7, 3, 2021

Round 12: A glorious era

By Mauricio Sulaimán – President of the WBC – Son of José Sulaimán

All of us who are passionate about sports enjoy remembering and entering in discussions with friends about sports’ glory moments, those memorable endings of some game, the great stories that lead to debate between what has been most dramatic ending or the greatest performance or who has been the best ..

We love making lists of the best and the most memorable, we are fascinated by comparing legends from different eras; debate, what would have happened if X faced Y… if Pelé is the best of all time, comparing him with Maradona, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.If Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer ever, what would have been the result if he had faced Mike Tyson? Or if Tom Brady is the best QB of all time? then those from the Roger Staubach , Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana era quickly jump into the conversation.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to get myself into a time capsule. My brother Héctor asked me for a list of fights that I could recommend to watch during these #stayhome days .

After making such list I got trapped into the idea of analyzing some fights as if those were going to happen and didn’t know the result, I immediately went to YouTube, and embarked on a tour of boxing’s glory days at heavyweights. I got fully involved in watching a few of these historic fights without interruption.

It is the first time that I have been able to understand and completely value what I have known for years and always took for granted. The data that I once read and did not totally analyze; the multiple talks I heard to, but did not fully listen. I am so happy I did it, now I have a different view of the greatness of some of the legends off our sport.

I took Ali’s return as a starting point after not boxing for three years following his refusal to go to the Vietnam War.

Putting aside politics, the facts were simple; There is a unified world champion in the heavyweights, the WBC / WBA champ is Joe Frazier and Muhammad needs to regain his championship. The fight was made, the high expectations were built and the quality of this bout is one of the best experiences in history.

J.Frazier (26-0) against M. Ali (31-0). Two undefeated heavyweights at their prime.

The show was held on March 8, 1971, in Madison Square Garden, New York, with a record ringside broadcast in 12 languages. It broke the world audience record,. All celebrities were present, even Frank Sinatra had to shoot as Photgrapher for Life magazine in order to enter the event. Frazier knocked Ali down in round 15, defeating him for the first time, and in so doing he consolidated himself as champion.

Then…J. Frazier (29-0) VS. G. Foreman (37-0). Again two undefeated heavyweights at their prime.

At the Kingston National Stadium in Jamaica, the show was held on January 22, 1973. Foreman knocked out a Frazier in two rounds, flooring him six times! If you just see the result, you lose the magic, but if we analyze … Joe was the undefeated champion. He had defeated Ali, and he was the firm favorite; while George, was the challenger. The combined record: 66 wins , no losses, with 58 knockouts!

George Foreman became the champion by tearing Frazier apart, and continued to knock out his rivals and was considered invincible.

The following year he knocked out Ken Norton, who in turn had beaten Ali. George accomplished this in just two rounds, and then Rumble in the Jungle was announced.

Muhammad, meanwhile, After losing to Frazier remains active with 12 fights in three years winning and defending the NABF championship, a subsidiary of the WBC.

G. Foreman (40-0) vs. M. Ali (42-2). Undefetaed champion against a highly regarded Ali
It happened on October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire, now known as The Congo. The WBC World Heavyweight Championship was contested in the heart of Africa: The Rumble in the Jungle.

Foreman, champion who demolished Frazier and Norton with second rd knockout , both who had defeated Ali. Seven years younger and overwhelming favorite in the eyes of the experts . The mistakenly underdog, Muhammad Ali arrived in Zaire and went out to the strees, reached the villages and got close to the people; Foreman retreated in his hotel.

Ali won over the local public and that was brilliantly charismatic. He used subtle and sometimes blunt force psychological strategy through minty fresh tactics, and even he hung a bloody chicken leg on the door of his rival’s room.

He also adapted an ingenious yet risky fight plan: to tire and frustrate George. Ali hit him and with his immense strength leaned in on George. He pushed and pulled him, staying put on the ropes, limiting George`s punching range, expertly shielding himself from Bludgeoning George, respoding by head hunting with hard laser accurate slamming jabs and crunching right hands. Ali spun off the ropes to knock out a bewildered, almost exhausted, comprehensively outboxed and outwitted , yet always valiant George in that legendary eighth round. Ali regained the world championship that politics stole from him, and it was there that the world crowned him as the greatest of all time.

