Scheduled for 15 rounds: Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki on 25 June 1976 in Tokyo, Japan
Ali didn’t bother to wear a mouthpiece. During the match, Inoki threw a knee, an elbow, kicks from his back and a lot of leg sweeps. Ali complained about the multiple low blows to the groin area. But referee Judo Gene LeBell waited until the 13th round to make point deductions.
This exhibition fight took place a few weeks away from the start of his training camp to prepare for Ken Norton.
At the end of the 15 rounds, Ali told Frank during the post-fight interview, “No loss to prestige, if I lost that fight…Ken Norton was hoping I wouldn’t get hurt so he could get his check.”
If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
It looks ridiculous to see each man only play to his strengths. Watching this match made me appreciate the hard work and effort the UFC, MMA fighters, local fight promotions, BJJ and kickboxing schools have done.
Even the trash-talking has gotten better. There was a lot of taunting by Heavyweight Champion of the World, Muhammad Ali, calling Heavyweight Champion of the World wrestler, Antonio Inoki girly, a sissy, questioning his manhood and dancing around him, while Inoki remained on his back on the mat. throwing punishing kicks.
The Ali Shuffle happened. But no punches were thrown by either man through the first 6 rounds.
Chopping Down the Tree
Inoki’s choice of weapon: leg sweeps and kicks to the groin and shins.
Muhammad’s shins bore the brunt of Inoki’s kicking attacks from his back. Jerry, one of the commentators said in a rather concerned voice, “I don’t like the look of Mohammad Ali’s left leg, Frank. It is badly bruised, it is red, it is raw.I don’t know how those beautiful legs of Muhammad are going to take those kicks.”
Referee, Judo Gene LeBell allowed Ali to suffer multiple groin shots before telling Inoki to stop. Judo Gene made a valiant effort to keep up and get between the fighters when necessary. It looked like he was making up the rules as the fight went on. No holding the ropes! But Ali needed to hold the ropes to keep from getting taken down.
At one point in the fight, Judo Gene rescued Ali from being slammed on the mat. Ali, wisely, held onto the ropes.
Something’s Wrong With Inoki’s Shoe Because It’s Cutting Ali’s Legs
The wrestling boot with the missing eyelet is taped to avoid any more blood-letting. Then more tape on the soles, but the tape won’t stay stuck.
The crowd cheered, shouting the boxing champion’s name. But he’s got to land a punch. “Inoki has kept his head out of Ali’s range for the entire match,” Commentator Frank said at the end of round 9.
Six more rounds to go. This is just painful to watch Ali getting kicked over and over. The commentators and his corner seemed worried about him getting injured for the sake of this strange exhibition match.
Speaking of Ali’s corner, I swear I saw Don King with black hair — like jet black. Same style though.
Points deducted, finally, after round 13 for the low blows.
And then, a good punch in the 14th round, a hard left, that prompted commentator Jerry to say, “that took some of the starch” out of Inoki.
After 15 Rounds: ‘He gave me no chance to throw a punch’
Post-fight: Mohammed Ali said, “This proves that I was right. A wrassler will not stand a chance with a boxer. I only landed two left jabs in 15 rounds. He gave me no chance to throw a punch…He showed fear respecting my punching ability…I never expected him to fight on the floor.”
But Inoki is a wrestler. What else was he going to do? He kicked, from the floor.
I don’t think Inoki took much damage. Ali played off his injuries saying he just needed a couple of weeks to heal. “I can’t fight my style with a man who stays on the floor, like a sissy. That style fighter could only beat a fighter who can’t dance and who’s not in condition. You could call that a draw.”
And in the immortal words of long-suffering Jerry, who seemed to worry throughout this event, “This audience has just experienced something they’ve never seen before and will never see again.”
Let’s hope not. My boxing knowledge is limited, but I’m having fun watching and learning. Thank you for the video @BoxingHalloFame
At least Conor McGregor can box.
Originally published by me on: bloodyelbow\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.