Question about Robert Clouse's Comment about Lee and Ali

Question about Robert Clouse's Comment about Lee and Ali

Joined: October 17th, 2017, 5:36 am

October 27th, 2017, 5:32 am #1

I've been looking online "Who would win in a fight between Ali and Lee," and a couple of sites cite the Robert Clouse book, where he reports that Bolo reported: "Bruce said that Ali would have killed him." Now, has there been an corroboration on this? I know the controversy that Bob Wall has said that Clouse was inventing a feud between him and Bruce, so am wondering if Clouse invented this story? Also, I would doubt Bruce would say such a thing, nor believe it. He had extensive real world experience. There are several heavyweight champs who admit that in a street fight they could lose. One said, "That poking in the eyes, I don't want any part of that!" One can look at the Ali vs. Inoki (wrestler) bout, and Ali does get unbalanced at times; at times he is in trouble and the referee breaks it up. It's interesting that Ali does use some kicks against Inoki who spends much of the time on the mat; and that his footwork enables him to avoid most of the kicks. However, Inoki is far below the skill level of Bruce Lee; so even in an exhibition bout, the odds go to Bruce vs. Ali. In a real street fight, the odds would be far more on Lee's side. Another thing that's galling is that Rhoda Rossey says that BL was just a movie actor, and that Ali would destroy him in a real fight. Wow, talk about revisionist historians....
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Joined: September 9th, 2016, 12:03 pm

October 27th, 2017, 9:59 am #2

Anyone who has trained in more than one martial arts can answer that question in my opinion. Assuming of course he/she knows that Bruce lee was a real martial artist. Legit.
A boxer is like a fish out of water when he has to deal with other things as well. Pure talent is not enough.
I remember the first time I got kicked in the leg, will never forget that feeling. Used to wake up at night with my thigh throbbing. Or hit with a liver shot,
the first time I got grabbed and dropped by a Judo person and the first time I was on the ground. Different planets. Add to that insane speed and enough power and you have a 'holy terror' .
Of course if Ali did all that Bruce did it would be different but he did not travel that road.
Apples and oranges.
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Joined: April 1st, 2008, 1:54 pm

October 29th, 2017, 4:33 pm #3

For me, Bruce Lee is the best martial artist of all time and a movie star. But he is not a fighter.

Full contact "sparring" with students or the long list of points fighters who were around in Lee's era does not grant him any kind of resume in that regard. People don't like hearing that, but it's demonstrable.

Now, this is not to say that Lee couldn't throw down. That would just be silly. However, there are so many things we don't know. How good was his gas tank in a serious fight? Could he take a good shot? I don't give a **** if Shieh Kien punched him on the set of Enter the Dragon. Could he take a direct hit from a fighter who has trained for years?

People talk about Lee's speed and talent, which was incredible, but he didn't use his skills for the purposes of ring combat. Would his skills work against a seasoned professional intent on smashing him to bits? What would his timing be like if he's not accustomed to fighting regularly? These are all legitimate questions.

And as much as he believed in grappling and new all the moves. How good was he at it? Who did he compete against? Who did he beat? Who vouches for him and says that he was one of the best? How often did Lee engage in those types of encounters? Who did he tap out?

In a boxing ring, Muhammad Ali, or any professional worth his salt for that matter, would smash Lee to bits. Call it no contest. Lee's boxing skills were novice level.

On the street, I'd edge to Lee because one sidekick to the knee cap cripples Ali. But, what if he misses and catches a punch to the head? It is almost impossible to conceive what one solid shot from a 215-pound heavyweight does to a 5-foot-7 inch guy who weighs 135 pounds. You could literally be talking about a fatality and Ali wasn't even known as a puncher.

Separating the facts from the fancy on this is both simple and complex. Most of it is obvious, but if you wear rose-tinted glasses on this subject, you'll always believe that Lee was unbeatable.

I wouldn't have given him any chance whatsoever against the likes of Benny Urquidez back in the day or the guys that are around now. How can you? He wasn't a fighter and had no serious involvement in combat sports? I'm not going to make **** up on this. That's just the truth.

