My name is Marcus Smith và I own SurveyMagnet.com. On April 23, 2010 we ran a poll/article entitled "Who would win in their prime? Ali or Tyson."

When I opened Microsoft Word to lớn write this article, Tyson was winning by the length of his trademark gold tooth. The tally stood at 25 votes for Iron Mike, 24 votes for Muhammad Ali, two voters predicted a draw, & one voter thought the fight would over due khổng lồ ear biting ;-).

Few sporting debates can incite a riot lượt thích Ali vs. Tyson.

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In most major sports (football, basketball, soccer, etc) loyalty is a location-based commodity. New york Yankees fans despise Red Sox fans. Green bay Packers fans detest Minnesota Vikings fans. Due lớn Lebrongate, Cleveland Cavaliers fans now detest the Miami Heat.

In boxing, loyalty is an age-based commodity. 

The shelf life of a person who takes uppercuts lớn the chin for a living is understandably short. In addition khổng lồ that, at any given time there are typically no more than five boxers with enough talent, fanfare, và personality to lớn cultivate a ravenous tín đồ base.

Age related debates are fueled by emotion và facts are rarely on the menu. Combine that with the incredibly short supply of boxers khổng lồ idolize & you have all the ingredients of a ready-made civil war.

I’m a veteran of Ali vs. Tyson debates. I lượt thích boxing and I love arguing so its heaven for me. Trust me when I say it normally takes about 30 full seconds for the entire discussion khổng lồ dissolve into drivel. 

Team Ali is usually comprised of older gentlemen. They dig in và say Ali was entirely too fast for a lumbering half whit like Mike Tyson. 

Team Tyson is normally composed of younger gentlemen. They dig in và defend Mike Tyson’s herculean punching power và intimidating persona. Team Tyson always, và I mean always, predicts a quick knockout from Kid Dynamite.

If you know anything about boxing then you know both arguments are unfounded. Let"s quickly clear them both up.

 Muhammad Ali was just too fast – Muhammad Ali fans have a love affair with his speed. Ali was very fast. The legend of his speed was magnified by the fact that most heavyweights of Tyson’s time were slow as molasses. He relied on his quickness & agility lớn avoid punches. Which means his defense was the boxing equivalent of Russian roulette. It was this trò chơi that led his face to be the pounding pad for thousands of well-placed punches. For all of his quickness & speed, Joe Frazier beat Ali within an inch of his life in their first encounter.  Mike Tyson would quickly knock Ali out – Mike Tyson fans have a love affair with Tyson’s power và intimidating persona. Mike Tyson made grown men quiver and scream. Mike Tyson’s intimidating ring entrance & ice-cold stare broke many opponents down. None of those men were Muhammad Ali. Ali withstood the thunderous hooks and uppercuts of George Foreman, Archie Moore, Joe Frazier, và Ken Norton without being knocked out. Sonny Liston was arguably a more intimidating boxer than Mike Tyson because of his mafia connections. Muhammad Ali made a mockery of him & embarrassed him twice. 

If you’re going lớn have a discussion, especially a fantasy discussion, in which you compare boxers then you need khổng lồ look at no less than 9 things.

They are:

 Style – How does he box?  Punching Power – Is he swatting flies or cracking jaws?  Speed – Can you see his punches coming or bởi they sneak up on you?  Chin - Can the boxer take a pounding & stand his ground?  Defense – Is he a human punching bag or is he hard to hit?  Heart – Does he have the desire to peel his sweaty carcass off the canvas and return lớn battle?  Psychology – Can he get inside his opponent"s head and nullify his training?  Key Losses – Who did the boxer thua kém to and why?   Stamina/Endurance – Is he grabbing his knees in the eighth round?

Anything short of this involves too much speculation and emotion. Lượt thích I said before, the conversation eventually breaks down into drivel.

Point 1 – Style

It is well known that styles make fights. A world-class puncher can frustrate and defeat the most powerful beast around. A patient fighter can pound a great defender’s arms until they drop, creating the opening that ends the fight. This makes boxing great.

Muhammad Ali created his own style and violated every rule of boxing along the way. His hands dangled loosely by his side. Instead of using his arms to lớn block he leaned back to lớn avoid punches. He threw a variety of looping punches from ridiculous angles. He was a notorious headhunter with little concern for body toàn thân shots.

