Saturday, January 29, 2011

From 1971: The Fight of the Century

Maybe it was the Rocky music from last night, but I am on a boxing history kick!

EconomicDisconnect used to box (when I was young!) and when I work out I still prefer boxing training in my basement gym to any other type of work out. I hate MMA fighting, there is no real art to it. Before I get angry comments, I know there is and many people love it and I know how hard it is but it's nothing like the art and beauty of boxing.

From 1971: The Fight of the Century
Wikipedia usually has a great write up for most things but I found the entry for the first fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali a little weak. Here it is:
Fight of the Century

A better write up from East Side Boxing:
Fight of The Century: Still Nothing Close To It 33 (40 now) Years Later

Short version:
Muhammad Ali was controversial with his stance against the Vietnam War. He even refused military service. Ali had converted to the Muslim faith and changed his name from Cassius Clay. Ali had been stripped of his title over the long delay and his military service issues. Joe Frazier won a long tournament to win the title. Frazier was respected and admired for his quite workman-like style.

After a long layoff, Ali was set to fight Frazier. The whole world was watching. The immortal Don Dunphy has the call and here is the fight in 4 parts by the wonder that is YouTube.

Rounds 1-3

Ali started fast and won all 3 rounds on my card.

Rounds 4-7

Frazier comes alive a bit and the fight heats up. A left hook from Frazier with 37 seconds left in the 4th round would foreshadow later events.

Rounds 8-11

The meat of the fight. The pace picks up and it is clear Frazier is wearing Ali down. Ali had just won a gruelling fight against a very good fighter, Oscar Bonavena (KO 15) and it becomes clear Ali is running out of gas. Still, in round 9 Ali almost ended the fight. The last 30 seconds of round 9 would have stopped any other fighter, just unreal how Frazier stayed upright! Flip the table and Frazier was so close to stopping Ali in the 11th round, so close. Watch the last 1:08 of round 11 to see. Ali was out on his feet.

Rounds 12-15

Ali composes himself and wins round 14 big. But then the 15th starts and what a finish! While leading on all cards, Frazier summons a gargantuan left hook to begin round 15 and puts Ali flat! What a shot. This round cements the win for Frazier. I had it scored 9 rounds to 6, but one judge gave Frazier 11 of 15 rounds which was a bit much.

A few pictures of the fight:

What an amazing contest. 40 years later and I still spool these clips up late night and watch the fight.

Have a good night.


GawainsGhost said...

I watched that fight. I was a huge boxing fan in the 70s. Unfortunately, there were no boxing down here at the time.

So, my father enrolled me first in Judo then in Tae Kwan Do. I fought in a couple of tournaments. At this one, some bully who thought he was all that kept taking cheap shots. I turned to the ref, and he wouldn't do anything about it. Okay.

Next round, I spun around, hit the bully in the face with a wheel kick, broke his nose and knocked him out cold. Then got disqualified. A small price to pay for victory.

getyourselfconnected said...

Don't want to tell you how many fights amateur or other I have been in. Love the spirit and fire!

One time I got hit so hard I could not see, for like 30 seconds! I held and delayed! I got better and KO'd the guy in the 3rd round. They actually carried him out on a stretcher!

Anonymous said...

There is another story to the Ali Frazier fights. Ali was extremely nasty and demeaning to Frazier in public. Calling him a Gorilla, Stupid, an Uncle Tom and so on.

Needless to say Frazier did not like it.

This is well covered in a documentary about the fights, notably the Thrilla in Manilla.

Frazier took perverse pleasure later in life for the beatings he gave Ali, which he believes contributed to Ali's early Parkinsons.