Monday, July 26, 2021

Dancing Ali Stops Ellis in Twelfth Round -- July 26, 2021

San Bernardino Sun, 27-July-1971

50 years ago today, former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali met Jimmy Ellis, an old sparring partner who had won the tournament to replace Ali when he was stripped of his title. Ali won.

"Jimmy Ellis is the best boxer in the world beside me."

Dancing Ali Stops Ellis in Twelfth Round


HOUSTON (AP) - Muhammad Ali, the dancy, boxing master of old, unleashed a two-fisted attack in the 12th round and stopped former sparring partner Jimmy Ellis in the Astrodome last night in his first fight since losing a heavy-weight title fight with Joe Frazier.

The end came at 2:12 of the final round with the outgunned Ellis completely helpless from a barrage of lefts and rights that sent him reeling around the ring.

Ellis almost went down twice from Ali's two-fisted attack and was standing along the ropes with his hands at his sides when referee Jay Edson signaled a halt.

It was a brilliant exhibition of jabbing, footwork and precision punching, and Ali's best showing since his return to the ring after a 3 1/2-year exile because of a draft evasion conviction which recently was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The fight was the first of a planned series of three by Ali, who is gunning for a rematch with Joe Frazier and the heavyweight title he held before being stripped because of his draft troubles.

It was a fairly even fight for the first three rounds with Ellis, the former World Boxing Association champion who was giving away 31 1/2 pounds, forcing the fight and giving as good as he got.

But in the fourth round the 29-year-old Ali, who weighed 220 1/2, the heaviest of his career, shook up Ellis, 189, a couple of times and from there on he was in charge.

Ali was content for most of each round to use his reach advantage and spear Ellis repeatedly with what is one of the best left jabs in boxing.

However, he occasionally shook Ellis with a short right hand counter or right hand off the jab, especially in the 10th when Ellis again was badly hurt.

Ali opened the 12th round as though he would be content to win by a decision. Referee Jay Edson and both judges had Ali ahead after 11 rounds, Edson by a lopsided 110-93 which, under the 10-point must system, meant he gave Ali every round. Judge Earl Keel had it 108-102 and judge Ernie Taylor had it 107-104.

But suddenly, about midway in the last round, Ali hurt Ellis with a short right to the jaw, then drove him back with a left hook to the head that buckled Ellis' knees.

Ali leaped to the attack and began driving Ellis around the ring with straight lefts and short rights that left Ellis helpless.

Edson said he stopped it "because his eyes were bleary. There was no question in my mind he was hurt. Angelo Dundee was ready to come into the ring."

Dundee, who had been in Ali's corner as trainer in all his previous victories and for his loss to Frazier, was in Ellis' corner last night as manager and trainer.

In the fourth round, Ali, who was on his toes for almost the entire bout, staggered Ellis with a short right and then sent Ellis against the ropes with a left-right-left. Ellis escaped but was dazed and punching wildly at the end of the round.

In the 10th, Ali, who showed much more speed and crisper punching than he had his comeback victories over Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena and in his loss to Frazier, almost sent the game Ellis to the sky-blue covered canvass with a left hook and a right high on the head then had Ellis backing groggily around the ring.

Ali continued to bewilder Ellis in the 11th round, but contented himself with jabs and it looked like the 7-2 underdog would last the route before Ali unleashed his deadly attack in the 12th.

A crowd of 31,947 turned out for the fight which also was shown on closed-circuit television in about 200 locations in the United States and in the Vancouver and Toronto areas of Canada, and also was beamed via satellite to 34 other countries. A spokesman for the Astrodome said the live gate was not immediately available but that it "would be close to $300,000."

Ali, scoring his 32nd victory and 26th knockout in 33 pro fights, was guaranteed $450,000 against an option of 45 per cent of all income.

Ellis, losing for the seventh time in 27 pro fights but for only the second time in 17 bouts as a heavyweight, was guaranteed 20 per cent of all income. His other five losses came as a middleweight.

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