Did you know…?
Boxing is defined by mastery of styles. Frazier beat Ali, but Foreman defeat Frazier. And Muhammad defeated George. Middleweight Marvin Hagler defeated Roberto Duran, yet the latter once defeated Leonard. Sugar Ray Leonard overwhelmed Tommy Hearns, who in turn demolished Hands of stone; while again Hagler took on Hearns and Sugar Ray defeated Hagler. Styles, strategy, technique and intelligence.
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Round 12: Una era gloriosa

Por Mauricio Sulaimán – Presidente del WBC – Hijo de José Sulaimán
Todos quienes somos apasionados del deporte gustamos de recordar las hazañas; esos finales épicos de algún partido, las grandes historias que nos llevan a debatir entre lo que ha sido lo mejor en cada disciplina.
Nos encanta hacer listas de lo mejor, lo más memorable, nos fascina comparar a las figuras de distintas épocas; debatir, ¿qué hubiera pasado si equis personaje hubiera enfrentado a…? Y si Pelé es el mejor de todos los tiempos, y confrontarlo con Diego Armando Maradona, Lionel Messi y Cristiano Ronaldo.
Si Muhammad Ali es la más grande leyenda del boxeo, y ¿qué hubiera sucedido si se habría enfrentado a Mike Tyson? ¿O si Tom Brady es el mejor QB de todos los tiempos? Y ahí salen al ataque los de la era de Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw y Joe Montana.

El viernes pasado tuve la oportunidad de meterme en una cápsula del tiempo. Mi hermano Héctor me llamó para pedirme una lista de peleas que le pudiera recomendar a un amigo.
Después de elaborar dicha relación, inmediatamente fui a YouTube, y di un recorrido por la época de gloria de boxeo en los pesos completos. Me involucré de lleno a ver unas cuantas funciones sin interrupciones. Es la primera vez que logro comprender y valorar lo que por años supe y siempre di por hecho. Los datos que alguna vez leí y no analicé; las múltiples pláticas que oí, pero no escuché.
Tomé como punto de partida el regreso de Ali después de no boxear por tres años tras rehusarse a ir a la Guerra de Vietnam.
Al hacer a un lado todo lo político, los hechos eran sencillos; existía un campeón mundial unificado en los pesos completos, el monarca WBC/WBA era Joe Frazier, y Muhammad necesitaba recuperar su campeonato. Se logró realizar la pelea, la cual, es considerada una de la mejores de la historia.

J.Frazier (26-0) vs. M. Ali (31-0).
La función se llevó a cabo el 8 de marzo de 1971, en el Madison Square Garden, de NY, con una transmisión desde ringside en 12 idiomas. Rompió récord de audiencia mundial, y Frazier tumbó a Ali en el round 15; lo derrotó por primera vez, consolidándose como campeón.

J. Frazier (29-0) VS. G. Foreman (37-0).
En el Estadio Nacional Kingston, de Jamaica, se llevó a cabo la función, el 22 de enero de 1973. Foreman noqueó a Frazier en dos rounds, y ¡lo derribó en seis ocasiones! Si uno se limita a ver el resultado, se pierde la magia, pero si analizamos… Joe era el monarca invicto, derrotó a Ali, y era el favorito; mientras que George, el retador. ¡El récord combinado: 66 ganadas por cero perdidas, con 58 nocauts!
Foreman se convirtió en el campeón despedazando a Frazier, y siguió noqueando a sus rivales para ser considerado un invencible.
Al año siguiente dejó fuera de combate en dos rounds a Ken Norton, quien a su vez había vencido a Ali, y es entonces que se anunció Rumble in the Jungle.
Muhammad, por su lado, al perder con Frazier se mantuvo activo con 12 peleas en tres años ganando y defendiendo el campeonato de la NABF, filial del WBC.

G. Foreman (40-0) vs. M. Ali (42-2).
Ocurrió el 30 de octubre de 1974 en Kinshasa, El Congo. Se disputó el campeonato mundial WBC de los pesos completos en el corazón de África: The Rumble in the Jungle.
Foreman, campeón que demolió en dos rounds a Frazier y Norton, quienes habían vencido a Ali. Siete años más joven y ampliamente favorito ante todos. Muhammad llegó a Zaire y salió al pueblo; Foreman se recluyó en su hotel.
Ali se ganó al público local y eso fue determinante; recurrió a tácticas de intimidación psicológicas, y hasta le colgó una pata de gallina con sangre en la puerta del cuarto de su rival.
Además llevaba un plan de pelea: cansar y frustrar a George. Lo golpeó y abrazó; lo empujó y jaló, se mantuvo en las cuerdas recibiendo golpes de Foreman, pero dio respuesta con jabs sólidos y derechazos. Lo noqueó en el octavo round. Ali recuperó el campeonato mundial que la política le quitó, y fue ahí que el mundo lo coronó como el más grande de todos los tiempos.
¿Sabías que…?
El boxeo se define por el dominio de los estilos. Frazier venció a Ali, pero Foreman hizo lo propio con el primero. Y Muhammad derrotó a George, o en pesos medios, Marvin Hagler a Durán, éste último a Leonard. Sugar Ray Leonard a Hearns, quien a su vez pasó sobre Manos de Piedra; mientras que nuevamente Hagler sobre Hearns y Sugar Ray a Hagler. Estilos, estrategia, técnica e inteligencia.
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