Editor’s note: “From the Action archive” is an occasional feature where we’ll look back at some of Lake Tahoe Action’s past coverage. We start with “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, and his defeat of Bob Foster in November 1972 at Sahara Tahoe, now the Horizon Casino Resort.
Light heavyweight champion Bob Foster was not awarded a victory on Nov. 21, 1972, when he squared off against Muhammad Ali at the Sahara Tahoe.
The New Mexico native did accomplish something no boxer had ever done in Ali’s 40 previous professional fights — he cut him.
Foster hit Ali with a hard left in the fourth round and opened up a cut beneath Ali’s left eye that required five stitches to close.
It would be one of the few high points for Foster during the lopsided fight. Ali’s training regime leading up to the fight included entertaining guests at Sahara Tahoe and a comedic spar with Bill Cosby, whom was also performing at the South Shore at the time. But, when the bell rang, Ali dazzled the approximately 2,000 onlookers with his sped and strength, according to a recap of the fight in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
“After taunting the light heavyweight champion during the first four rounds, Ali came out like a battering ram in the fifth, sending Foster to the canvas four times,” wrote Tribune Sports Editor Carl Janowitz following the fight.
The match, which is available on YouTube, came to an end at 40 seconds into the eighth round.
“After a barrage of jabs, Ali connected with a right cross and this time Foster was through,” Janowitz wrote. “He tried to get up when the count reached seven but just rolled over as the crowd roared its approval.”
Following the fight, Ali sounded what was then a familiar refrain, calling out Joe Frazier. Frazier became the first to defeat Ali in a professional match almost two years earlier when he was awarded the unanimous decision over Ali during “The Fight of the Century.” The two would meet twice more in the ring, in New York City in January 1974 and the “The Thrilla in Manilla” in the Phillippines in October 1975. Ali was victorious in both bouts.