Potential wise? If Lee was trained for combat and put forth the type of dedication and desire that he exhibited in his true areas of excellence (which were the martial arts and movie-making) then I think Lee had the potential to be a sensational fighter. He had all the tools to be great and nobody can dispute that.

In reality though, it's ifs and maybes.
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Joined: September 9th, 2016, 12:03 pm

October 29th, 2017, 4:55 pm #4

generally I agree with you. A few things worth mentioning though. All one can do is be great in their own era. Many boxing critics use that as a criterion to judge the greatest boxers . Another thing is and I am not very knowledgeable at this , from what I hear he was an expert at what they call , "one motion till the end". intercept, trap (if have to),headbutts knees elbows or locks or drops or breaks etc etc etc..That might catch even the most seasoned MMA fighters by surprise.
..But I agree no one can know for sure.,
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Joined: January 17th, 2014, 1:19 am

October 31st, 2017, 3:26 am #5

For me, Bruce Lee is the best martial artist of all time and a movie star. But he is not a fighter.

Full contact "sparring" with students or the long list of points fighters who were around in Lee's era does not grant him any kind of resume in that regard. People don't like hearing that, but it's demonstrable.

Now, this is not to say that Lee couldn't throw down. That would just be silly. However, there are so many things we don't know. How good was his gas tank in a serious fight? Could he take a good shot? I don't give a **** if Shieh Kien punched him on the set of Enter the Dragon. Could he take a direct hit from a fighter who has trained for years?

People talk about Lee's speed and talent, which was incredible, but he didn't use his skills for the purposes of ring combat. Would his skills work against a seasoned professional intent on smashing him to bits? What would his timing be like if he's not accustomed to fighting regularly? These are all legitimate questions.

And as much as he believed in grappling and new all the moves. How good was he at it? Who did he compete against? Who did he beat? Who vouches for him and says that he was one of the best? How often did Lee engage in those types of encounters? Who did he tap out?

In a boxing ring, Muhammad Ali, or any professional worth his salt for that matter, would smash Lee to bits. Call it no contest. Lee's boxing skills were novice level.

On the street, I'd edge to Lee because one sidekick to the knee cap cripples Ali. But, what if he misses and catches a punch to the head? It is almost impossible to conceive what one solid shot from a 215-pound heavyweight does to a 5-foot-7 inch guy who weighs 135 pounds. You could literally be talking about a fatality and Ali wasn't even known as a puncher.

Separating the facts from the fancy on this is both simple and complex. Most of it is obvious, but if you wear rose-tinted glasses on this subject, you'll always believe that Lee was unbeatable.

I wouldn't have given him any chance whatsoever against the likes of Benny Urquidez back in the day or the guys that are around now. How can you? He wasn't a fighter and had no serious involvement in combat sports? I'm not going to make **** up on this. That's just the truth.

Potential wise? If Lee was trained for combat and put forth the type of dedication and desire that he exhibited in his true areas of excellence (which were the martial arts and movie-making) then I think Lee had the potential to be a sensational fighter. He had all the tools to be great and nobody can dispute that.

In reality though, it's ifs and maybes.
You bring up many good points that have debated for decades, but at the same time, ring combat isn't fighting either. Joe Lewis said Bruce Lee could have developed into a "world class" boxer, but also brought up that he had a skinny neck and questioned whether he could have taken a big punch.
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Joined: April 1st, 2008, 1:54 pm

November 1st, 2017, 1:22 am #6

Cheers pal.

What I will say is that top level ring combat is still rougher/ tougher than anything Lee encountered on a regular basis.

Granted that was by choice, but his ability to cope in such an environment has to be questioned due largely to the obvious intangibles.

