This article provides some color about Ron Lyle, the legendary Denver heavyweight, whose biography, Off The Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story, is now available from Hamilcar Publications. This book is a revised edition, with a new foreword by Showtime boxing analyst and International Boxing Hall of Fame member, Al Bernstein. Available on Amazon >> | B&N Online >> | Amazon UK >> | IndieBound.org >>
Seventies heavyweight contender Ron Lyle was fearless in the ring and magnetic outside it. He learned to box serving a seven-year sentence for murder in the Canon City Penitentiary, located an hour south of his hometown of Denver. While there he was nearly shanked to death by another inmate and sent to the hole to recuperate for his trouble. His determination never diminished, though. And when he got out, he realized a vision he’d had in prison when he fought Muhammad Ali for the undisputed heavyweight title in 1975. A fight with George Foreman in 1976 cemented Ron’s legacy. In a back and forth battle, considered one of the greatest in heavyweight history, Ron rocked Foreman and nearly knocked him out in round four, one of the greatest rounds in history. Foreman later said that the punishment he took in the “The Rumble in the Jungle” felt like getting a flu shot compared to what he endured facing Lyle.
Below is a selection of highlight videos, interviews, and documentaries featuring Ron. See also our piece that covers his life and legacy,”One Bad Motherf*cker,” written by our publisher, Kyle Sarofeen.
“Ron Lyle: Brutal Puncher”
We featured Dean Peters’s YouTube channel, haNZAgod, in a recent piece on our site, “Three Must-See Highlight Channels on YouTube.” And we did so with good reason. His videos are superb. This one begins with a clip of a George Foreman interview in which he says, “Only certain guys can do that. Ron Lyle was one guy who could hit you so hard it didn’t hurt. No one else did.”
“Ron Lyle Tribute”
This tribute is set to Moby’s “Natural Blues,” which works well. It also starts with Ron starching a Russian in ‘71, which also works well. Long live the Cold War.
60 Minutes Segment (1971): “Ali, Frazier,… and Lyle?”
Mike Wallace interviewed Lyle for this segment, which aired six days before “The Fight of the Century,” Ali-Frazier I. Includes footage of Lyle traveling to both camps, sparring with Ali at his, and Ken Norton at Frazier’s. Frazier, for whatever reason, thought Lyle too green to get in the ring with. Ron also returns to Canon City and visits inmates he served time with.
Ron Lyle versus Muhammad Ali: ABC Wide World Sports Pre-fight Show
Wide World of Sports lead-in to Lyle-Ali. The music and the yellow jackets brings some of us straight back.
Ron Lyle versus Muhammad Ali: Full Fight
Ron beat Ali beat on points for ten rounds. He fell short of the dream he’d had at Canon City, but Ali was Ali. No shame there.
Ron Lyle versus Earnie Shavers: Full Fight
Earnie Shavers said if he didn’t get into boxing he would have been an assassin. On this night, Lyle was one with gloves on. His greatest victory.
“George Foreman versus Ron Lyle (Full Fight Highlights): Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object.”
“There’s no fear in Lyle at all. Good punching power in both hands.”–Howard Cosell
Ron Lyle versus George Foreman: Full Fight
Search for “Ron Lyle” on Twitter and no more than one or two weeks passes without someone talking about this fight. Here it is, the “One for the Ages”:
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