Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali vs. Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis!

By Ken Hissner - 02/04/2024 - Comments

Without a doubt, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis are the undisputed champions of the heavyweight division, and in my opinion, they are the two greatest boxers of all time.

Ali had two careers. One before losing his license and coming back three years later, not quite the same boxer. Where he was hard to hit before and not only got hit more but adopted the “rope-a-dope” allowing himself to be hit to the body and head while having his back on the ropes.

Ali was 28-0 and inactive for three years and seven months from March of 1967 to October 1970 when he returned. He sparred with Jeff Merrit to see if he still had it and returned.

After a pair of wins over Jerry Quarry, 37-4-4, and Oscar Bonavena, 46-6-1, both by stoppage, he lost to “Smokin” Joe Frazier, 26-0, in March of 1976, who was then the WBA and WBC champion, being dropped in the final round. The scores were 8-6, 9-6, and 11-4 in rounds. He would go on to defeat Frazier in their next two meetings.

Ali would end up with a 56-5 with 37 stoppages and regaining the title on three occasions.

Louis was 24-0 when he was stopped by Max Schmeling, 48-7-4, in June of 1936. In June of 1937, he won the NBA and NYSAC World title’s, knocking out Jim “The Cinderella Man” Braddock, 50-25-7. He said “I won’t consider myself champion until I beat Schmeling!”

In his fourth title defense, Louis stopped Schmeling in the first round. He would go on to defend his title some twenty-five times. He ended with a 66-3 with 52 stoppages record.

Louis lost close to two years of his career when he entered the Army. In June of 1941, he was behind on two of the three scorecards against Billy Conn when Conn tried for a knockout and got knocked out in the thirteenth round. In June of 1946, they had their rematch when Louis knocked Conn out in eight years.

Some say if Conn outboxed Louis in their first fight than the bigger Ali would have outboxed him. Maybe the Ali before his inactivity, but not the one who returned to the ring after that lay-off.

Ali was only stopped once when he was stopped by Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 35-0, in ten rounds. I saw Ali in camp preparing for the fight with a big belly and obviously out of shape. I asked, “Look at the shape you are in; why are you taking this fight?” He padded his belly while sitting and said, “I like my ice cream!”

Ali lost in his first fight with Ken Norton but won the next two, all by close decisions. After losing to former 1976 Olympic champion Leon Spinks, 6-0-1, he won the rematch. Ali had nineteen defenses compared to the twenty-five Louis had.

Ali by decision or Louis by stoppage? You give your opinion on who would win between the two greatest heavyweight champions of all-time!

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