Muhammad Ali vs. Jimmy Ellis

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Ali-Ellis U1711462.jpg

1971-07-26 : Muhammad Ali 220½ lbs beat Jimmy Ellis 189 lbs by TKO at 2:10 in round 12 of 12

  • NABF Heavyweight Title (Vacant title)


Ali-Ellis poster.jpg
  • Ali and Ellis were both from Louisville, Kentucky, and fought each other twice as amateurs. Ali won the first bout, and Ellis won the second.
  • Ellis was a sparring partner for Ali in the 1960s.
  • Ali was guaranteed $450,000 against 45% of all receipts, and Ellis received 20%.
  • The fight was shown on closed-circuit television in about 200 locations in the United States and Canada, and it was beamed via satellite to 34 other countries.
  • Attendance in the Astrodome was 31,947.
  • Angelo Dundee worked with Ellis for the fight. He was Ali's trainer, but he was Ellis' trainer and manager. Working with Ellis meant a bigger share of the purse for Dundee. Ali understood completely and got Harry Wiley, who had worked with Henry Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson, to be his trainer for the Ellis fight.
  • Ali and Ellis fought for the vacant NABF heavyweight title, which had been relinquished by George Foreman.
  • Ali was a 7 to 2 favorite.
  • Assistant trainer Drew (Bundini) Brown forgot to pack Ali's trunks, and the former champ was forced to wear a pair of all white trunks that were too big.
  • It was a fairly even fight for the first three rounds, but Ali took control after hurting Ellis with a right hand in the fourth round. Ellis said the right hand "hurt me so bad I couldn't really fight my best after that."
  • The referee stopped the fight at 2:10 of the 12th round with Ellis on his feet taking punishment. There were no knockdowns in the fight.
  • Referee Jay Edson had Ali ahead 110-93 going into the 12th round, while judges Earl Keel and Ernie Taylor had Ali in front 108-102 and 107-104, respectively.


Preceded by:
Foreman vs. Peralta II
NABF Heavyweight Title Fight
# 4
Succeeded by:
Ali vs. Mathis