Oct 1-1975: The Greatest Rivalry in Boxing History Culminates with a Thrilla

Oct 1-1975: The Greatest Rivalry in Boxing History Culminates with a Thrilla

They first met in a ring in 1971  Joe Frazier was the heavyweight champ, fighting friend turned rival Muhammad Ali in only his third fight since returning from his suspension from boxing for refusing induction into the Army as a conscientious objector.  The battle between the two undefeated legends was dubbed the “Fight of the Century” and Frazier won a unanimous decision.

The met again in 1974, after Frazier had lost his title to Foreman but nine months before Ali met Foreman in the famous Rumble in the Jungle.  Ali won the second fight in an unanimous decision.

Ninety-one weeks later, they met again in Manilla in one of the first boxing match’s broadcast via satellite to a worldwide audience.  Ali’s camp thought Frazier was washed up and Ali mocked Frazier early in the fight.  At one point after a barrage from Frazier, Ali said at the beginning of the next round, “They told me Joe Frazier was washed up,” to which Frazier retorted: “They lied.”

frazier aliFrom Larry Schwartz, Thrilla in Manila’ was epic bout, ESPN Classic

Oct. 1, 1975 – “Of all the men I fought, Sonny Liston was the scariest, George Foreman was the most powerful, Floyd Patterson was the most skilled as a boxer,” Ali once said. “But the roughest and toughest was Joe Frazier. He brought out the best in me, and the best fight we fought was in Manila.”

Frazier had won their first bout and Ali their second. It was 10:45 a.m. in the Philippines when their rubber match started, and the “The Thrilla in Manila” lived up to the hype.

The bout turned out to be three fights in one: The first had Ali, the champion, outboxing and outscoring Frazier, nailing him with clean, sharp shots. The second fight, from the fifth through the 11th, had Frazier giving a terrible pounding to Ali. The third fight began in the 12th round and somehow Ali, with the will of a champion, tore into Frazier for the next three rounds.

tumblr_mpbbwbKeLS1qaa8d1o8_250 (1)At the end of the 14th round, Ali was pleading with his corner crew to cut his gloves and throw in the towel.  In the other corner, Frazier’s crew pleaded with the former Champ to call it quits since he was unable to see out of his one good eye.  It was unknown at that time, that Frazier had a cataract in his left eye and was effectively fighting blind in the last rounds of the fight.

From Box Rec:

Eddie Futch, Frazier’s trainer, decided to stop the fight between the 14th and 15th rounds. Frazier protested stopping the fight, shouting “I want him, boss” and trying to get Futch to change his mind. Futch simply replied, “It’s all over. No one will forget what you did here today” and signaled to the referee to end the bout.

Ali was therefore declared the victor. He got up from his stool, raised his arm in victory, and then collapsed onto the canvas. He was completely spent. Ali claimed that this was the closest to dying he has ever been.

The unofficial AP score of the fight had it tied at 63-63 after 14.  Some wonder whether Ali would have risen to face Frazier had the 15th round bell rung.  Frazier’s doctor, however, never regretted the decision and recounted for one biographer the number of fighters he had seen killed in similar instances.

Afterwards, both boxers praised the other.

FRAZIER:

Man, I hit him with punches that’d bring down the walls of a city. Lawdy, lawdy, he’s a great champion.

ALI:

Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.  Joe Frazier is the greatest fighter in the world, next to me.

The fight was recognized:

Afterwards, Ali’s doctor told him he should quit.  Ali instead fought ten more fights over the next five years, losing three including his last two.  Frazier would fight only twice more, losing a rematch against George Foreman the next year and then drawing in a comeback attempt in 1981.

In 2009, ESPN released a documentary about the fight and the Ali-Frazier rivalry.

See Full Fight/ HBO Documentary

Date October 1, 1975
Location Araneta Coliseum
Quezon City, Philippines
Title(s) on the line WBC/WBA Heavyweight Championship
Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier
The Greatest Smokin’ Joe
Tale of the tape
Louisville,Kentucky From Philadelphia,Pennsylvania
48–2 (35 KO) Pre-fight record 32–2 (27 KO)
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) Height 5 ft 11.5 in (1.82 m)
224 lb (102 kg) Weight 215 lb (98 kg)[1]
WBC/WBAHeavyweight Champion
Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion
Recognition former champion

Muhammad Ali Pre-Thrilla (48-2)

