01 October 2010

Ah, the Good Old Days of Heavyweight Boxing

The "Thrilla in Manila"! Mohammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in the Phillipines in a much-hyped heavyweight bout that lived fully up to its billing -- as of yesterday, this was thirty-five years ago.

Those were the days, for boxing. Frazier, Ali, and Foreman were all in their prime at the same time, and this harmonic convergence produced some terrific fights.

Frazier beat Ali by unanimous decision in 1971.

George Foreman fought Frazier in 1973 and dominated him. There is no cute rhyming phrase for this, though it is sometimes called the Sunshine Showdown, because the venue was Kingston, Jamaica.

In January 1974, Ali got his own rematch against Frazier, and beat him. Did this mean Frazier was washed up? Hold that thought.

Ali fought Foreman, the "rumble in the jungle," in October of the same year and came away victorious.

Meanwhile, Frazier had proven that he was not by any means washed up, with a convincing and exciting win against Jerry Quarry in only five rounds in NYC, and a defeat if Jimmy Ellis in nine rounds in Melbourne, Australia. The stage was set for Ali-Frazier III. The Thrilla in Manila, September 30, 1975, for both the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles.

YouTube has this.

I don't know whether heavyweight boxing will ever have the cache, the excitement, that it held through much of the 1970s.

Ah, but now we do have YouTube. Click the above link and watch for yourself, a 9 minute condensation. Note, especially, at the end of the fight as condensed there, Ali's confession of exhaustion, and of how his now-defeated opponent turned out to be "tougher than I thought he was -- I'm so tired I don't want to do nothing. I want to rest for a week." After all the pre-fight trash-talking, that sounded like warm praise from one great fighter to another.

1 comment:

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.