Ali’s natural gifts afforded him the luxury of spitting in the face of boxing’s established rules. 

In the book Ali in Action: The Man, the Moves, and the Mouth, Ali is described as a heavyweight with the hand speed & reflexes of a welterweight (page 11). He stayed on his toes, gracefully danced around the ring & exclusively targeted his opponent’s head with deadly four-punch combinations. Ali would wear an opponent down & go in for the kill when his opponent couldn’t defend himself.

His style was frustrating for another reason. Ali had the reach khổng lồ land authoritative shots from a distance. Ali is legendary for keeping his opponents at a safe distance while simultaneously landing nguồn punches. Everything he did in the ring served khổng lồ create and maintain the operating space he desired.

Imagine yourself in the ring with Ali. You are fighting a person who is taller và faster than you. When you approach, he gets on his tiptoes, takes two steps back, then lands three nguồn shots to lớn your face during his retreat

You stand there bewildered. Surely something is afoot! Dazed và confused you decide lớn cover your face & attack his body. Your opponent floats to lớn the right and delivers a crushing uppercut to lớn your chin. Your natural defense systems kick in và you unleash a flurry of punches that have no hope of connecting. 

While you contemplate your next move he decides khổng lồ hit you with five lightning quick power shots to the face. You go down with no hope of getting up. Take a bow (if you can), you have just experienced đôi mươi seconds of boxing Muhammad Ali.

Mike Tyson was a different animal altogether. 

Tyson moved straight ahead with evil intent. Mike Tyson used the peek-a-boo guard khổng lồ protect his face and body. When he dropped his guard, he was doing so to lớn unleash weapons of mass destruction.

As a result, the opportunity to hit Tyson was a double-edged sword. 

If you attacked Tyson, you were going khổng lồ get hit và it wasn’t going to lớn tickle! At his most effective Mike Tyson was a combination puncher who unleashed violent toàn thân and head quartets that would shorten anybody’s night. Tyson has often said his goal was to lớn punch through his opponent’s head. Sound’s delightful doesn’t it?

Fighting Mike Tyson was just as bad (if not worse) than fighting Muhammad Ali. 

Imagine yourself standing toe khổng lồ toe with this monster. You throw two punches at his peek-a-boo guard. The impact is laughable. As your second punch comes back, you see a flash of dark flesh moving. 

You’re not sure what happened but you know it hurts. Both sides of your stomach recoil in pain. As you bend over you catch two left hooks khổng lồ your right cheek. Your mouthpiece drops out, you thua kém your equilibrium & kiss the canvas. Pick you chin up, you’ve just experienced đôi mươi seconds of boxing Mike Tyson.

Advantage - Ali

Mike Tyson’s style is definitely more intimidating than Muhammad Ali’s. Tyson could stop a fight in a hurry. Ali gets the nod from boxing history on this one though. 

Boxing has had its fair nói qua of power nguồn punchers, but the greatest in the thể thao have always had the ability lớn deliver punishment and disorient opponents for an extended period of time. Mike Tyson sorely lacked this ability.

Point 2 – Power

Ali was an effective puncher. He had 37 knockouts in his career. Only 12 of those are what most folks consider a true knockout. 

He had 25 TKOs in which he outclassed his opponent và the referee stopped the fight. 

36 of Ali’s wins came in the seventh round or later. In fact, he won more rounds by going the distance than any other way. He won 18 fights in the final round (11 in round 15 & 7 in round 12). 

Tyson’s goal was to kill you early. Every blow that came from Tyson was explosive. A staggering 41 percent of Mike Tyson’s fights ended in the first round. His next highest total was 12 percent in the second round.

Mike Tyson’s first championship victory most adequately displayed this titan’s power. 

In a truly humorous scene, Mike Tyson chased Trevor Berbick around the ring landing nguồn shot after power nguồn shot. The last punch was a precise left hook. That blow led khổng lồ one of the most humorous knockouts in boxing history. Trevor Berbick lost his composure & crumbled lớn the ground. Berbick stood up, tripped over his own feet và fell down. 

For his last trick Berbick stood up and slumped into the loving arms of Mills Lane. Larry, Moe and Curly from the Three Stooges couldn’t have done it better. Everyone laughed…everyone except Trevor Berbick. 

