Fifty years ago, Muhammad Ali fought one of his greatest fights on Nov. 14, 1966, against Cleveland Williams. Admittedly, Williams, at age 33 and still carrying a bullet from a police shooting the year before, was no longer the fearsome puncher who had earned the nickname Big Cat and engaged in two slugfests with a prime Sonny Liston. But it hardly mattered. Williams was simply a large body against whom the young Ali—just 24—could demonstrate his astonishing artistry. That night in the Astrodome, Ali dazzled with speed, grace and cascades of spectacular precision punching to score a third-round TKO. It is hard to imagine any heavyweight in history keeping up with the Ali of that night.

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