1. Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 3, Oct 1, 1975 Manila, Phillipines. Result: Ali TKO 14.
A titanic struggle that the Oct 13, 1975 Sports Illustrated called “a drama in 3 acts: 1) Ali 2) Frazier 3) Ali.”
Muhammad Ali prevailed in the greatest fight of the greatest heavyweight trilogy of all time. Ali dominated the early rounds with furious jabs and speed of hand and foot. Frazier started “smoking” in the middle rounds and gave Ali such a terrible beating to the body that Ali later said, “it was the closest thing to death” that he ever had experienced. Sports Illustrated reported, “Ali slumped into his corner at the end of the 10th round exhausted and contemplated quitting.” The 11th round was no better for the champion. Writer Mark Kram reported, “Ali got trapped in Frazier’s corner and blow after blow bit at his melting face, and specks of spittle flew from his mouth.” “Lawd have mercy!”, Bundini shrieked as Ali took a terrible beating against the ropes. Ali went to the well and found deep inside himslef, a reservoir of will and determination that allowed him to come back like a true champion. Ali came out of his corner for the 12th and began to turn the fight around. Frazier’s eyes began to swell shut from Ali’s quick handed straight punching and combinations. By the 13 round Ali was hitting Frazier almost at will. After further punishment in the 14th Frazier’s trainer Eddie Futch would not allow Joe to come out for the 15th. Ali had retained his title. This fight proved that Ali was no mere showman or a “fake” as one veteran observor once called him, but that he was indeed an all time great fighter. After the fight Frazier echoed this fact, “Lawdy, Lawdy his a great and mighty champion. I hit him with punches that would have brought down the walls of a city.”