As I said though, he's not the type to be limited or restricted. Bruce Lee would have been a handful for anyone on the street and that's what I'll always believe.
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Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 6:04 pm

November 2nd, 2017, 2:05 pm #7

Whether it be Ali, or Tyson or Chuck Liddell, these guys fight under rules and regulations, so to put Lee in with these guys would totally restrict what he actually practised. The Bruce Lee we all know and love is from what we can see in his movies which were of course fictional, no hiding that fact AND in fact Lee would be the first to agree with that statement.

With the way Lee trained outside of the movie fighting style, was basically a direct and speed related principal, to attack the nearest target with his nearest weapon, and no matter how big or strong an opponent may be, a finger jab to the eye or a crippling kick to the knee-cap would incapacitate Goliath.

So to compare Lee with the competition fighters (of whom I am a great follower such as Benny Urquidez) is not really worth trying to discuss, because it would be a bit like comparing a tennis player with a squash player - two different things all together. But remember one thing: Speed Kills!! and Lee = Speed.

On a last note, lets remember that Lee was a mortal human being, but one that strived for maximum potential in his martial art, which for him wasn't about rules and regulations. In other words, the best weapon for an exponent of JKD is a Colt 45 :) .....if the situation calls for it, then use it, because its not about championship belts or trophies, its about survival.

SK
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Joined: April 1st, 2008, 1:54 pm

November 2nd, 2017, 6:13 pm #8

"So to compare Lee with the competition fighters (of whom I am a great follower such as Benny Urquidez) is not really worth trying to discuss, because it would be a bit like comparing a tennis player with a squash player - two different things all together. But remember one thing: Speed Kills!! and Lee = Speed."

You were doing okay until the last sentence, Steve. You can't say Lee doesn't fit in when it comes to competitive combat sport but at the same time say he was that fast you never know. We do know. Competition at it's hardest might "just" be competition, but the fighter is still taking punishment and giving it back. Lee wasn't a fighter, he was a martial artist. This is where the mythology about Bruce Lee comes in.

If he's not accustomed to taking "serious" whacks from top level guys trained specifically for two-way combat, then he's in trouble. That's in a ring, in an octagon, or on the street. If he gets tagged, he could go out like a porch light. In fighting, you have to maintain your composure through rough patches while continuing to execute. It takes years to get that down. How anyone can say Lee is beyond these laws is beyond me? I did full contact for longer than I care to remember and I used to get a charge when I got hit or I bled. I took a few years off, went back to it, got my head snapped back a few times and was close to shouting for my mother!

Also, Lee needs to be able to land with finger jabs. He need to be able to land with sidekicks to the kneecap. He might not miss a shot in a movie, but do we know how effective he'd be if a superbly talented fighter, capable of opening an opponent up, was coming after him? Someone with a working knowledge of angles, feints and judgment of distance. We don't know! And then the intangibles. Could he take a punch? Was his engine designed for a long drawn out battle. Being quick and talented isn't enough; not for Bruce Lee, not for anyone.

The best you can say about Lee was that he had unlimited potential when it came to real combat.
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Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 6:04 pm

November 3rd, 2017, 12:26 am #9

Sorry you have lost me with that piece my friend. I appreciate the fact you have done 'full contact' and I have trained fighters for over 30 yrs with a few winning legitimate World titles ( WKA, ISKA etc ) so I do understand the mechanics of competition fighters, as i have created many. But this isn't real fighting, as I stated it has rules and regulations, and although I agree the trained fighter will have a much better perception of timing / distance etc etc, this still doesn't mean they would be effective in a street fight. I know and have trained beside for example a few professional boxers, and one for example ( that I shall not name) who fought for the Matchroom stable was a very good fighters and holder of several belts got his arse handed to him in a street fight a few years back. So it doesn't matter whether somebody is a trained fighter in the ring that they would necessarily fair well in a 'real fight.' Lee wasn't a superman, but he was certainly a competent martial artist who cut out the ******** and trained for the street as best anybody could. You say could he take a punch? Well, with all due respect can you? can I? can anyone? or shall we say it all depends who is hitting them. Lee's whole approach was to strike fast and direct, to intercept, hence my comment - Speed kills, and Lee if anything was 'super fast'......

