with saying I wouldn’t go to Vietnam to kill people who’d never called me nigger? Twice I played with great white hope Jerry Quarry, who like Cooper was just too small, and finished him with ease. A big white hope, Joe Bugner, went the distance with me two times but he couldn’t hit and I dominated him. You may not like it, but only the brothers challenged me. Joe Frazier even beat me once, though I reversed that twice, once by technical knockout. Ken Norton also beat me once, and Earnie Shavers right-handed me onto queer street before I pounded him in the fifteenth and won the decision. Look me in the eye and say Wladimir Klitschko would still be standing after eating a bunch of right hands from Shavers. And tell me Klitschko would’ve knocked out big George Foreman. 

Listen, I’m not disrespecting anyone. I understood Frazier, Norton, and Foreman were very dangerous. And I know the same about Wladimir Klitschko. He’s one of the best ever and I’m happy a white man’s gotten so good. That’s why I’m training hard. I want to be ready. I just hope they don’t give him more Klitschko Kool-Aid than I get.

George Thomas Clark is the author of Uppercuts, a collection of boxing stories available as an eBook at and other Digital Stores. His short story collection, The Bold Investor, is also available. See the author’s website at

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  1. Alex 09:45am, 05/03/2014

    Sonny Liston , Holmes and Lewis by far better Jabs than Klitschko
    and what are the other thinks that Klitschko can good? right , nothing

    Listons Jab only wouldknock that Glass Jaw out of the Ring

    Klitschko would lose against 15 Heavyweight on my list

    He is Top 20 or 25 Heavyweight in my Book , nothing more

  2. SugarR.R 09:13am, 05/03/2014

    It was a fun read. When you mention boxing Ali’s name will pop up its synonymous with G.O.A.T but we cant take anything away from either fighter. It was meant to be enjoyed…..and face it we all know its something Ali would have said hahaha

  3. didier 01:15am, 05/02/2014

    Worthless and stupid article

  4. Eric 03:53pm, 05/01/2014

    George… Have to concede that the result of the Ali-Cooper fight might not have changed. I always thought that Ali had more than just 6 extra seconds between rounds, but he did go down in a heap, and clearly he was hurt bad. I also had no idea that smelling salts were not allowed to be used in the corners over in Britian at that time, so clearly, Dundee violated that rule, and I have no idea why Ali wasn’t disqualified. Ali did have one of the best chins of all-time, that was a helluva punch by Cooper. Reading up a little more in this fight, I also had no idea that Cooper was actually even lighter than I thought, Cooper convessed to putting lead soles in his boxing shoes and holding a 3-4lb hand weight at the weigh in, so Cooper was probably just a few pounds above the light heavyweight limit for this fight, probably about 180 or so pounds. Good fighter, but Cooper, like Quarry, just had thin skin.

  5. GlennR 02:42pm, 05/01/2014

    Hi George

    Yep, your comment… Haye, Povetkiin, and Wach go the distance but Ali gets destroyed? .... says it all

    I think people are taking the size thing to be too big a part of the equation.

    I think the thing is that people feel to acknowledge the K Brothers they have to at the expense of past greats. They dont
    Without a doubt they are both ATG’s but that takes nothing away from Ali and friends

    Who wins? Who cares?

  6. George Thomas Clark 02:25pm, 05/01/2014

    Eric - I’ve just watched the Ali-Cooper 1 fight video provided here, and I still see what I’ve always seen: the young Cassius got up, recovered during rounds, and came out blazing in the fifth and ended the fight.  It’s too bad Cooper was cut.  He was fighting well.  And, from Cooper’s point of view, it’s unfortunate that the knockout came at the end of the fourth round instead of much earlier.  Clay would’ve survived, though, as he did the following year when his eyes were burning and he danced away from Liston until ready to fire on him again.

  7. George Thomas Clark 01:38pm, 05/01/2014

    Glenn and others - last week I posed these questions below another Klitschko article: “In regard to the assertion that K would put Ali on his ass.  Really?  David Haye and Alexander Povetkin and Marius Wach have all gone the distance with K since 2011.  But the great Ali couldn’t have?”

    Haye, Povetkiin, and Wach go the distance but Ali gets destroyed? 

  8. glen 01:29pm, 05/01/2014

    Ali at peak would still get demolished by any of the Klitschko brothers.

  9. George Thomas Clark 01:24pm, 05/01/2014

    I saw Cooney and Norton on live TV - must’ve been HBO or something similar - and Morrison and Foreman live on pay per view. 

    Cooney was a slugger and I was a fan.  Maybe he would’ve had Norton’s number at any stage but Norton at that point was definitely at the end of the line.  He’d always been vulnerable to sluggers, though. 

    Morrison fought a great defensive fight, often retreating several sleeps, and his victory was historically significant.  But few would characterize his well earned decision as “kicking Big George’s ass.”  Morrison that night was more Jimmy Young than Joe Frazier.

