Muhammad Ali registered the 35th knockout of his career as he came from behind to defeat Ron Lyle in Las Vegas in 1975.
Fresh from his emphatic victory over Chuck Wepner to defend the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine heavyweight world titles he won from George Foreman a year prior, Ali was feeling on top of the world once again.
Few expected Lyle to put up much of a fight against ‘The Greatest’ – but he did so and then some before he was stopped on his feet.
Lyle, at the time 33, was leading 49-43 and 46-45 on two cards at the time of the stoppage.
“I knew I was behind,” Ali said, in quotes reported by The Ring.
“I lost a lot of rounds on the ropes. He was hitting me with a lot of jabs and right hands. That’s the chance you take when you’re on the ropes.
“One of those punches got through to my eye.”
WATCH: Muhammad Ali came back from the brink of defeat to beat Ron Lyle back in 1975
Lyle had nothing but praise for Ali in the years that followed before he died in 2011.
He told Throwback Media in 2008: “Ali was everything to the game.
“The game was dying when he came along. But when Ali came aboard and he was Olympic champion, the game just took off from there. It took off from there.
“Every fighter today owes him something because that’s how much he elevated the game.
“The first time I had the opportunity to spar with Ali, I was still an amateur. I had just won the national AUs. I toured Europe, I come back, I was getting ready to turn pro.
“They sent me to Miami to spar with Ali. Ali was gracious enough to take time out of his schedule to give me three or four rounds I think it was and the rest is history. To me, Ali, he put the game at another level, man.
“When you fought Ali, you made money. Everybody got a piece of the action. He didn’t duck nobody, he didn’t dodge nobody, he fought everybody that was in line.
“Are they doing that today? I don’t know. Ali was very special.”
Lyle also spoke about Ali’s incredible ability to recover after being hit with big shots.1 of 20
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He then added: “Ali had a strong chin. What can I say about Ali that ain’t been said? He had a strong chin.
“He took a good shot. A lot of guys can take a punch but can’t recover. They take the punch and stand up but are they really still there?
“Ali took the punch and came back around. He had a way of coming back and going back and getting in control of things. Ali wasn’t like that.
“Once he cleared his head he jumped right back on you.”