This is a subject we all could discuss till the cows come home I suppose, but we all have our opinions and all should be respected.

Best,
SK
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Joined: November 3rd, 2017, 1:37 am

November 3rd, 2017, 3:14 am #10

"So to compare Lee with the competition fighters (of whom I am a great follower such as Benny Urquidez) is not really worth trying to discuss, because it would be a bit like comparing a tennis player with a squash player - two different things all together. But remember one thing: Speed Kills!! and Lee = Speed."

You were doing okay until the last sentence, Steve. You can't say Lee doesn't fit in when it comes to competitive combat sport but at the same time say he was that fast you never know. We do know. Competition at it's hardest might "just" be competition, but the fighter is still taking punishment and giving it back. Lee wasn't a fighter, he was a martial artist. This is where the mythology about Bruce Lee comes in.

If he's not accustomed to taking "serious" whacks from top level guys trained specifically for two-way combat, then he's in trouble. That's in a ring, in an octagon, or on the street. If he gets tagged, he could go out like a porch light. In fighting, you have to maintain your composure through rough patches while continuing to execute. It takes years to get that down. How anyone can say Lee is beyond these laws is beyond me? I did full contact for longer than I care to remember and I used to get a charge when I got hit or I bled. I took a few years off, went back to it, got my head snapped back a few times and was close to shouting for my mother!

Also, Lee needs to be able to land with finger jabs. He need to be able to land with sidekicks to the kneecap. He might not miss a shot in a movie, but do we know how effective he'd be if a superbly talented fighter, capable of opening an opponent up, was coming after him? Someone with a working knowledge of angles, feints and judgment of distance. We don't know! And then the intangibles. Could he take a punch? Was his engine designed for a long drawn out battle. Being quick and talented isn't enough; not for Bruce Lee, not for anyone.

The best you can say about Lee was that he had unlimited potential when it came to real combat.
There are two separate issues at play. In Lee's era, only Jim Harrison can hold a candle to Bruce Lee in regards to martial artists with street fighting experience. Lee's nickname in high school was "King Gorilla," and Yip Man called Bruce "fighting crazy." In his last street fight in Hong Kong, Bruce broke both of his opponents arms and his shin bone. This led to law enforcement knocking at his parent's door and was a factor in Bruce being put on a boat bound for the United States.

Bruce continued his street fighting ways in Seattle which included several fights with student Skip Ellsworth in tow. Bruce then destroyed 2nd degree black belt Yoichi Nakachi in 11 seconds at a local YMCA handball court. Students Jesse Glover and Ed Hart were present for that destruction. Lee's pattern of not backing down from a real world challenge continued for the rest of his life as evidenced by his fistic schooling of an extra/triad member on the set of Enter The Dragon.

The other issue will always contain conjecture, but there are indications that he would have done pretty well in the ring. Without any training in boxing, Bruce defeated 3 time high school boxing champ Gary Elms. Students James DeMile, Leo Fong, and Dan Lee were accomplished amateur boxers and they influenced Bruce into designating boxing as being one of JKD's 3 main arts. In 1969, professional boxer Joey Orbillo watched Bruce hitting the speed and slip bag at a gym in Los Angeles. Orbillo commented to a friend, "Give me a year, and I could make that guy a lightweight contender."

Bruce then began to hit the heavy bag and Orbillo stated, "Give me a year, and I could make him the lightweight champion." A year later, Orbillo began to prepare Joe Lewis for full contact fighting by training him in the Sweet Science. Does this prove that Bruce Lee would have been a successful boxer or kickboxer? No, but it speaks to the fact that he had the tools to succeed in the ring and according to anyone who trained with him, he was a fierce competitor and possibly the best conditioned athlete on the planet.

A few interesting tidbits regarding the Bruce Lee/Muhammad Ali comparison. Bruce told both Yang Sze and student Bob Bremer that Ali would "kill" him in the ring. When asked by Bremer how he would cope with Ali in a street fight, Bruce stated "since I could use the eye jab, I would kick his ***."
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