Just over two years into his first reign as heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali danced and punched his way to victory in his first six title defenses. He was beginning to enter his prime as a fighter and started to add to his repertoire of skills. On November 14, 1966, he unveiled the “Ali Shuffle” for the first time in his showdown with Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the Houston Astrodome, and never looked more dominant. While many claimed it to be nothing more than another one of Ali’s gimmicks, the champ begged to differ. Claiming the blurring motion of his feet rapidly levitating above the canvas was designed to distract his opponent enough into looking down, Ali had Williams stunned all night as he hit him at will.
35,460 fans had the pleasure of witnessing the G.O.A.T. at his best in what many experts claim to be the finest performance of his career. Ali didn’t stop dancing for a second, continuously moving his feet and throwing lighting fast punches which were almost impossible to avoid. Even if Williams was himself in perfect shape, he could not have transformed the one man show that ended in the third round. The demolition was a event of mesmerizing boxing brilliance that was never to be repeated.