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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In August 1970, George Foreman met his first serious challenge in the form of George Chuvalo. By that time Chuvalo was the main gatekeeper of the heavyweight division, but still the toughest man Canada would ever produce and arguably had the best chin of any heavyweight in history. A slow, plodding fighter who always came forward should have been tailor-made for Foreman, who treated Chuvalo like a walking heavy bag for a time. In fact, it was Chuvalo who coined the famous phrase that Foreman "threw punches out windows" and described his shots as being like "a Mack truck coming at you at 50mph."

Eventually Foreman caught and staggered Chuvalo, who retreated to the ropes and covered up. Foreman unloaded with a fearsome barrage of bombs, leading the referee to stop the fight.

Should the fight have been stopped? Chuvalo himself said that he wasn't that badly hurt, and when the fight was stopped his head was clear enough to retort at the referee "What are you, nuts?" That seems to support Chuvalo. Also, from the footage, his legs don't look rubbery. Interestingly, Muhammad Ali adopted a similar tactic in his "rope-a-dope" fight plan - retreat to the ropes, let Foreman bomb away, and block most of the shots with your arms, elbows, and gloves. Foreman was utterly punched out after his barrage of Chuvalo, a fact he has since admitted. The mistake Chuvalo made was in not trying to move off the ropes, or throw at least a jab or two back at Foreman. Instead, he covered up and trusted in that he wasn't badly hurt as being enough to keep the fight from being stopped. He was as shocked as anyone that it was.

So what would have happened if Chuvalo had done more than cover up, which would have prevented the referee from stopping the fight? Moved along the ropes, thrown a punch or two, or attempted to spin out just as the referee came up?

Foreman was punched out, and if there is one thing Chuvalo had over Foreman it was stamina. Chuvalo would have had plenty left in the gas tank, while Foreman was sucking vapors. Chuvalo was also very strong and could hit, and Foreman was just as plodding as Chuvalo himself. It's not hard to see Chuvalo rallying after Foreman exhausting himself and knocking out the up-and-coming Olypmian.

So the fight becomes Chuvalo KO6 Foreman. What then?

Foreman was not as menacing going into the bout with Chuvalo as he would later become. In fact, it was the bout with Chuvalo that first attracted major attention to him - stopping George Chuvalo was no minor feat. Many would have said that old gatekeeper George Chuvalo had merely exposed Foreman, and it is only after Foreman started over and established himself that the defeat would look impressive. It might have earned Chuvalo a fight with another top contender, but he would not have gone on to rematch champion Joe Frazier.

So who could Chuvalo have fought? Ali was angling for his bout with Frazier, so no rematch with him. Chuvalo had already beaten Jerry Quarry, and was lucky to do that, so why take that risky fight?

Oscar Bonavena had narrowly beaten Chuvalo once, and just been beaten by Ali. Floyd Patterson had defeated Chuvalo several years before, but was still active in 1970 and now older and perhaps losing a step.

So what do you think? Which rematch would Chuvalo take towards the end of 1970, probably in Toronto - Bonavena or Patterson - and what would the result be?
 

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I think he would take the Patterson rematch and win by MD. The first fight was very good and close. If George had won the fight with Foreman, he would probably work his way up the ranks again to fight Frazier around 1971 or early 1972, and lose by another TKO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Also, what about Frazier?

I think he would take the Patterson rematch and win by MD. The first fight was very good and close. If George had won the fight with Foreman, he would probably work his way up the ranks again to fight Frazier around 1971 or early 1972, and lose by another TKO.
I agree. If Chuvalo had beaten Foreman, and then beaten Patterson in a rematch, he would have earned a shot at Frazier. Given that Frazier had little to fear from Chuvalo, he would have gotten it.

The flip side of this is if Foreman had been derailed by Chuvalo, then there would have been no "Down Goes Frazier!" fight in Jamaica. Negotiations with Ali for a rematch were ongoing. If Frazier hadn't been beaten by Foreman, more than likely Frazier vs. Ali II would have taken place for the world title... only this time Frazier would not be coming off of the physical trauma of being dribbled around the ring by Foreman. What might have happened then?

The fun part of exercises like this is you can see how one little call by a referee - stopping Foreman vs. Chuvalo when Chuvalo could have continued - changes everything that followed.
 

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Yes, it is. The ref has a huge impact on outcomes in situations like that, and could change boxing history with 1 call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, it is. The ref has a huge impact on outcomes in situations like that, and could change boxing history with 1 call.
In this particular case, a little patience by Arthur Mercante, or a little change in tactics by Chuvalo would have changed EVERYTHING.
 
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