Opinion

Panel: If you could sit down for a one-on-one chat with any fighter in history, who would it be?

Muhammad Ali
A panel of experts answer our questions

If you could sit down for a one-on-one chat with any fighter in history, who would it be?

Joe Gallagher
Leading trainer
Jack Johnson or Muhammad Ali. That Jack Johnson story of his era and his time. They’re two fascinating characters. Jack Johnson, how he lived his life, faced racism back then and the same in the Muhammad Ali era.

Darren Barker
Former IBF 160lb champion
Muhammad Ali. Just because of how great of a man he was. For reasons inside and outside of the ring. His brilliance either side of the ropes. I would love to have met Ali.

Alex Arthur
Ex-WBO super-feather champ
There’s a lot of people to choose from, but my choice would definitely be Julio Cesar Chavez. He was my boyhood hero growing up and one of the best all-round fighters ever in terms of style and adaptability. He really could do it all in the ring. I think he’d have a good story to tell too.

Tony Dodson
Former British 168lb titlist
Personally, for me it’d have to be Mike Tyson. He was the man who made me want to be a fighter. To this day, no fighter has ever made me experience the emotions and feelings that he generated on fight day. He was a f**king phenomenal specimen. Imagine if he was fighting today – he’d be like a god.

Martin Murray
Four-time world title challenger

For me, it’d have to be Muhammad Ali. He’s quite possibly the greatest to have ever laced up the gloves. He stood for more than just boxing. He was a worldwide icon who just oozed class and charisma. There are so many things that I’d like to ask him about.

Which amateur star did not hit the heights that you expected them to as a pro?

Joe Gallagher
Frankie Gavin, just because he promised so much, he had so much skill. He was bubbling along nicely until he got beat but he never seemed to recover from that. It’s a shame really because he was an outstanding prospect and he never went on to fulfill his potential and become a world champion.

Darren Barker
Coming from the same amateur boxing club as Audley Harrison, with the well wishes and the support for him, we always wished he’d gone on to do the lot. There was that real hope and support for him to go on and succeed.

Alex Arthur
There’s been a few over the years, but the one that sticks out for me is Istvan Kovacs from Hungary. He managed to win a WBO title in the pros, but with everything that he achieved in the amateurs, he was expected to accomplish even more. I think maybe he turned over a bit too late in the end.

Tony Dodson
Me. I won seven national titles on the bounce as an amateur. I won a Junior Olympic gold medal – some huge names have done that. I never achieved what I should’ve done as a professional. I was big at the weight so I started to rely on my brawn rather than my skills, which was a mistake.

Martin Murray
The person who springs to mind is Frankie Gavin. He was an unbelievably talented boxer and a world-class amateur. I trained alongside him on a few England camps and I could see just how good he was. I thought he was going to have the same success in the pros as he did in the amateurs, but it didn’t work out. Sometimes that’s just the way it is. He should still be proud though.

See a never before published interview with Muhammad Ali here

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