Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson? Boxing legends answer ‘who wins in their prime?’

Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali are two titans of boxing who dominated their respective eras.

By the time ‘Iron Mike’ won his first WBC heavyweight title in 1986, Ali had already retired, which has led to fans fantasising about who would have won if the two were to fight in their respective primes.

With “Sugar” Ray Leonard sandwiched between them, both fighters shared their opinions on a 1989 episode of The Arsenio Hall Show, where the host asked exactly that question.

Faced with the question of whether he could have beaten the then WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring heavyweight champion, Ali was slow to answer.

He leaned back in his chair before simply pointing towards Tyson, who waved off the compliment from ‘The Louisville Lip.’

“I was a dancing master. I wasn’t that powerful, but I was so fast that if he hit me…,” he stated, before slumping back in his chair as though he had just been knocked out.

When the host Arsenio Hall threw the question to ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ he was humble in his response.

“By no means I’m vain.

“I know I’m great, but let me tell you something, in this situation every head must bow, every tongue must confess this [Ali] is the greatest of all time.

“I’ve seen him in the ring with killers. Foreman, Frazier – killers who hit much harder than I and he takes these guys greatest punches and that’s what made him such a champion.”

At the time, the 23-year-old Tyson was yet to taste defeat in his boxing career and had racked up a 37-0 record.

However, less than six months later he was the victim of one of the greatest upsets in sporting history when he lost his WBA, WBC and IBF straps to Buster Douglas inside the Tokyo Dome.

The episode, which aired on August 2, 1989, remains the only time the legendary duo have ever appeared on a talk show together.

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