Muhammad Ali vs. Oscar Natalio Bonavena

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1970-12-07 : Muhammad Ali 212 lbs beat Oscar Bonavena 204 lbs by TKO at 2:03 in round 15 of 15


  • Ali and Bonavena were fighting for the NABF heavyweight title, which was declared vacant following the retirement of Leotis Martin.
  • Ali was guaranteed $200,000 against 42½ percent of all receipts. Bonavena was guaranteed $100,000 against 22½ percent of all receipts.
  • The fight was shown live on closed circuit TV in 150 locations.
  • Ali was a 6 to 1 betting favorite.
  • Ali predicted he would stop Bonavena in nine rounds. "He'll be mine in nine."
  • A crowd of 19,417 at Madison Square Garden produced a gross gate of $615,401.
  • Going into the 15th round, Referee Mark Cohen had Ali ahead 12-2, Judge Joe Eppey had him in front 10-3-1, and Judge Jack Bloom had him leading 8-5-1.
  • Bonavena was knocked down three times in the 15th round, forcing an automatic stoppage under the three-knockdown rule. It was the only time Bonavena was stopped in his 68-fight pro career.


  • "Why you no go in Army? You big chicken. Chicken! You big chicken! (makes chicken sounds). Chicken!" - Bonavena at a pre-fight physical examination
  • "Please! Tell everyone to get to your theaters. I have never had a man that I wanted to whup so bad!" - Ali's reply

Preceded by:
Liston vs. Martin
NABF Heavyweight Title Fight
# 2
Succeeded by:
Foreman vs. Peralta II