In the August 22, 1997 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, there is a short filler-piece on the sports page titled “Computer proof that Ali was greatest.”
Strangely, Muhammad Ali is not mentioned in the article. The article focuses on a 100-bout “what-if” simulation of Larry Holmes versus Rocky Marciano using APBA Pro Boxing for Windows. Jim Trunzo of Comp-U-Sport is quoted in the piece. Trunzo (along with his brother Tom) was the designer of the APBA Pro Boxing and the architect behind the now-legendary Title Bout game published by Avalon Hill in the 1970’s.
The result of the simulation has Holmes coming out on top of Marciano, with a 56-39-5 record against the champion who, in real life, went undefeated for his career.
Perhaps the most perplexing and interesting part of this short piece, however, is the following passage at the end:
“The Trunzos are hip enough to reach beyond boxing to create mythical fights matching celebrities. How, someone wondered, would a barroom brawl turn out pairing Charles Barkley and Billy Martin, two celebrated night riders?
In the Comp-U-Sport scenario they meet at a bar, insults turn to push, push turns to shove, with Martin throwing the first punch, the kind of blow that floored marshmallow salesmen.
In the fourth, a desperate Martin nails Barkley below the belt. Barkley responds with a fury and knocks down Martin twice, ending the fight. “Who’s the man?” Barkley shouts. Martin, bleary-eyed, stares back and says, “Mickey Mantle would have cleaned your clock.”