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Down goes Frazier!


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When Smoking Joe died, Bruce posted a link on the Torch Board to Foreman knocking out Frazier and Cosell's famous call. A posted mentioned how Frazier stayed over despite the ass kicking, which I had to explain was due to the intricate booking...


I've always found it interesting that Frazier was able to keep his heat so strongly against Ali even though he got destroyed by Foreman between the first and second Ali fights, though people also forget that Ali lost to Ken Norton in 1973 in a split decision, then beat Norton in another split decision later that year, two years before the Thrilla.

Good booking.


03/08/71 WT: Frazier over Ali


Ali "makes" Fraizer by jobbing to him in their first match.


01/22/73 WT: Foreman over Frazier


Since Fraizer isn't a good enough draw on his own away from Ali, they decide to create "The New Sonny Liston", a monster heel perfect for Ali's babyface turn.


03/31/73 NABF: Norton over Ali


As part of his babyface turn, Ali "makes" a new star by putting Norton over and doing an double sided injury angle: Norton breaks Ali's jaw to get over his punching power while Ali looks sympathetic by going the full 12 rather than quitting.


09/10/73 NABF: Ali over Norton


With Norton made, Ali gets his heat back as part of the babyface turn. Norton goes down three times, but doesn't quit. Split decision to create some controversy, set up a third match, and keep Norton is over enough that he can main event against Foreman.


01/28/74 NABF: Ali over Frazier


Grudge match, and Ali's turn to win. This is to set up Ali for the monster heel, but they work an good enough match that people would pay for a rubber match down the line.


03/26/74 WT: Foreman over Norton


Norton gets fed to the monster heel, and like Fraizer he gets killed. Major doubt over whether Ali will have a chance against Foreman.


10/30/74 WT: Ali over Foreman


Monster Heel Champ vs the new Ultimate Babyface beloved by the fans. Ali "out smarts" the monster heel, and knocks him out. Major paydays all around!


10/01/75 WT: Ali over Frazier


After a pair defenses against white jobbers to the stars (where Ali was nice enough to carry them to the 15th to help win over more White Fans) and a defense against the tough Ron Lyle, Ali was ready for a huge payday. Frazier was rehabed against Quarry and Ellis. They have a money mark dictator to host it. Epic super classic to finish the feud.


06/15/76 NABF: Foreman over Frazier


Ali was worried that if he put over Foreman in the second fight to set up the ultimate mega fight in the third match that Foreman might instead freeze Ali out of the title picture. So in a sense he was ducking Foreman before Foreman could duck him. This forced Foreman into fighting Frazier, who came out of the loss to Ali strong even in defeat because Ali sold the beating so well. Of course Foreman wanted the rematch with Ali so badly that he didn't bother making Frazier look good, and just destroyed him again. Foreman thought this would get his monster heel gimmick back over, but instead it made Ali worried again: Foreman just couldn't be trusted in the ring to work a program and avoid making opponents look like heck. The Road Warriors before the Road Warriors. ;)


09/28/76 WT: Ali over Norton


Not trusting Foreman, Ali decided to work a stadium rematch against one of his favorite opponents: Norton. Ken got booked into a seven match winning streak against jobbers as he was too valuable of an opponent to risk against top fighters. Ali let Ken go 15.


Ali's ducking finally got to Foreman as he lost the following March to Jimmy Young, who Ali made the prior year by working a dusty finish (Ali "lost" the match to the heel Young, but the judges "reversed" the decision to let Ali keep the title which made the fans happy). Foreman took Young lightly, and Young beat him.


We ended up getting robbed of a three fight Ali-Foreman series, and instead got stuck with an uninteresting Ali-Spinks series where Ali tried to make Spinks by looking like an Aging Champ Hanging On, but it just didn't click. Leon was way to green for the push.


They don't book boxing that well anymore.





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You should've went further John


We had Spinks beating Ali then refusing to fight Norton who was the #1 contender leading to Norton/Larry Holmes with Holmes becoming the heavyweight kingpin for the next 6 years while Spinks went on to fight Ali in a rematch and losing.


Then it gets better as Don King convinces Ali to retire with the WBA title so he could book Holmes vs. John Tate who would get the WBA title in a unification match that never happened.

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Nah... that was the begining of Bad Booking, which started an entire era of Horrible Booking in the 80s (and into the 90s... well... forever). :P


They never should have booked Norton-Young as a #1 contenders match with that result:


04/30/76 WT: Ali over Young

09/28/76 WT: Ali over Norton


Norton beat a pair of jobbers, doing nothing to make the fans want to see Ali-Norton IV.


Young had this push:


11/06/76 Young over Lyle

03/17/77 Young over Foreman


Granted, Young was suppose to put over Foreman to get Foreman ready for the mega rematch for Ali, but Foreman's heart wasn't in chasing Ali anymore so he crossed everyone up by taking a dive.


After Foreman went out of the picture, Norton's was suppose to put over Young, which would allow Ali to clean up the dusty finish in their title match... when Ali could fit Young into his schedule. But first the promoters wanted to strike at Spinks coming off the Olympics, create an instant star by having Ali put him over before eventually getting the belt back. The plans where:


Ali --> Spinks --> Young --> Ali


Spinks gets "made", then is a clear face going against Young. Young gets the "title he was screwed out of", but in beating the young Olympic face Spink would become a larger heel. This would put Ali in the role of Veteran Olympic Face to gain revenge by taking Young out. That would lead to Ali-Spinks II. If Spinks was over enough as a major face, Ali would take him in a close fight in Ali-Spink II before an rematch puts the belt back on Spinks to carry it into the 80s.