Advantage - Tyson

Tyson’s power & fury was unparalleled. Mike Tyson registered 23 TKOs and 21 KOs. He ended 41 percent of his fights within three minutes. That’s power!

Point 3 – Speed

Speed in boxing is measured two ways: hand speed và foot speed.

Hand tốc độ measures how quickly a person can get off a punch. Foot tốc độ measures how quickly a person moves around the ring.

Ali is the clear winner when it comes to lớn foot speed. He had speed that a man of his form size wouldn’t normally possess. Ali had quick hands as well, but his hand speed was nowhere near as lethal as his foot speed.

For years Mike Tyson’s hand speed has been overlooked. He packed such lethal punches that few people noticed his speed. In his documentary, Mike Tyson states that he studied quick exciting boxers and he modeled his style after them. 

Watch a few clips of Tyson throwing punches và you’ll see what I mean. Tyson would whip out five or six hooks and uppercuts in the blink of an eye. It was extremely rare to see a boxer beat Mike Tyson khổng lồ the punch. 

Mike Tyson was not the fastest when it came khổng lồ foot speed, but he used what he had khổng lồ stalk opponents and punish them.

Advantage - Tyson

Mike Tyson faster than Ali?!!??? I can hear the moaning now. 

That’s right I said it. Tyson was faster in the ring for all practical purposes. Muhammad Ali relied on his foot tốc độ as his main defense. That foot tốc độ failed him SEVERAL times.

Ali took SEVERE punishment from Max Schmeling, Oscar Bonavena, Joe Frazier & Ken Norton. Anyone who applied a decent amount of pressure to Ali could nullify his quick feet.

Tyson fought from a traditional stance so he didn’t waste nearly as much motion as Ali. When he avoided a punch he did so with a lightning quick snap of the head. When Ali avoided a punch it often involved a lean, a foot shuffle & a trip khổng lồ the corner store.

Tyson"s persistent pressure & precision punching nullify Ali’s foot speed. 

Point 4 – Chin

Mike Tyson’s armor came with a major chink. His chin was relatively nonexistent. It was never really tested, but it failed on those rare occasions that he needed it. 

His chin was put khổng lồ the chạy thử in bouts with Lennox Lewis (Tyson was KO’d), Evander Holyfield (Tyson lost on a TKO in which he admits lớn blacking out) và Buster Douglas (Tyson’s most infamous KO loss).

Ali’s chin is legendary.

Ali’s face was used as a punching bag several times. Many people consider George Foreman the hardest hitting man in boxing…EVER. Ali invited punishment against George Foreman in his prime! He took a tremendous beating in his only loss to Frazier và didn’t fall until Frazier landed a picture perfect leaping hook in the 15th round.

Advantage - Ali

Muhammad Ali’s chin is legendary. The only KO of any kind on his record was against Larry Holmes when Ali was 38 years old. Mike Tyson was knocked out five times. There really is no comparison in this category.

Point 5 – Defense

Ali’s theatrics, record and entertaining style are romanticized lớn the point that they hid a dramatic flaw in his game. His defense was awful. 

His arms were never in a defensive position and he relied solely on his instincts for defense. Ali"s propensity lớn headhunt and his refusal khổng lồ defend his toàn thân gave opponents plenty of real estate for contact. 

Ali’s lackadaisical stance và defense left him open for a Tyson favorite, the left hook (which he absorbed routinely in his career). As a result his chin and heart were tested several times when a good defense would have prevented this.

Mike Tyson didn’t have the best defense. However, he wasn’t mở cửa for business the entire fight lượt thích Muhammad Ali. Tyson (five KO losses) was knocked out more times than Ali (one KO loss) but he didn’t take nearly as much punishment.

Advantage - Tyson

Tyson wins this category because unlike Ali he made an attempt lớn defend himself. Ali’s cockiness made it easy for an opponent to lớn land big shot after big shot. Tyson would exploit this opportunity & land several power nguồn shots.

Point 6 – Heart

Boxing is often called the sweet science. There is a reason for that. Boxing, more so than any other sport, is a blend of technical ability and desire. It is a primitive thể thao in which a person’s will (or lack thereof) is apparent.

