Who was the first man to go 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali?
The first man to go 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali was the Canadian George Chuvalo, who did so in a WBC heavyweight title fight at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto on March 29, 1966. Making the third defence of the title, which he had won from Sonny Liston two years earlier, Ali went into the fight with a pristine 22-0-0 record.
The bout was billed by ‘Sports Illustrated’ as ‘Showdown with a Punching Bag‘, such was Ali’s perceived superiority over his opponent, who had lost two of his last three fights. Nevertheless, defying odds of 7/1, Chuvalo went the distance before losing by unanimous decision. Reflecting on his defeat, he said, ‘The judges voted for Ali, but he had to be taken to the hospital afterwards while I went dancing with my wife.’
Interestingly, Chuvalo would fight Ali again, for the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) heavyweight title at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on May 1, 1972. Again he went the 15-round distance, but again lost by unanimous decision. In an 18-year career, Chuvalo fought 93 times, including against Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Ernie Terrell, and was never once knocked down. The plucky fighter may not have got the win he was looking for against Ali, but bookmakers like Michigan sportsbook and others around the United States and beyond, are well aware that punters are looking for the long odds ‘dream bet’ to come good.
Of course one person’s outsider is anothers competitive matchup. By which I mean that when some people think ‘big odds’ they really are looking for a ‘needle in the haystack’ type bet to come good, whereas other are happy to go with the more likely outcome of something deemed the outsider of the two. Boxing in many ways is a sport of upsets, as just when you think you’ve got it all figured out a spanner will go flying into the works. This of course was true even last weekend in the Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk fight, where the long wished for prospect of an AJ VS Tyson Fury unification bout was put firmly on the back burner by Usyk.
There have of course been bigger surprises in the world of boxing over the years. Who can forget the shock defeat of Mike Tyson by Buster Douglas in February 1990 for instance. At the time Tyson was seen as all but unstoppable (as well as being the undefeated and undisputed WBC, WBA and IBF champion) and Douglas not given a hope, indeed he was a 42-1 underdog. Douglas however didn’t let others opinions of him impact his winning mentality in the fight held at the Tokyo Dome. Instead he went about delivering one of the biggest shocks in boxing history.
As a punter it’s important to both understand when others are all aboard the hype train and also when a challenger has a style that is clearly going to give the champion more problems than he initially realises. When you have a keen eye for spotting both of these scenarios you’re likely going to be able to spot good value bets.