  10. George Thomas Clark 12:56pm, 05/01/2014

    Jerry Quarry from Boxers’ Heaven

    Irish Frankie Crawford - I saw Quarry fight many times on TV, and live once on the undercard of Ali-Norton II, and am well aware of his excellence as a boxer, in particular the victories you allude to: stopping an undefeated Mac Foster, decisioning an undefeated Ron Lyle, and stopping Earnie Shavers in the first round.  Only a limited number of guys could’ve pulled off that hat trick.  My article on this website, linked above, deals with many ups and downs in Jerry’s life.

    Regarding All Time Best lists - mine has been revised, as all lists should be, and it now offers 13 fighters, including both Klitschkos and Holyfield, who were absent.  And, yes, Ken Norton is still on my list.  Marciano may have been the strongest 187-pound fighter in history, but I don’t have him on my list but you, and everyone else, and can write your lists and post them.  I’ve previously encouraged you to write something, Frankie - you love words and boxing - and now would be an ideal time to see your list of top 10 or 20 heavies.  I’m sure readers of this site would also enjoy that. 

    Eric, a friend just sent me an email making the same points about the Klits size.  Who knows?  They’re great but I don’t see Wlad as being as resourceful as Ali in a war, the kind of ring skirmish - like Ali v. Frazier 1 and 111 - that destroys men, and that should be avoided anyway.  Ali was literally impossible to stop, until the very end of his career.  He would take Wlad places he’s never been.  Of course, the reverse is also true.  That’s why I’m soon going to write a blow by blow of the best fight, by far, that never happened.

  11. Eric 12:19pm, 05/01/2014

    Can you imagine Wlad taking 8 rounds to put away a 180lb Bob Foster? Can you imagine one-dimensional Earnie Shavers going the distance with Wlad? Could Ken Norton have whipped Wlad in 2 out 3 fights (arguably all three fights) and have all the fights go the distance? Let’s not forget that the Eastern Bloc fighters weren’t turning pro back in Ali’s day either, and we see how these fighters are making a huge mark in the pro ranks in the heavier weight classes.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:03am, 05/01/2014

    Moreover Wladimir has impeccable taste as witnessed by his girl friend that chunky lil’ bunny Hayden Panettiere

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:44am, 05/01/2014

    Before I forget….Memo to Oleksandr Usyk: Forget the knee sox and stop it with the Happy Feet….Goddammit!

  14. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:37am, 05/01/2014

    Eric-I couldn’t have said it better myself….in fact I know that I couldn’t have….let the fun begin….as Gandalf the Grey declares: “Take up arms! Fight! Fight!

  15. Eric 09:17am, 05/01/2014

    Ken Norton actually beat Ali three times IMO. And Cooper and Quarry were indeed small heavyweights even for the Ali era, so size does factor into the equation. But the “small” Cooper had Ali in severe trouble, and there are many that think if Dundee hadn’t been able to bide Ali more time to recover in his corner, Ali stood a good chance at being stopped in the next round.  Personally, I think Ali, Louis, Marciano, Dempsey, Frazier, etc., were all better fighters than Wlad, but they’re not better heavyweights. As skillful as a 186lb Gene Tunney was, I seriously doubt he could have whipped a 220lb George Foreman. Wlad has enough talent and skill along with his huge size advantage to beat everyone of those “heavyweights,” including Ali. While Liston was only 6’1” and about 215lbs, he has the reach of a much larger man, and is probably one of the strongest fighters ever, regardless of his modest size. I would give Liston and Foreman a better shot at beating Wlad than Ali or Larry Holmes. Ali took advantage of his large frame and long reach his whole career. Most of his victories were over men who would be too small to fight at heavyweight in 2014. Bugner could have been champion back in the day, but it was lack of desire, and not Bugner’s lack of punching power that did him in,  it was said that Bugner never really liked boxing that much. Remember back when Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Holmes ruled the roost, and so many “experts” said that 185-190lb fighters like Tunney, Dempsey, and Marciano would have been much too small to compete against 215-220lb heavyweights. All of a sudden size is irrelevant when evaluating the outcomes of all-time heavwyeight matchups. Athletes continually get bigger, stronger and faster with each generation. Nostalgia often clouds logic, we like to think that everything was better “back then,” truth of the matter, the Klits and Lennox Lewis would probably beat nearly all of the past greats, if not all of them. Hell, Mike Tyson would’ve beaten most of them.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:18am, 05/01/2014

    George Thomas Clark-This is your best work since your all black ATG Heavyweight list that excluded Marciano and the Klitschko’s and had Ken Norton on the list as I recall….keep it up! Which reminds me….Jerry Quarry, who in his prime, beat the Holy Hell out of all the black fighters of his era except Ali and Frazier, hated that “Great White Hope” bullshit as did Gerry Cooney, who almost killed Ken Norton and Tommy Morrison (whose Mom was Native American by the way) who kicked Big George’s ass.

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