By Chris Williams: For those who remember the great Muhammad Ali’s shocking 8th round stoppage of the then unbeaten George Foreman on October 30th in 1974, they saw a great fight from Ali in which he used a now famous rope a dope, along with a lot of pawing and clinching to tire out and eventually stop a young 26 year-old Foreman in the hot outside ring in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo. What people don’t remember, however, is that Foreman pursued Ali afterwards trying to get a rematch with him and having no luck whatsoever in getting Ali back in the ring.
Instead of facing Foreman once again, Ali moved on to a long series of easy fights against the likes of Chuck Wepner, Joe Bugner, Jean-Pierre Coopman, Richard Dunne, all without giving Foreman another rematch. Foreman would improve in many aspects of his game, becoming even more dangerous of a puncher and beating Joe Frazier for a second time as well as Scott LeDoux and Ron Lyle before retiring in 1977 after losing to Jimmy Young in the heat of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Granted, Ali did have some tough fights against Frazier, Ron Lyle and Ken Norton during those years, but it seemed wrong that Foreman, arguably the most dangerous fighter during that era, wasn’t ever given a rematch. Foreman destroyed all three of those fighters, proving that he was the superior fighter of the bunch yet he wasn’t ever given another shot at Ali. Many people say that Ali began to age quickly after his victory over Foreman in 1974, slipping as a fighter and perhaps not physically capable of defeating him for a second time.
Indeed, the young Foreman did appear to be getting stronger as a fighter after his loss to Ali, and would have been big problems for an aging Ali if Foreman had been given another shot at him. Foreman swept through his opponents after Ali, beating them with ease until facing Young. Should Foreman have been given another shot at Ali?
It seems to be that Foreman would have been the best possible choice for Ali to have fought, especially given that Ali was interested in getting big paydays at the time. Even though Foreman had been previously beaten by Ali, he would have still brought in a huge crowd if there had ever been a rematch between these two fighters.
But, at the end of the day, Foreman might have been too much risk for the money, and Ali seemed to opt for the easer path against weaker fighters than him. In a second hypothetical match up, one could expect that Foreman would have simply had too much power for Ali in a second fight and would have worn him down and stopped him.
Ali, as I mentioned, began to look aged shortly after his fight with Foreman and would have been faced with a formidable task in trying to beat him again. Could his body have carried him to a victory a second time? I doubt it, because Foreman had learned from his mistake and wouldn’t be trying to knock Ali out like he did in the first fight.