The day was January 17, 1942, a child was born to Cassius Marcellus Clay and to Odessa O’Grady Clay at the dawn of a new year in Louisville, Kentucky; but this child was not the ordinary child you saw following the everyday routine kids follow no he was special and most people that met him knew it. Eventually he would reach twelve when he met police officer Joe E. Martin who found the boy fuming over a thief who had stolen his bicycle, “Im gonna whup him the boy said,” the officer taking note of his frustration told the boy “But you gotta learn how to fight first” it was these words that led to the young Cassius Clay meeting Chuck Bodak his first trainer and so the legend begins. Fast forward a few years into the future he is no longer a boy but has become a young man who has by now won six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two national Golden Glove titles, an Amateur Athletic Union National Title an the Light Heavyweight Gold Medal in the 1960″s Summer Olympics in Rome. From there he would go on to defeat Tunney Hunsacker in a decision during his debut as well as a slew of other opponents before brazenly challenging Sonny Liston for the crown in February 25, 1964 it was a fight that saw Clay in the position of the underdog fighting the bigger and more well known man in the ring in a blinding flash of speed and footwork resembling his predecessor Ray Robinson Clay decimated the favored Liston after the later would not answer the bell for the seventh round. A few years later into the future the child we mentioned earlier is now a man and his name is Muhammad Ali a feared and outspoken contender that overcame the criticism that followed when he refused to fight in what he believed was a pointless war by now he has fought the equally legendary Joe Frazier in a trilogy stopped the feared George Foreman and has become a cultural icon for people of all races, color, and creed to aspire to. Yes it was this same child whom earlier I told you special has at last realized his full potential for many years his name will be remembered no longer as Cassius Clay but as Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, The Champ, The Man that Shook up the World.
The day was June 30, 1966 a child was born to Lorna Smith Tyson and Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick at the start of the hot summer in Brooklyn, New York: but this child was not the ordinary child you saw following the everday routine kids follow no he was special and most people that met him knew it. A troublemaker from a young age he did the best that he could to survive on the streets that were not forgiving or kind to the weak but it was this experience that honed his character and built his drive to win, the look in his eyes a reflection of the intensity of the summer heat and a hard upbringing. A few years ahead sees this boy meeting Bobby Stewart a counselor and former boxer at the Tryon School for Boys a juvenile detention center Tyson had landed in this individual who noted the potential I stated earlier then referred the boy to longtime and respected trainer known as Cus D’Amato and so the legend begins. Fast forward into the future the boy is now a young man who is growing under the tutelage of Cus the same fire lights his eyes with the same intensity of a burning furnace only made more intimidating by the fact that he has now been transformed into well trained killing machine with the physique, double fisted power, and speed that would make any god tremble with jealousy and fear so much has his progress gone that by now he has already won the Junior Olympic games two years in a row and if this wasn’t enough of a sign of things to come he broke the records of the greats before him by becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of the world and for over a decade later terrorized the entire division by systematic annihilation of some of the deadliest heayweights known to man, over time this man no longer a boy has faced a myriad of trials being both a conqueror and a victim of the outside world. Although he has since retired from the sport that he dominated for the longest time during my youth and has undergone a drastic change from a hot tempered young powerhouse to a wise and level headed man we will always know him as Iron Mike Tyson, his style was impetuous he was ferocious he was a sight to behold and no one could match him.
These two fighters, separated by different eras rose to the pinnacle of their divisions in such a fashion that their presence cannot be denied nor discounted even now years after they made their marks on the sport. Yet the question will remains even to this day….. if these two tyrant titans of their times would have met face to face in the ring who would have been the victor, who would have truly solidified their status as the All Time Great of this sport which we love so much. Just imagine it you are in the arena, the air is hot and loud, your stomach rises to your throat as the anticipation begins to rise, then they meet face to face as we hear the familiar LETS GET READY RUUMBLLLLLEEEEEE, they return to their corners, the bell rings, Ali comes out pumping the jab, Tyson bobs and weaves.The legend begins.