One thing differentiates Muhammad Ali from other boxers. He was a bully outside the ring and a sportsman in the ring.
Ali’s life outside the ring was big enough to knock his opponent down.
But as soon as Ali stepped into the ring, he would turn everything to Sports.
He might decide to be chanting his name, Ali, Ali, Ali and signalling the crowd to follow suit while his opponent was still fuming.
Ali might spend his early rounds clinching and allowed his opponent to his body. His tactics and showmanship always depended on the style of his opponent.
Despite Ali’s drama in the ring, he never joked with the last two rounds of every of his fights. These rounds are the championship rounds, it belonged to this fearless creature.
Ali had always dominated his last rounds. He knew his opponent would come out fuming and firing. With this he always earned some good points.
Ali’s era extended to the Larry Holmes/Ken Norton’s epic bout. The 15th round of Holmes/ Norton is one the most spectacular rounds in boxing history. The heavyweight pound-for-pound.
Mike Tyson erased all these spectacles with his devastating powers, finishing all his opponents with knockouts until Donovan Ruddock II, which ended with a uninamious decision for Tyson.
The match showed that Tyson could go long rounds. Evenader Hollyfield vs George Foreman was another epic rounds, Hollyfield vs Riddick Bowe 1,2 and 3 were also great fights.
The best of the epics was the Thriller in Manila, Ali vs Joe Frazier. These fights gave what one could call the championship rounds.
Only two of such rounds had happened in this era and they were the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3.
Boxing is drying up, we need more of championship rounds.
Kunle Awosiyan is a Lagos based journalist.