When we debate about the greatest boxer of all time, the first name that comes to the lips of many is Muhammad Ali.
After winning gold in the 1960 Rome Olympics, ‘The Greatest’ had a stellar professional career that saw him win 56 out of his 61 fights.
Ali established himself as not only a champion boxer but also a global icon who was an inspiration to millions. There are some that still consider him to be the greatest sportsperson of all time.
Ali was an extremely dominant fighter who had little trouble keeping his opponents on the back foot when in the ring.
‘The Greatest’ produced several iconic performances throughout his career but one that often stands out is his knockout win over Cleveland Williams on November 14, 1966.
The fight was for the WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles. Ali was the heavy favourite to win the bout given his quality and the fact that Williams was not at his best physically to face a fighter like him.
Two years before the fight, Big Cat was shot in the stomach by a patrolman for resisting arrest. The bullet was lodged in his right hip after moving across his intestines, thus causing severe damage to his colon and right kidney, which eventually had to be removed.
Williams did win four fights in 1966 before his bout against Ali but the damage from two years before prevented him from being in peak physical shape, unlike his opponent.
The Greatest produced a dominant performance to defeat Williams and retain his titles. It was during this fight that the “Ali Shuffle” was used for the very first time.
Ali combined precise footwork with some ruthless power-punching to send Williams crashing to the canvas. He eventually won the fight via technical knockout in the third round. This was the 27th successive victory for Ali and he won another four bouts before suffering his first defeat to Joe Frazier.
Those days, there wasn’t any social media but the Ali Shuffle still made rounds with singer Alvin Cash eventually writing a song on it in 1967.
Several fighters have come and gone and while they intimidated opponents and dazzled spectators, they won’t