Each month we look at Muhammad Ali’s triumphs and tribulations in that particular month. This time we examine November, a month where The Greatest faced legends such as Archie Moore and Floyd Patterson and showed the ‘Ali Shuffle’ for the first time.
14 November 1966 – Cleveland Williams, Astrodome, Houston
Result: Ali TKO3
An indoor-record of 35,460 at the mighty Astrodome – The Eighth Wonder of the World – witnessed Muhammad Ali revealing the ‘Ali Shuffle’ for the first time before knocking out Williams in the third round. Ali was at his very best, fast, strong, and powerful against ‘Big Cat’ Williams, one of the hardest punchers of the game. Laying flat on the canvas Williams was immortalized by a famous bird’s eye’s photo by legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer.
15 November 1962 – Archie Moore, Sports Arena, Los Angeles
Result: Ali TKO4
Clay had a prediction before the fight, that ‘Archie Moore must fall in four’. And he was right. Clay won by knockout in the fourth round. Moore is the only boxer to have faced both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. Moore, who held the light heavyweight world championship for nine years, fought for an incredible 27 years and knocked out 141 opponents, more than anyone else in the history of boxing
17 November – 1971 – Buster Mathis, Astrodome, Houston
Result: Ali UD
At 227 pounds Ali was at his heaviest, but Mathis came in heavier at 256 pounds. As one of the fight posters promoting the fight said: ‘Be there when the Mountain comes to Muhammad’. Ali dominated the fight throughout and won easily on points.
17 November 1972 – Bob Foster, Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline
Ali knocked Foster down seven times but before getting an eighth-round stoppage. But not before his opponent became the first and only boxer ever to inflict him with a cut. The fight was far away from the space-age glamour of the Astrodome glamour as it took place in a nightclub where fans sat around dinner tables.
22 November 1965 – Floyd Patterson, Convention Center, Las Vegas
Result: Ali TKO12
Before the fight, Patterson, who twice reigned as heavyweight champ, insisted on calling Ali ‘Cassius Clay’. Ali responded by calling Patterson an ‘Uncle Tom’ and promising to humiliate him. And so he did. Ali toyed with Patterson throughout the fight before claiming a 12th-round TKO. A New York Times reporter said the fight was like watching someone ‘pulling the wings off a butterfly.’ Ouch.
29 November 1961 – Willi Besmanoff, Freedom Hall, Louisville
Result: Clay TKO7
Cassius Clay proclaimed: “Besmanoff must fall in seven!” and Clay indeed won the bout through a technical knockout in the seventh round. The victory for Clay was his 10th in as many fights since he became a professional a year earlier.
The Muhammad Ali Trophy:
The Muhammad Ali Trophy is also known as the Greatest Prize in Boxing and it is being awarded to the winner of each weight class of the World Boxing Super Series. Ali gave his blessings to the WBSS and agreed to give his name to its prize created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Ali Trophy winners:
Season II: Josh Taylor (Super-Lightweight), Naoya Inoue (Bantamweight), Mairis Briedis (Cruiserweight)
Season I: Aleksandr Usyk (Cruiserweight), Callum Smith (Super-Middleweight)