The venue was Madison Square Garden in New York and the fight date was 8th March 1971. Muhammad Ali had previously had 31 fights and had not lost any of them. Unfortunately, Apostille NYC he lost his title and his boxing licence because of his refusal to enlist in the army and fight in Vietnam. He refused on religious grounds and he famously said he had no quarrel with the Vietnamese. Fight Night Champion PC
Joe Frazier won the title vacated by Ali and remained the champion up to this fight. His record was 26 fights, 26 wins, 23 inside the distance.
The build up to the fight was almost as entertaining as the fight itself. The two fighters could hardly have been more opposite, both in fighting style and in character. Joe was a man of few words with a rugged and bullish style in the ring. Ali, on the other hand, was a more scientific style of boxer who had lightning quick hand speed and just as quick on his feet. He invented what has become known as the Ali shuffle. Dubai Web Design Company
He was just as quick with his mouth. He constantly insulted Joe Frazier during the build up, saying he was ugly and that he could box Frazier in his sleep. He also liked to recite poetry. When asked by Harry Carpenter what he would do if he lost to Frazier, his quick fire reply was “How can I lose with the stuff I use?”.
The night of the fight arrived. There were many famous faces in the audience that included Woody Allen and Burt Lancaster. Even the paparazzi were famous, or at least one of them. One ringside photographer was none other than a certain Francis Albert Sinatra.
It was now time for the fight to begin; the bell rang for round one. Ali was quick out of the blocks and scored well with quick left jabs into Frazier’s face. He frustrated Frazier by tying him up at close quarters. He was showing off to the crowd a lot and shook his head dismissively whenever Frazier tried to land a blow. The second round followed the same pattern, and then came the third.
Worryingly for Ali, Joe was starting to get past the jabs with his bulling style and was throwing punishing shots into Ali’s body. Frazier wouldn’t take a backward step and he took the fourth round also. C8 Corvette
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The middle rounds of the fight saw Ali re-establish himself with his long range style evading Frazier’s efforts. He landed some heavy punches, crunching into Frazier’s head, but Joe was tough and took them well.
Ali had set a furious pace and was now finding it hard to maintain. He started to tire. Frazier, on the other hand, was revelling in it. He edged ahead of Ali on two of the three judge’s cards. In the 11th, Frazier was coming for Ali and he resorted to leaning back on the ropes to evade Frazier’s punches, except for one ferocious left hook that caught him flush and he desperately hung on for the rest of the round. The referee checked on his condition at the end of the round.
For the next two rounds, Frazier continued to take the fight to Ali and he won both rounds. In the 14th, a tired Ali somehow managed to find something extra and he rallied to produce an all or nothing effort to beat Frazier, but Joe wouldn’t go away.
The 15th and final round saw Frazier produce the punch of the fight to put Ali on the seat of his pants. The famous Frazier left hook landed plum on the side of Ali’s face to put him down. Ali got up straight away and boxed on, but the knockdown removed any doubts about what the outcome would be.
When the final bell sounded, Frazier grinned at Ali, he knew he had won. In the press conference afterwards, Ali was more respectful to Frazier, saying he was tougher than he thought he was. He would go on to have his revenge over Frazier in two subsequent fights, but for now, the night belonged to Joe Frazier, and what a night it was.