Mike Tyson never displayed great heart. He fought back lớn win against Razor Ruddock but that was basically it. After taking punishment, he was visibly demoralized in bouts with the “Irish Champion” Kevin McBride, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. 

Tyson could dominate a fight, but he didn’t possess the will lớn dig deep & deliver punishment when the chips were stacked against him.

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Muhammad Ali was a true warrior with an astounding amount of heart. To lớn some people he showed a little too much. Ken Norton broke Ali’s jaw early in their first fight. Ali fought for at least seven rounds with the pain of a broken jaw that got worse with each round.

Ali was also put down in several fights that he went on lớn win:

Henry Cooper knocked him down in the fourth round. Ali won the fight.Chuck Wepner knocked Ali down in the ninth round. Ali won the fight.Sonny Banks knocked Ali down. Ali won the fight.

Advantage - Ali

Ali had heart to lớn match his incredible physical gifts. Despite taking a debilitating amount of punishment he was never knocked out cold. He got up every single time he got knocked down. 

Ali was often better AFTER he got knocked down. That’s a scary thought.

Point 7 – Psychology

Psychology was a major factor for both Ali & Tyson.

Muhammad Ali used psychology as a weapon. Mike Tyson used it as a crutch. It was hard for Tyson khổng lồ defeat an opponent who didn’t fear him.

In his documentary, Tyson flat out says the following, “I walk around the ring và never take my eyes off my opponent. I’m looking for a sign of his fear. He’ll fight hard for two or three rounds but I KNOW I broke his spirit”. 

Tyson relied on fear, but he struggled openly when boxers did not fear him.

There was another major chink in Mike Tyson’s psychological armor. His confidence was directly tied lớn Cus D’amato. D’amato built up Tyson’s confidence in himself and Tyson lost a good chunk of that when D’amato died. 

You can’t escape a good debate about Mike Tyson without hearing, “if Cus D’amato didn’t die.” Nobody can deny Cus’ standing as a great trainer. However, Tyson’s admitted reliance on D’amato is a definite weak point.

Muhammad Ali was a psychological machine. He unnerved Sonny Liston by showing up at his training camp và starting a circus. He routinely distracted opponents with pre-fight taunts, poems and jokes.

He predicted the round in which his opponents would fall (Archie Moore in four, Powell in five). He called Joe Frazier (a man who helped bring him back into boxing) names like Uncle Tom, Flat Nose, Gorilla and Moon Cricket.

His antics angered Frazier so much that it took over 20 years for Frazier to forgive him (even after Ali was stricken with Parkinson’s).

There is another thing about Ali’s psychology that not many people know. His trainer Angelo Dundee actually trained against him in his fight with Jimmy Ellis. Ali overcame this obvious tactical disadvantage and beat Ellis in 12 rounds.

Advantage - Ali

Muhammad Ali was able to lớn frustrate his opponents before, during and after the fight. Ali wouldn’t be afraid of Tyson và his pre-fight antics would frustrate Tyson.

Point 8 – Key Losses 

Every fighter, no matter how great he is, will eventually thua trận a few (except a select few like Rocky Marciano). Great fighters may appear super human but they all have a weakness.

Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali both had two throwaway losses at the over of their careers. Mike Tyson lost to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride well after he should have stopped boxing. Muhammad Ali lost khổng lồ Larry Holmes (in a pitiful affair) and Trevor Berbick well after he should have put the gloves down.

Ali had three legitimate losses (Ken Norton, Joe Frazier và Leon Spinks). His most famous opponent was Joe Frazier, & that makes sense because Frazier was the first man to lớn beat Ali.

However, Ali convincingly won in their next two fights. He won a unanimous decision in 1974 and he earned a 12th round stoppage in the “Thrilla in Manilla” in 1975.

The boxer that gave Ali his toughest bouts was Ken Norton. Ken Norton was a heavy underdog & won his first bout with Ali in a split decision. Ali went on khổng lồ defeat Ken Norton two more times. 

Ali’s decision victories over Ken Norton are among the most heavily disputed wins in boxing history.

So why did Ali struggle so mightily with Ken Norton?

