I grew up during the 70's when Ali was still the champ, but in his decline. I remember watching some of the last fights he fought, not realizing how great he really was because the fights that I saw were not so great. I was a kid, so I didn't really understand how he transcended boxing. Obviously as I got older and followed boxing very closely, I was able to re-watch the fights that everyone always talked about.
I remember when Tyson was at his best and all anyone would talk about was how he would end up being the greatest heavyweight in history when he was finally done, but we all know how that turned out. Anyway, even if Tyson never went to prison, never lost to Buster Douglas, didn't bite Evander's ear off and retired undefeated, he would never be mentioned in the same sentence as Ali in my opinion. Muhammad Ali fought some of the greatest heavyweight boxers in boxing history, and lost, only to come back better and win, time and time again. He had the heart of a champion. After winning, losing, and winning again against the competition he faced, he won the game of life and the sport of boxing. Tyson was a thug who beat up thugs... It was never even close.
Ali was the greatest heavyweight of all time. RIP Champ!