Difference between revisions of "Ken Norton"

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'''[[:Category:Ken Norton Gallery|Ken Norton Gallery]]<BR>
 
'''[[:Category:Ken Norton Gallery|Ken Norton Gallery]]<BR>
  
'''Kenneth Howard Norton''' is a former [[WBC]] Heavyweight Champion from Jacksonville, Illinois. He is best known for his trilogy with three-time World Heavyweight Champion [[Muhammad Ali]].  
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'''Kenneth Howard Norton''' is a former [[WBC]] Heavyweight Champion. He is best known for his trilogy with three-time World Heavyweight Champion [[Muhammad Ali]].  
  
Born on August 9, 1943, Norton was an outstanding athlete at Jacksonville High School. He was a member of the state championship football team and was selected to the all-state team on defense as a senior in 1960. His track coach once entered him in eight events: He placed first in five events and second in three. As a result, the "Ken Norton Rule" was instituted in Illinois high school sports, which limits participation of an athlete to a maximum of three track and field events. After graduating from high school, Norton went to Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) on a football scholarship and studied elementary education.  
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Norton was born August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He was an outstanding athlete at Jacksonville High School. He was a member of the state championship football team and was selected to the all-state team on defense as a senior in 1960. His track coach once entered him in eight events: He placed first in five events and second in three. As a result, the "Ken Norton Rule" was instituted in Illinois high school sports, which limits participation of an athlete to a maximum of three track and field events.  
  
Norton started boxing when he was in the United States Marine Corps. He compiled an amateur record of 24-2 and won the All-Marine Heavyweight Championship three times. Norton turned professional in 1967. He developed a style similar to [[Archie Moore]] - using a cross-armed defense. Norton attributes the motivational book ''Think and Grow Rich'' by Napoleon Hill, as being very inspirational for him during his boxing career. Norton discussed in his autobiography, ''Going the Distance'', that he was given ''Think and Grow Rich'' after he suffered his first boxing defeat to [[Ken Norton vs. Jose Luis Garcia (1st meeting)|Jose Luis Garcia]] in 1970 and it changed his life. He then went on a fourteen fight winning streak, including an upset victory over [[Muhammad Ali]] by [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (1st meeting)|split decision]] to win the NABF Heavyweight Crown in 1973. (Ali's only loss coming into his first bout with Norton was to Smokin' [[Joe Frazier]] and Ali would later go on to defeat [[George Foreman]] to regain the heavyweight title in 1974). Norton fractured Ali's jaw and became the second boxer to defeat "The Greatest" in his pro career. They fought again six months later, and Ali beat Norton by a 12-round [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (2nd meeting)|split decision]].  
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After graduating from high school, Norton went to Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) on a football scholarship and studied elementary education. During his sophomore year, Norton decided that college was not for him, so he dropped out and joined the United States Marine Corps.  
  
Norton fought George Foreman for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1974. Foreman stopped Norton in the second round to increase his record to 40-0 with 37 knockouts. In 1975, Norton avenged his 1970 loss to Jose Luis Garcia with a 5th round knockout.
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Norton started boxing while he was in the Marines. He compiled an amateur record of 24-2 and won the All-Marine Heavyweight Championship three times. Norton won the U.S. trials for the 1967 Pan American Games, but another heavyweight was selected to represented the U.S. at the Games. Norton was told that his style, which included a cross-armed defense similar to [[Archie Moore]], was not "international" enough. Norton never fought as an amateur again and turned professional in late 1967.  
  
In 1976, Norton fought Ali for the third and final time. Ali retained the World Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Norton by a controversial 15-round [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (3rd meeting)|unanimous decision]]. The January 1998 issue of ''[[Boxing Monthly]]'' listed Ali-Norton III as the fifth most disputed title fight decision in boxing history.  
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Norton attributes the motivational book ''Think and Grow Rich'' by Napoleon Hill as being very inspirational for him during his boxing career. Norton discussed in his autobiography, ''Going the Distance'', that he was given ''Think and Grow Rich'' after he suffered his [[Ken Norton vs. Jose Luis Garcia (1st meeting)|first professional defeat]] to [[Jose Luis Garcia]] in 1970, and it changed his life. After the loss to Garcia, Norton won thirteen consecutive fights and then fought [[Muhammad Ali]] for the [[NABF]] Heavyweight Title in 1973. Norton, a 5 to 1 underdog, fractured Ali's jaw and won by a [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (1st meeting)|twelve-round split decision]]. They fought again six months later, and Ali won Norton by a [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (2nd meeting)|twelve-round split decision]].  
  