Win 48-2 Joe Bugner Decision (unanimous) 15 (15) June 30, 1975 33 years, 164 days Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Retained The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles.
Win 47-2 Ron Lyle TKO 11 (15) May 16, 1975 33 years, 119 days Las Vegas Retained The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles.
Win 46-2 Chuck Wepner TKO 15 (15), 2:41 March 24, 1975 33 years, 66 days Richfield, OH Retained The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles.
Win 45-2 George Foreman KO 8 (15), 2:58 October 30, 1974 32 years, 286 days Kinshasa, Zaire The Rumble in the Jungle“;
Won The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles.
Win 44-2 Joe Frazier Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) January 28, 1974 32 years, 11 days New York City Ali-Frazier II
Retained NABF Heavyweight title, vacated later in 1974
Win 43-2 Rudi Lubbers Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) October 20, 1973 31 years, 276 days Jakarta, Indonesia
Win 42-2 Ken Norton Decision (split) 12 (12) September 10, 1973 31 years, 236 days Inglewood, CA Won NABF Heavyweight title.
Loss 41-2 Ken Norton Decision (split) 12 (12) March 31, 1973 31 years, 73 days San Diego Lost NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 41-1 Joe Bugner Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) February 14, 1973 31 years, 28 days Las Vegas
Win 40-1 Bob Foster KO 8 (12), 0:40 November 21, 1972 30 years, 309 days Stateline, NV Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 39-1 Floyd Patterson TKO 7 (12) September 20, 1972 30 years, 247 days New York City Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 38-1 Alvin Lewis TKO 11 (12), 1:15 July 19, 1972 30 years, 184 days Dublin, Ireland
Win 37-1 Jerry Quarry TKO 7 (12), 0:19 June 27, 1972 30 years, 162 days Las Vegas, NV Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 36-1 George Chuvalo Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) May 1, 1972 30 years, 105 days Vancouver, Canada Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 35-1 Mac Foster Decision (unanimous) 15 (15) April 1, 1972 30 years, 75 days Tokyo, Japan
Win 34-1 Jürgen Blin KO 7 (12), 2:12 December 26, 1971 29 years, 343 days Zurich, Switzerland
Win 33-1 Buster Mathis Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) November 17, 1971 29 years, 304 days Houston, TX Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 32-1 Jimmy Ellis TKO 12 (12), 2:10 July 26, 1971 29 years, 190 days Houston, TX Won vacant NABF Heavyweight title.
Loss 31-1 Joe Frazier Decision (unanimous) 15 (15) March 8, 1971 29 years, 50 days New York City The Fight of the Century“;
Lost The Ring World Heavyweight title
For WBA & WBC World Heavyweight titles
Win 31-0 Oscar Bonavena TKO 15 (15), 2:03 December 7, 1970 28 years, 324 days New York City Retained The Ring World Heavyweight title.
Win 30-0 Jerry Quarry TKO 3 (15) October 26, 1970 28 years, 282 days Atlanta, GA Retained The Ring World Heavyweight title.
Suspended
Win 29-0 Zora Folley KO 7 (15), 1:48 March 22, 1967 25 years, 64 days New York City, NY Retained The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles;
Stripped of titles on 04-28-1967.
Win 28-0 Ernie Terrell Decision (unanimous) 15 (15) February 6, 1967 25 years, 20 days Houston, TX Retained The Ring and WBC World Heavyweight titles
Won WB World Heavyweight title
Win 27-0 Cleveland Williams TKO 3 (15) November 14, 1966 24 years, 301 days Houston, TX Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 26-0 Karl Mildenberger TKO 12 (15) September 10, 1966 24 years, 236 days Frankfurt, West Germany Retained
Win 25-0 Brian London KO 3 (15) August 6, 1966 24 years, 201 days London, England Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 24-0 Henry Cooper TKO 6 (15), 1:38 May 21, 1966 24 years, 124 days London, England Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 23-0 George Chuvalo Decision (unanimous) 15 (15) March 29, 1966 24 years, 71 days Toronto, Canada Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 22-0 Floyd Patterson TKO 12 (15), 2:18 November 22, 1965 23 years, 309 days Las Vegas, NV Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 21-0 Sonny Liston KO 1 (15), 2:12 May 25, 1965 23 years, 128 days Lewiston, ME Ali vs. Liston (II)
Retained The Ring & WBC World Heavyweight titles.
Win 20-0 Sonny Liston TKO 7 (15) February 25, 1964 22 years, 39 days Miami Beach, FL Clay Liston I“,
Won The Ring, WBA & WBC World Heavyweight titles;
Stripped of WBA title on 06-19-1964.
Win 19-0 Henry Cooper TKO 5 (10), 2:15 June 18, 1963 21 years, 152 days London, England
Win 18-0 Doug Jones Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) March 13, 1963 21 years, 55 days New York City
Win 17-0 Charley Powell KO 3, 2:04 January 24, 1963 21 years, 7 days Pittsburgh
Win 16-0 Archie Moore TKO 4 (10), 1:35 November 15, 1962 20 years, 302 days Los Angeles
Win 15-0 Alejandro Lavorante KO 5 (10), 1:48 July 20, 1962 20 years, 184 days Los Angeles
Win 14-0 Billy Daniels TKO 7 (10), 2:21 May 19, 1962 20 years, 122 days New York City
Win 13-0 George Logan TKO 4 (10), 1:34 April 23, 1962 20 years, 96 days New York City
Win 12-0 Don Warner TKO 4, 0:34 March 28, 1962 20 years, 70 days Miami Beach
Win 11-0 Sonny Banks TKO 4 (10), 0:26 February 10, 1962 20 years, 24 days New York City
Win 10-0 Willi Besmanoff TKO 7 (10), 1:55 November 29, 1961 19 years, 316 days Louisville, KY
Win 9-0 Alex Miteff TKO 6 (10), 1:45 October 7, 1961 19 years, 263 days Louisville, KY
Win 8-0 Alonzo Johnson Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) July 22, 1961 19 years, 186 days Louisville, KY
Win 7-0 Duke Sabedong Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) June 26, 1961 19 years, 160 days Las Vegas
Win 6-0 LaMar Clark KO 2 (10), 1:27 April 19, 1961 19 years, 92 days Louisville, KY
Win 5-0 Donnie Fleeman TKO 7 (8) February 21, 1961 19 years, 35 days Miami Beach
Win 4-0 Jim Robinson KO 1 (8), 1:34 February 7, 1961 19 years, 21 days Miami Beach, FL
Win 3-0 Tony Esperti TKO 3 (8), 1:30 January 17, 1961 19 years, 0 days Miami Beach
Win 2-0 Herb Siler KO 4 (8) December 27, 1960 18 years, 345 days Miami Beach
Win 1-0 Tunney Hunsaker Decision (unanimous) 6 (6) October 29, 1960 18 years, 286 days Louisville, KY

