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Muhammad Ali’s Professional Losses: All the Boxers Who Beat the Legend

11 months ago By Sports Desk

Muhammad Ali, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, had an exceptional career marked by numerous victories. However, even the legendary Ali experienced defeats. In this article, we explore the boxers who managed to overcome Ali’s skill and resilience, handing him losses throughout his illustrious professional journey.

Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier was the first fighter to defeat Ali, winning their highly anticipated bout in 1971, famously known as the “Fight of the Century.” The fight took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and showcased the relentless pressure and powerful left hooks of Frazier. Frazier’s strategy was to constantly move forward and attack Ali, nullifying his renowned footwork and jab. Despite Ali’s valiant effort, Frazier’s relentless aggression and determination earned him a unanimous decision victory. This defeat was a major setback for Ali, but it only fueled their rivalry and set the stage for two more iconic encounters.

Ken Norton

Ken Norton handed Ali his second professional loss in 1973. The two fighters met for the first time in San Diego, California, in a match that would have lasting consequences for Ali. Norton’s unorthodox style and his ability to exploit Ali’s weaknesses became evident as the fight progressed. In the second round, Norton landed a powerful left hook that broke Ali’s jaw. Despite fighting through the injury, Ali was unable to regain control of the fight. Norton’s strong punching and defensive skills proved effective, and he secured a split-decision victory over the heavyweight champion. This loss was a significant setback for Ali, both physically and mentally, as it forced him to reevaluate his approach to future fights.

Leon Spinks

In a surprising upset, Leon Spinks defeated Ali in 1978 to claim the heavyweight title. Spinks, an Olympic gold medalist, was a relatively unknown boxer at the time. The fight took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and showcased Spinks’ relentless energy and work rate. While Ali had been in semi-retirement and was not in his prime, he was still expected to win convincingly against the inexperienced Spinks. However, Spinks proved to be a formidable opponent. He consistently outworked Ali, throwing punches in high volumes and applying constant pressure. Spinks’ victory came in the form of a split decision, and he became the only fighter to defeat Ali in a title fight twice. This loss was a major shock to the boxing world, and it demonstrated that even an aging Ali was vulnerable to determined and hungry opponents.

Trevor Berbick

Ali’s final loss came in 1981 against Trevor Berbick. By this time, Ali was well past his prime and had already retired and come back to the ring once before. The fight took place in Nassau, Bahamas, and marked the end of Ali’s professional career. Berbick, a younger and more active fighter, utilized his aggressive style to outpoint Ali and secure a unanimous decision victory. Although this loss did not have the same impact as Ali’s previous defeats, it served as a symbolic end to the career of one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Conclusion

Muhammad Ali experienced a total of five losses throughout his professional career. While Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, and Trevor Berbick were the notable boxers who emerged victorious against Ali, his legacy transcends his defeats. Ali’s unmatched skill, charisma, and impact on the sport solidify his status as one of the all-time greats in the world of boxing. His defeats only serve as reminders of his humanity and the extraordinary challenges he faced throughout his remarkable career. Muhammad Ali’s contributions to the sport and his inspiring persona will forever.

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