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By Jim Amato
In April of 1967, Jimmy Ellis pounded out a fifteen round decision over Jerry Quarry to win the vacant W.B.A. heavyweight championship. In March of 1968, Joe Frazier halted Buster Mathis to win heavyweight title recognition in New York State. Two months later Bob Foster knocked out the great Dick Tiger to capture the light heavyweight crown. Foster felt the big money was in the heavyweight division and he began to challenge the champions. Frazier actively defended his title turning back Manuel Ramos, Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonevena, and Dave Zyglewicz. Ellis on the other hand made only one defense, a disputed verdict over ex-champion Floyd Patterson. Proposed matches for Jimmy against Henry Cooper and Gregorio Peralta never materialized. By the time Ellis met Frazier in February of 1970 to unify the crown, the ring rust had settled in. After Frazier destroyed Ellis he would go on to meet Foster later on that year with disastrous results for Bob.
What if during his period of idleness before the Frazier debate had Ellis entertained Foster’s challenge? Foster as we would find out could not handle Frazier’s power, strength, and aggression. How would he have fared against a master boxer like Ellis? It may have gone something like this …