Ken Norton fought Ali from the OUTSIDE. Norton neutralized the jab that phối up most of Ali’s speedy combinations. Norton mirrored Ali’s jabs và caught Ali with well timed power nguồn “pot shots” that obliterated Ali’s rhythm. The Norton fights were the only fights in which Ali openly struggled to find a groove.

Tyson had four legitimate losses (two to Holyfield, one khổng lồ Lennox Lewis & one to Buster Douglas). All of his tormentors had similar physical characteristics.

Buster Douglas was 6’3” with an 83” reach that gave Tyson major trouble. Douglas danced và delivered the type of shots that Ali would deliver.Lennox Lewis was 6’5” with an 84” reach that dominated Mike Tyson. Evander Holyfield was 6’2” with a 78” reach that kept Tyson at bay.

Tyson had a 71” reach which made him most effective in close quarters. His short reach gave him trouble against tall fighters who moved và applied pressure. Ali was a tall fighter that moved & applied constant pressure. 

Advantage - Ali

Muhammad Ali’s style was the exact style that gave Mike Tyson major trouble. He was tall, his reach was long and he kept fighters at cất cánh with a phối of quick powerful shots. Tyson never defeated a fighter of this style who wasn’t afraid of him.

Point 9 – Stamina/Endurance

Tyson was a power nguồn fighter who only had 18 fights (32 percent) go past the fourth round. Tyson fans will point khổng lồ his devastating punching power nguồn as the main driver behind this statistic. In his documentary, Mike Tyson provides contradictory information that no fan can deny. 

Tyson says, “I had a lung problem, that’s why my fights didn’t last long”.

48 or 85 percent of Ali’s fights went past the fourth round with the majority of them going the distance.

Tyson’s power & suspect lungs kept him out of long fights, but his lack of endurance was apparent in fights that went long. Tyson lost six fights; five of those losses came after the fourth round.

When you compare the fighters from the rounds fought, perspective things get even worse for Mike. Muhammad Ali fought 56 fights and Mike Tyson fought 58 fights. Muhammad Ali fought in 541 rounds while Tyson only fought in 211 rounds. That’s an astounding 330 round difference or the equivalent of 27.5 more 12 round fights for Muhammad Ali. That experience simply can’t be discounted.

Advantage - Ali

Muhammad Ali was a boxer who fought to embarrass & outclass his opponents. He found weaknesses and punished opponents in the long haul. 

The case can be made that Tyson would knock Ali out but it wouldn’t hold much weight. Muhammad Ali lost five fights, four were decisions & only one was a TKO at the extreme tail kết thúc of his career. Muhammad Ali withstood punishment from heavy hitters lượt thích Joe Frazier, Archie Moore, Ken Norton, Ernie Shavers và George Foreman without being knocked out. 

It’s safe to lớn say that Mike Tyson wouldn’t have knocked him out either.

Conclusion/Category Breakdown 

Tyson was a physical marvel and it shows in the categories that he has over Ali. Tyson is superior khổng lồ Ali in Power, Speed và Defense. These are all critical components of boxing. 

Ali was a more complete warrior than Mike Tyson. As a result he takes home six categories…Style, Chin, Heart, Psychology, Key Losses và Stamina/Endurance.

There is also something else to note. Ali, while inferior to lớn Tyson, was no slouch when it came to lớn power và speed. Tyson, on the other hand, had major deficiencies in chin, heart, psychology và stamina. Any opponent who beat Ali did so in a hard fought battle that went AT LEAST 10 rounds.

Frazier won a unanimous decision in 15 rounds. Ken Norton won a split decision in 12 rounds. Leon Spinks won a split decision in 15 rounds. Larry Holmes won a TKO in 10 rounds. Trevor Berbick won a unanimous decision in 10 rounds.

In order for Tyson to beat Ali he’d have to take him down và take him down quick. Some of the best boxers in American history couldn’t bởi it và Tyson wouldn’t bởi it either.

This fight would be hard fought for the first few rounds. In round five or six Ali would begin to lớn outclass and frustrate Mike Tyson. Tyson was known to lớn get anxious (as he was known lớn do) in those middle rounds and take big risks with punches. He’d connect with just enough shots to open himself up for major punishment. 

By round 10, Tyson would be clearly outclassed và looking for a way out. He’d get it in the khung of a unanimous decision for Ali.