History | Nov 14 2019

Was this Muhammad Ali at his greatest?

Muhammad Ali was at his dazzling and savage best while thrashing Cleveland Williams on this day, writes Matt Christie
Muhammad Ali
Ali devoted himself to the art of boxing

THE elegance of Muhammad Ali was at its most savage inside Houston’s Astrodome on November 14, 1966.

Although Cleveland Williams – a gifted slugger in decline – was not the most accomplished victim, it is Ali’s destruction of him that many experts regard as Muhammad’s finest hour (or rather, his finest seven minutes).

Ali, who before the bout spoke of retirement so he could focus his full attention on religion, still had plenty of critics. Some were angered by those outspoken religious beliefs, others felt he was a cruel and unsporting assassin (after he toyed with an injured Floyd Patterson the year before), but anyone who saw him set about Williams were united in their belief that Ali was, like him or not, a phenomenal fighter.


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