As a heavyweight, a class Dokes grew into just a few months ago, he has had only 16 fights and he has won them all. He has a 31-inch waist, which makes him look at least 10 pounds lighter than he is. But within a year he hopes to be two inches taller and 10 to 13 pounds heavier.
"I'm not much of a puncher now, but I don't think I'll be much of one no matter how big I get," Dokes says. "Power thrills, but my speed kills. And that's me, Michael Dokes, talking, not Ali. People say I'm trying to be like him. That's not true. Sure, I've studied him. But I studied a lot of other fighters, too. I looked at Sugar Ray for uppercuts and at Joe Frazier for a left hook. And Jersey Joe Walcott. If you look at Walcott films, you got to know that Ali must have been looking at them same films a long time ago. Jersey Joe was a mover and a groover long before Ali came on the scene. But nobody said Ali was trying to be another Walcott."
Like Ali, Dokes does not permit himself many serious moments in public. But there are some. "They say I idolize Ali," he says. "That's not true. The only person I ever idolized was Tap Harris, my stepbrother. He was a great fighter, and he'd be a champion now, except he got a bad break three years ago. Got sent to the joint. He killed a person. That's why I'm going to be champion. Then I'll have the bread to try and help Tap. And I'm just lucky that I'm a great fighter so it will happen."
Who knows? If he does whip Stevenson in Mexico City maybe it will happen. After all, not everyone took Ali seriously when he was 17.