In any sport, people will always try to compare the current superstars to the legends of the past.
Really, though, you can’t compare George Best and Pele to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Rod Laver to Roger Federer or Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods because none of them could ever have competed against the other.
That being said, such debates will continue; the latest in the form of elite boxing.
A fan of the sport started a post on World Boxing Forum as to who would win in a heavyweight super-fight between Anthony Joshua and the late, great Muhammad Ali.
James Smith took to the forum to ask the question which caused quite a stir amongst the boxing community.
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After receiving hundreds of votes, a quite impressive 31.8% voted in favour of the current British heavyweight.
The lion’s share, however, went to Ali, who received the remaining 68.2%. It was clear that the ‘Greatest’ would be the favourite between the two.
Smith, who raised the debate, was with the minority and believed that Joshua’s size and power would be too much for the man who many consider to be the best there has ever been.
He wrote: “AJ has a 3inch height, 4inch reach and 40-pound weight advantage at 6'6, 82 reach and 250 pounds of solid power punching muscle. Ali is 6'3, 78-inch reach and only 210 pounds. Joshua clearly has the size advantage that Ali enjoyed in 90 [per cent] of his fights, so going to be an unusual experience for Ali.
"Ali does have quicker and better footwork, and faster hands, but I seriously doubt it will make up for Joshua's fast hands with such a height and reach advantage. I doubt Ali even has a puncher's chance.
"I think this is an obvious win for the stronger, bigger and much more powerful Joshua. I think the smart money is on Joshua by early KO. What do you think?"
Well… not the same as Smith it would seem. Outrage ensued at the thought that Ali wouldn’t even have a “puncher’s chance.”
One boxing fan responded: "Ali boxes his head off... I've seen AJ get outboxed by men as big as Ali but less skilled in amateurs. Ali totally mind f***s him and proceeds to run rings around him. Not saying it would be easy for Ali... these super heavyweights are huge mofos."
The size comparison is a major factor to consider, but you only have to look at Joshua’s last fight with Andy Ruiz Jr. to see that height doesn’t mean all that much when it comes to picking a winner.
If anything, Joshua has struggled against the smaller opponents in the past and Ali was often the smaller when disposing of his opponents on his way to becoming the best.
It is worth remembering that this forum was created before Joshua suffered the first loss of his career, so has this changed things?
Someone else posted: "See Ali v Foreman... those who say Ali wouldn't have a chance are clearly logging on to the wrong site.”
Lastly, another angry fan wrote: “This wouldn't even be close. Prime Ali would be too fast of hand and foot for Joshua to get anywhere near him. Ali would box his head off and don't underestimate Ali's power. I like Joshua but he's fought nobody, he's got a lot to prove before he can remotely be spoken of in the same breath as Ali."
We have already seen, watched and admired Ali in his prime, but are yet to see Joshua reach his top form. If and when he does, who would reign victorious?News Now - Sport News