1975-05-16 Muhammad Ali w rsc 11 (15) Ron Lyle, Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD
1975-05-16 Muhammad Ali w rsc 11 (15) Ron Lyle, Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ferd Hernandez. In what was a poor performance by Ali’s standards he allowed Lyle (219) to dominate many of the rounds prior to the tenth and in that session the latter looked to be well on his way to victory as he plastered the champion without return. Coming into the 11th, two judges had Lyle ahead and the other had him even, but realising that his title could be slipping away Ali (224½) stepped up the tempo right from the bell. After catching the unbeaten Lyle with a big right to the jaw, Ali forced him to the ropes, and eventually a corner, where he pounded away at his now defenceless opponent. To his credit, Lyle refused to go down, but at 1.08 of the round the referee stopped the fight after a cracking left uppercut landed heavily.
Having gone 12 rounds with both Ali and Joe Frazier in 1973 non-title fights, the fourth-rated 6’4” Joe Bugner was selected for the champion’s next defence. While there was no doubting Bugner’s strength, toughness and excellent jab he was viewed as being too mechanical, but he had only lost six out of 58 contests and had beaten Manuel Ramos, Ray Patterson, Brian London, Chuck Wepner, Eduardo Corletti, Henry Cooper, Mac Foster and Jimmy Ellis.