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One thing Tyson and Ali have in common is the insurmountable compassion they had for their opponents — despite any pre-fight vitriol they may have exchanged. I’m beginning to think this trait is necessary for truly great fighters, or maybe for fighters in general. Notably, Ali also has the clarity of mind, during the fight, to consider the political implications of knocking out (and potentially killing) Mathis. Considering some of Ali’s previous fights though, it’s debatable whether this was an act of compassion or self-preservation; it’s rare to see Ali even shake hands with his opponents after his wins. However, following his 3-year hiatus from boxing after refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, he seems to have exercised a bit more compassion in the ring — going so far as to call the referee over in his second fight against a clearly debilitated Jerry Quarry.