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Ken Norton RIP
Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:46 pm
Ken Norton, who in the course of 12 hard-fought rounds in 1973 was transformed from an unknown heavyweight into one of the most famous boxers in the world by virtue of a victory over Muhammad Ali, died Wednesday in a Las Vegas care facility. He was 70.
Norton was a thickly muscled ex-Marine who had little notoriety when he faced Ali on March 31, 1973, at the San Diego Sports Arena. But Norton broke Ali's jaw in the second round and went on to earn a split-decision victory that would define him as one of his era's greats.
The Seventies were a golden age for heavyweights, with legends such as Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Larry Holmes among many others competing at a high level, and Norton fit right in with that group.
Ali beat him in a hotly contested rematch later in 1973, and after the fight was singing Norton's praises.
"Norton is a better fighter than any other fighter I've fought, except maybe Joe Frazier," Ali said.