The Fight of the Century Explained - Ali vs Frazier Breakdown

  • Published on:  5/27/2018
  • Books on Power & Footwork: It’s hard to think of two boxers more different than Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, both in the way that they fought, and the way that they lived. But these two champions would come to define each others place in history, each man bringing out the best in the other inside the ring, and the worst outside of it.

    They would face off for the first time in 1971, in what came to be known as, The fight of the century.

    When the match was scheduled, it was anyone’s guess how the fight would go.

    Ali used complex footwork to circle his opponents on the outside, catching them with whipping jabs before dashing in to throw lightning fast combinations.

    In contrast, Frazier would drive directly at his opponents. Rather than use traditional footwork to cut off the ring, Frazier would just charge straight in, counting on his cross guard and phenomenal head movement to keep him safe.

    Both Frazier and Ali had some of the best defense of all time, but once again, were polar opposites in the way they went about it.

    Frazier used his erratic head movement to make opponents miss, ducking in under their punches to catch them with his powerful gazelle hook.

    In contrast, Ali would lean far back, making his opponents chase him and overreach so that he could land a perfectly placed counter punch.

    Frazier took his power from the ground, exploding off of his deep crouch. Ali got his power from his opponents, tricking them into stepping into his punches for him.

    Both men were similar in that they wore their opponents down over time, Frazier with constant wrestling and body shots, Ali with lightning fast jabs that cut and swelled up his opponents eyes, and took the air out of their lungs.

    As the two both prepared for their upcoming battle, both were undefeated.

    But this match was more than just a clash of styles. Several elements combined to make this fight transcend boxing in the eyes of the public.

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