Joe Frazier Pre-Thrilla (32-2)

Win 32–2 United States Jimmy Ellis TKO 9 (12) 1975-03-02 Australia St.Kilda Junction Oval, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Win 31–2 United States Jerry Quarry TKO 5 (10) 1974-06-17 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Loss 30–2 United States Muhammad Ali UD 12 1974-01-28 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States For NABF heavyweight title
Win 30–1 Australia Joe Bugner UD 12 1973-07-02 United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Loss 29–1 United States George Foreman TKO 2 (15) 1973-01-22 Jamaica National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica Lost WBC, WBA & The Ring World heavyweight title
Win 29–0 United States Ron Stander TKO 5 (15) 1972-05-25 United States Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, United States Retained WBC, WBA & The Ring World heavyweight title
Win 28–0 United States Terry Daniels TKO 4 (15) 1972-01-15 United States Rivergate Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Retained WBC, WBA & The Ring World heavyweight title
Win 27–0 United States Muhammad Ali UD 15 1971-03-08 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Retained WBC & WBA World heavyweight title
Won The Ring heavyweight title
Win 26–0 United States Bob Foster KO 2 (15) 1970-11-18 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, United States Retained WBC & WBA World heavyweight title
Win 25–0 United States Jimmy Ellis TKO 5 (15) 1970-02-16 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Retained NYSAC World heavyweight title
Won Vacant WBC & WBA World heavyweight title
Win 24–0 United States Jerry Quarry RTD 7 (15) 1969-06-23 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Retained NYSAC World heavyweight title
Win 23–0 United States Dave Zyglewicz KO 1 (15) 1969-04-22 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, United States Retained NYSAC World heavyweight title
Win 22–0 Argentina Oscar Bonavena UD 15 1968-12-10 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Retained NYSAC World heavyweight title
Win 21–0 Mexico Manuel Ramos TKO 2 (15) 1968-06-24 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Retained NYSAC World heavyweight title
Win 20–0 United States Buster Mathis TKO 11 (15) 1968-03-04 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Won vacant NYSAC World heavyweight title
Win 19–0 United States Marion Connor TKO 3 (10) 1967-12-18 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Win 18–0 United States Tony Doyle TKO 2 (10) 1967-10-17 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 17–0 Canada George Chuvalo TKO 4 (10) 1967-07-19 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 16–0 United States George Johnson UD 10 1967-05-04 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 15–0 United States Jefferson Davis TKO 5 (10) 1967-04-11 United States Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 14–0 United States Doug Jones KO 6 (10) 1967-02-21 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 13–0 United States Eddie Machen TKO 10 (10) 1966-11-21 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 12–0 Argentina Oscar Bonavena MD 10 1966-09-21 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 11–0 United States Billy Daniels RTD 6 (10) 1966-07-25 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 10–0 United States Al Jones KO 1 (10) 1966-05-26 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 9–0 United States Chuck Leslie KO 3 (10) 1966-05-19 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 8–0 United States Don Smith KO 3 (10) 1966-04-28 United States Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 7–0 United States Charley Polite TKO 2 (10) 1966-04-04 United States Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 6–0 United States Dick Wipperman TKO 5 (8) 1966-03-04 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 5–0 United States Mel Turnbow KO 1 (8) 1966-01-17 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 4–0 United States Abe Davis KO 1 (8) 1965-11-11 United States Philadelphia Auditorium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 3–0 United States Ray Staples TKO 2 (6) 1965-09-28 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 2–0 United States Mike Bruce TKO 3 (6) 1965-09-20 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 1–0 United States Woody Goss TKO 1 (6) 1965-08-16 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Frazier’s debut
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