Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi feels a fighter’s strength of competition impacts the ongoing GOAT debate across combat sports.
Zahabi has produced some of the top talents in MMA history at his gym; including UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre. After a legendary run in the Octagon, St-Pierre is regarded by many as an all-time great, and arguably the greatest fighter to ever step foot in the cage.
A part of what makes Zahabi so successful as a coach is his knowledge and education of combat sports as a whole, including boxing. He’s impressed fight fans during multiple appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience with his intellect in and out of fighting.
Zahabi answered one follower’s question about the current GOAT debate in combat sports and feels there’s a big difference in the boxing cases of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.
Firas Zahabi Analyzes GOAT Fighter Debate
During a recent Q+A session on the Tristar Gym YouTube channel, Zahabi explained what he feels makes the greatest of all time stick out among the rest.
“When you’re the GOAT, you have to be a champion in a golden era,” Zahabi said. “Why is Muhammad Ali considered the GOAT? Because when he was fighting, when he was world champion, there was literally the time with the most talented fighters. If you look at Mike Tyson, he was also world champion, but people don’t really say he’s the GOAT in the boxing community. Nobody really say he’s the GOAT, even when he was in his prime.
“Forget when he went to jail, came back and had a bunch of losses. We’re talking about Mike Tyson in his prime when they couldn’t get a guy to fight him…why was he not considered the greatest of all-time? Only because Mike Tyson didn’t have any great rivals. He didn’t have a George Foreman, a Joe Frazier…he didn’t have a Ken Norton, a fighter that was also a phenom. The golden era of heavyweight boxing was the era of Muhammad Ali, and Muhammad Ali dominated that circuit.”
Tyson and Ali are both Boxing Hall of Famers after dominant reigns over the heavyweight division in the ring. After a long retirement, Tyson returned for an exhibition fight against fellow legend Roy Jones Jr., with the fight resulting in a draw.
The GOAT debate is a matter of perspective, and Zahabi puts a lot of weight on the caliber of fighters that legends defeat when it comes to discussing their place in history.
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