Muhammad Ali vs. Zora Folley

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Ali stands over Folley after flooring him in round four

1967-03-22 : Muhammad Ali 211½ lbs beat Zora Folley 202½ lbs by KO at 1:48 in round 7 of 15

  • World Heavyweight Title (9th defense by Ali)
  • Photo #2


  • Folley was the #1 contender.
  • Ali was a 7 to 1 betting favorite.
  • Ali received 50% of the gate and $150,000 from ancillary rights, while Folley got 15% of the gate and $25,000 from ancillary rights.
  • There was a crowd of 13,780.
  • The gate was $244,471, which broke the previous Madison Square Garden record of $239,959.
  • The Associated Press had Ali ahead 3-2-1 in rounds at the time of the knockout.
  • Due to his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army and subsequent legal battles, this was Ali's last fight for 3½ years.

From Sports Illustrated:

Folley did accomplish some things. He cut the ring down on Ali. He hit the champion more often than any other opponent with solid right hands and slip jabs. He did not panic when Ali got cute and, faking and feinting, he forced Ali to miss several good punches. On the negative side—besides being knocked out—he obstinately clung to one stratagem; while moving to his right, he kept looking to throw a right-hand counter. It did not take Ali long to learn that he could go in flat-footed and ram home his good right hand, which so many people doubt he possesses.

It is also a popular opinion that Ali just played with Folley the first two rounds, but it is more likely that he was measuring Folley's reactions and the strength of his punches. It wasn't until the third round that Ali began working. His straight left hands—not his jab—kept snapping Folley's head back, and these were the punches that started Folley on his way out. At the end of the third round, Ali told his corner that Folley had begun to tire, that his punches had lost some of their life.

In the fourth, Ali, now punching flat-footed, spun Folley around with a left hook and then banged a right hand in back of his ear. Folley went down; he was flat on his stomach, and then suddenly he was up, his nose streaming blood, and he was kneeling and looking to his corner for the count. Folley raged back, but he had left too much of himself on the floor. Ali, it appeared, carried Folley in the fifth and sixth rounds, but going into the seventh Herbert Muhammad, his manager, told him to "stop playin'." He did. Two rights, the first of which traveled roughly six inches, gave Ali his 29th straight victory and his ninth successful title defense.


New York Times News Service - March 23, 1967
Sports Illustrated - April 3, 1967