By: Hans Themistode
Promoter Bob Arum has always had a soft spot for the late great Muhammad Ali. But it now seems that current WBC Heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury has replaced him in that regard.
Arum has worked with some of the best fighters in boxing history over the course of his career. He’s gushed over the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Marvin Hagler and Manny Pacquiao but he has never heaped more praise on a single fighter more than he has for Muhammad Ali.
The credentials of the former multiple time Heavyweight champion speak for itself.
Wins over Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton and Earnie Shavers coupled with his willingness to forfeit three years of his prime for social injustices, rightfully place Ali at the top of the list in terms of the Heavyweight G.O.A.T conversation.
A distinction that Arum would agree with once upon a time. But now, nearly 40 years since Ali last stepped inside of the squared circle, Arum is starting to second guess that thought.
“How would Ali have done with Fury? That’s a question I wrestle with. The Ali before the three-and-a-half years out was absolutely superb. Nobody could touch him, he was so fast. Ali was 6ft3in and the guys he fought were about the same size. How would he do against a 6ft9in guy who is an incredible boxer with great footwork?”
At 6 ft 3, Ali was considered a giant during the heart of his prime in the 60s and 70s. But compared to Deontay Wilder who stands at 6 ft 7 or the previously mentioned Fury who stands at 6 ft 9, Ali would be dwarfed if they fought today.
That, coupled with the completely different skill set of fighters today, Arum see’s the self proclaimed “Greatest of all Time” struggling big time with not just Fury, but all of the top Heavyweights in the game today.
“I can’t see Ali competing with a 6ft9in guy like Fury. We had big guys in the old days but they were slow, lumbering. They were jokes who couldn’t fight, they were just big. It’s all changing. Look at Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder. They are huge guys.”