History

On This Day: Wearing ill-fitting shorts and without Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali hammers his pal Jimmy Ellis into defeat

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali lets Angelo Dundee attempt to conspire with Jimmy Ellis to beat him

MUHAMMAD ALI w rsf 12 JIMMY ELLIS
July 26, 1971; Astrodome, Houston, TX
ANGELO DUNDEE picked up just $50,000 from Muhammad Ali’s multi-million dollar purse versus Joe Frazier and split from Ali for one-night only so he could earn a better rate with his comeback opponent and stablemate, Jimmy Ellis. Ali understood and gave Dundee his blessing, stopped Ellis in the 12th, then welcomed Angelo back with open arms for his next outing. Had this occurred today, there would have been a distinctly fishy smell. Back in 1971, perhaps to stifle that stench, efforts were made by marketeers to make the split appear real. It wasn’t of course, but Ali employed Harry Wiley – the chief second for a peak Sugar Ray Robinson – to complete the surreal scene.

DID YOU KNOW? According to the commentator, journalism legend Dave Anderson – who picked up the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1981 – predicted a one-round KO win for Jimmy Ellis.

WATCH OUT FOR: Muhammad messing about with his shorts before the opening bell. The story goes that Bundini Brown forgot to pack Ali’s fitted shorts so he was forced to wear some plain white ones that are obviously way too big.

Boxing news – Newsletter

Current Issue