Ali question...

I was watching Ali Frazier III on ESPN classic last night and I noticed that Ali was continually moving to his left throughout the fight. Is this because he was trying to avoid Frazier's left hook? Was Frazier's right hand really that light? Isn't it normal for a boxer to move to his right to avoid the opponents power hand?

I also noticed this was one of the ONLY fights I've ever seen where the ref actually stopped Ali from holding the back of his opponents head and pawing with an open glove. I watch Ali's fights and think to myself that it's no wonder he was the greatest... he held and pawed (illegaly) continualy throughout his career. I can't watch the Forman Ali fight w/o wondering why they even bothered having a ref in the ring.

You know what? I was watching Ali-Forman on ESPN Classics and was wondering the same exact thing... What was the referee even in the ring for???

Does anyone remember (or know) if boxing's rules were more loosely enforced in those days? Just letting the boxers fight? Or was it more like how certain teams and/or players in todays sports seem to get a "free pass" from the officials?

according to Foremans book he gave his manager around 20,000 to "pay off" referee Zack Clayton in case Foreman hit Ali after he was down as he had a habit of doing so in those days, Foreman said he doesn't really know if that was actually what the money was for or not. but it seemed in more than a few of his fights Ali was able to bend the rules to his advantage..

Its no different to some of the fights today. Mundine always seems to end up with a ref that lets him hold on and doesn't warn him for holding to much and then you get a fighter like Kostya and most refs let him go with the rough stuff.

Who normally picks the refs/judges?

Ali seemed to circle to his left against most opponents that I've seen, and he did get away with a lot more rule-bending. I wonder if sometimes the referees were kind of star-struck by him or what.

in the 70's Ali ruled the world, he had a comic book about him, he had a comic book where he fought superman, had his own action figure,starred in his own movie, so i think it would be fair to say some ref's felt obligated to give him extra slack in the 70's it was all about disco, kiss, muhammed ali, and star wars and not nessasarly in that order....

Ali had a tendency to move left for a reason: he would suddenly angle to his RIGHT at the last moment and counter. He did this a lot in him prime (most spectacularly against Liston in their second fight).

Just a footnote on the holding issue...

I sort of equate the holding situation with the "Jordan rules" that existed in the NBA when Mike was the king. I couldn't watch B ball during Jordan's reign, I mean if he's the only guy who gets to take not three, but FOUR steps towards the basket what's the point of even watching? If the Bulls were down by 20 in the fourth you just knew that the refs were going to call every ticky tack call and give Jordan every opportunity to win... which he usually did.

The reason I equate the two is this... both were SO DAMN GOOD that neither one needed the assitance. Ali would have still been the greatest IMO because he was just that good. He didn't need to hold to win, but hey, if it's available why not use it?

Personally I didn't mind the holding. It was good to see effective clinching in action.

Interestingly, Ali clinched Frazier in their ABC Studio fight.