The Time Bruce Lee Said Muhammad Ali Would “Kill” Him

Since time immemorial, science fiction and sports fans alike have pondered the most epic hypothetical battle of all time: Who would win in a fight, Bruce Lee or Muhammad Ali? Both men possessed wildly different fighting techniques and physical attributes. At their primes, Ali stood stood 6’3″ and weighed 210 lbs while Lee stood 5’7″ and weighed 145 lbs.

There’s a wide array of predictions surrounding the fictional battle on numerous boxing and martial arts forums, but one of the most relevant opinions comes from Bruce Lee himself. In the book The Making of Enter the Dragon, director Robert Clouse recalled a pretty amazing anecdote during the filming of the cult classic in the early 1970s, that explained how Lee thought a match against Ali would end… his life:

Another time Yeung, aka (Bolo) went to see Bruce at Golden Harvest Studios. Bruce was screening a Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) documentary. Ali was world heavyweight champion at the time and Bruce saw him as the greatest fighter of them all. The documentary showed Ali in several of his fights. Bruce set up a wide full-length mirror to reflect Ali’s image from the screen. Bruce was looking into the mirror, moving along with Ali.

Bruce’s right hand followed Ali’s right hand, Ali’s left foot followed Bruce’s left foot. Bruce was fighting in Ali’s shoes. “Everybody says I must fight Ali some day.” Bruce said, “I’m studying every move he makes. I’m getting to know how he thinks and moves.” Bruce knew he could never win a fight against Ali “Look at my hand,” he said. “That’s a little Chinese hand. He’d kill me.”

RIP: The Greatest of All Time.

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