They were also building up the younger Larry Holmes to be Spink's rival for the next decade, with Holmes' first big match against jobber to the stars Ernie Shaver in early 1978 after Ali-Spinks I.




11/05/77 #1: Norton over Young


Norton had to go and work a double cross on the Boxing Syndicate.


02/15/78 WT: Spinks over Ali


That one went off as planned. But the promoters quickly realized that Spinks wasn't reliable, was often in "no condition to perform" a lot of the out of the ring functions needed of the Champ, there was no way he could hold up his end of the deal to promote fights, and knew they had to get the belt off him.


No way in hell would they go to Norton after his double cross, and the fact that people had already seen Ali-Norton three times. Holmes in their eyes wasn't ready to draw in a major match against Spinks. So they had to put the belt back on Ali, and deal with Norton at the same time since he was "#1 Contender".


06/09/78 wt: Holmes over Norton


They conned Norton back into the ring by giving him a fake claim to the World Title, and also to set up a unification match later after they got the belt off him. The younger shooter Holmes was sent in to take care of him. Norton thought he was going over. There was always the risk that Norton might sniff out a double cross, and with his punching power (i.e. Ali's broken jaw) that he might drop Holmes. So Holmes was under clear instructions to "keep it close". Norton was also told that there was a need to keep Holmes strong in case they had a tough time getting the Ali-Spinks II winner into the ring: Norton might need to draw against Holmes again.


Norton went out early, but Homes waited for him to tire and drop his guard. He beat the snot out of Norton in the 13th and thought he had him, only to have the bell save Norton. Holmes shot on him again in the 15th, tore into him, and made it close enough that two of the judges in the Syndicate's pocket came through with a decision. Norton was never let close to a title match again.



09/15/78 WT: Ali over Spinks


They had to get the belt off Kerry Von Spinks before we had our first heavyweight champ to overdose while holding the belt. It shows what a draw Ali was that he draw 65K to the dome for it. The plan was for Ali to win, take off until June 1979, build up Holmes to that point, then pass the torch by unifying the title. Ali was tired of all the screwy booking and double crosses, so he retired.


He got dragged out of retirement to try to light a fire under Holmes' start as the new anchor to the division, but by that point Ali "lost it" in terms of both promoting a match and working one. Holmes tried to carry him and get Ali engaged, but it just didn't work. Worst disaster since Gotch-Hack II.


Booking pretty much went to shit when Foreman took a dive, and they had to rush Spinks to the title before he was ready. Then Norton screwed things up more by taking Young out of the title mix when they could have built him up as the new monster heel who took out Foreman and had the earlier controversy against Ali. Then Spink screwed things up because he liked coke and broads too much, getting in the way of being able to be a proper champ. Then Ali got tired of things, and Holmes didn't take off but was too good of a shooter to get the belt off and onto someone more marketable.


It wasn't until Tyson came along that they had a marketable shooter that the fans got into. Then he screwed things up. :)



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Just don't ask me to do the booking in the 80s... it would come across as Russoific TNA & WCW booking taken to the hilt with all the title changes, coke and crazy ass bookers. Good lord... Tyson married Givens in the 80s too, right? What a freaking trainwreck of the decade, with Buster Douglas "shooting" on Tyson to take the belts at the turn of the decade when everyone thought they'd be able to milk the Tyson Money Train for another decade. :)



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I'd have a tough time doing Sugar: his refusal to work with Marvin until Marvin was washed up, then refusing to put him over in the first match (spunky underdog losing a close, contoversial fight against a heel is a surefire rematch), then refusing to instantly rematch with Marvin...


That pretty much pissed me off more than Hogan's stuff. :)


He also should have rematched Tommy after the first fight. After all, Duran gave Sugar a rematch. For all of us thinking Sugar was a great babyface coming out of the Olympics, he was kind of an asshole who booked himself with great care to make himself look good. Set aside the wrestling analogy: just from a pure boxing sense... there's a lot of it that's really flakey and Ray-centric. There are things with Ali that one didn't care for, like his camp really ducking a rematch with Foreman to the point that it drove George out of the game. But... Liston rematch... gave Joe a rematch after getting his win back... gave Norton a third fight after not really doing so hot against him in the first two fights. Didn't see Ray in a hurry to fight either Tommy or Marvin again after beating them. :/


It's strange to feel that way, since I was a Ray fan all the way up until the fight with Marvin.



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I wish that Meltz covered boxing back when Sugar had his big ceremony where he was supposed to announce his fight with Hagler in 1983 with Cosell by his side and Hagler in the crowd before swerving everyone and announcing the fight would never happen with the camera going to Hagler who looked like he was about to explode.


Sugar Ray Leonard was a fantastic pretty boy heel.

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Yeah... the Marvin fight was the first one where I rooted for someone other than Ray.


Marvin was just a fighter. He got screwed over on his way up to fighting for the title. Once he finally got it, he pretty much fought anyone who they lined up against him, and was just business.


Ray's "retirement"... I thought he did Marvin really wrong that night. Ray pretty much admits now that he did, though he lays off a lot of his asshole behavior to all the coke he was doing. Anyway, once Ray finally agreed to the fight, I was hoping Marvin knocked him out for being a prick years before. It was sad that Marvin was completely washed up by that point.



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