Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (1st meeting)

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Ali Norton I 22746158.cms.jpg

1973-03-31 : Muhammad Ali 221 lbs lost to Ken Norton 210 lbs by SD in round 12 of 12


  • Ali was a 5 to 1 favorite.
  • Ali was the #1 ranked contender and Norton was ranked #6.
  • Ali suffered a broken jaw in the bout. There were no knockdowns.
  • The gate was $240,792, with a paid attendance of 11,884. Ali received a guaranteed $210,000, while Norton earned $50,000, which was $42,000 more than any of his previous fights.
  • The 1998 Holiday Issue of The Ring ranked Ali #1 and Norton #22 on the list "The 50 Greatest Heavyweights of All-Time".
  • Ali entered the ring wearing a white robe encrusted with rhinestones and jewels. "People's Choice" was written on the back. It was a gift from Elvis Presley. After losing to Norton, Ali never wore it again.
  • Norton discussed in his autobiography, Going the Distance, how the book Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill inspired him during the time he beat Ali.


  • "These words (from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich) were the final inspiration in my victory over Ali: Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can." - Ken Norton in his autobiography Going The Distance
  • "Imagine you have your jaw broken and have to fight ten more rounds." - Muhammad Ali after the fight


  • AP news - "Ali, Norton in TV Bout" March 31, 1973 [1]
  • AP news - "Ali Plans an Annihilation" March 31, 1973 [2]
  • AP news - "Norton Hopes To Advance With Upset Win Over Ali" March 31, 1973 [3]
  • AP news - "Norton stuns Ali by decision" by Ron Roach, April 1, 1973 [4]
  • AP news - "Hypnotist Aided Norton" April 2, 1973 [5]
  • Los Angeles Times - "Ken the conqueror" by Jim Murray, August 7, 1973 [6]
  • Ebony - "The Man Who 'Whupped' Muhammad Ali" June, 1973 [7]
  • The History Rat - "Ken Norton: The Man Who Shut Up Ali" by R.T. Johnson, March 17, 2012 [8]
  • Metta Chronicles - "Today in Sports History: Elvis and Ali" by Rohit Ghosh, January 2, 2013 [9]
  • San Diego Union-Tribune - "Remembering the first Ali-Norton Matchup" by Brian Hiro, March 31st, 2013 [10]

Preceded by:
Ali vs. Foster
NABF Heavyweight Title Fight
# 10
Succeeded by:
Ali vs. Norton II