In 1977, Norton knocked out previously unbeaten [[Duane Bobick]] in one round and beat [[Jimmy Young]] in a 15-round split-decision in a WBC title-elimination fight. With the win over Young, Norton became the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming fight between Ali and [[Leon Spinks]]. Spinks defeated Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship, but instead of making his first defense against Norton, Spinks chose to have an immediate rematch with Ali. As a result, the WBC stripped Spinks of the title and awarded it to Norton by virtue of his victory over Young.  
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Norton fought [[George Foreman]] for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1974. Foreman, a 3 to 1 favorite, won by a [[George Foreman vs. Ken Norton|second-round knockout]] to increase his record to 40-0 with 37 knockouts.  
  
In his first title defense, Norton lost the WBC title via a 15-round [[Ken Norton vs. Larry Holmes|split decision]] to [[Larry Holmes]] in 1978. The September 1998 issue of ''[[The Ring Magazine|The Ring]]'' listed the final round as one of the "12 Greatest Finishes of All Time." Holmes-Norton is ranked as the 10th greatest heavyweight fight of all time by Monte D. Cox, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization. [[Larry Holmes]] said that his bout with Norton for the world heavyweight championship was his toughest fight in a 2009 interview on ESPN SportsNation. Holmes went on to become the second longest reigning World Heavyweight Champion in the history of boxing, behind Joe Louis.
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In 1975, Norton stopped veteran contender [[Jerry Quarry]] in [[Ken Norton vs. Jerry Quarry|five rounds]] to regain the NABF Heavyweight Title. In his next fight, Norton avenged his 1970 loss to Jose Luis Garcia with a [[Ken Norton vs. Jose Luis Garcia (2nd meeting)|fifth-round knockout]].
  
Ken Norton once said "In boxing, and in all of life, nobody should ever stop learning!" [The Ring Magazine, Sept. 1976].  
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Norton fought Ali for the third and final time in 1976. Ali, who regained the World Heavyweight Championship from George Foreman two years earlier, retained the title with a controversial [[Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton (3rd meeting)|fifteen-round unanimous decision]]. The January 1998 issue of ''[[Boxing Monthly]]'' listed Ali-Norton III as the fifth most disputed title fight decision in boxing history.
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In 1977, Norton knocked out previously unbeaten [[Duane Bobick]] in [[Ken Norton vs. Duane Bobick|one round]] and defeated [[Jimmy Young]] by a [[Ken Norton vs. Jimmy Young|fifteen-round split-decision]] in a WBC title-eliminator. With the win over Young, Norton became the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming fight between Ali and [[Leon Spinks]]. Spinks defeated Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship, but instead of making his first defense against Norton, Spinks chose to have an immediate rematch with Ali. As a result, the WBC stripped Spinks of the title and awarded it to Norton by virtue of his victory over Young.
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Norton made his first defense of the WBC title in 1978 and lost it to [[Larry Holmes]] by a [[Ken Norton vs. Larry Holmes|fifteen-round split decision]]. With the loss, Norton became the only World Heavyweight Champion never to win a world heavyweight title fight. Holmes went on to be champion for seven years. Only [[Joe Louis]] had a longer reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
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Holmes vs. Norton is considered one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all-time. The [[:Ring Magazine: Holiday 1996|1996 Holiday Issue]] of [[The Ring Magazine|''The Ring'']] listed the fight 23rd on the list [[The 100 Greatest Title Fights of All-Time]], and the fight is ranked as the tenth greatest heavyweight fight of all-time by Monte D. Cox, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization. The [[:File:98Sep.jpg|September 1998]] issue of ''The Ring'' listed the final round as one of the "12 Greatest Finishes of All Time," and the [[:Ring Magazine: March 2001|March 2001]] issue of ''The Ring'' listed the final round seventh on the list [[The Ring Magazine - Miscellaneous Lists|The 12 Most Exciting Rounds In Boxing History]]. In a 2009 interview on ESPN SportsNation, Holmes said that his bout with Norton was his toughest fight.  
  
 
== Boxing Factoids ==
 
== Boxing Factoids ==
* The 1998 Holiday Issue of ''[[Ring Magazine|The Ring]]'' ranked Norton as the 22nd greatest heavyweight of all-time.
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* The [[:File:98Holiday.jpg|1998 Holiday Issue]] of ''[[Ring Magazine|The Ring]]'' ranked Norton as the 22nd greatest heavyweight of all-time.
 
* Norton received the [[Boxing Writers Association of America]] J. Niel Trophy for "Fighter of the Year" in 1977.
 
* Norton received the [[Boxing Writers Association of America]] J. Niel Trophy for "Fighter of the Year" in 1977.
 
* Norton, a proponent of motivational author Napoleon Hill's writings (e.g. ''Think and Grow Rich'' as noted above and ''Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude'' by Hill and W. Clement Stone) also received the "Napoleon Hill Award" for positive thinking in 1973.  
 
* Norton, a proponent of motivational author Napoleon Hill's writings (e.g. ''Think and Grow Rich'' as noted above and ''Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude'' by Hill and W. Clement Stone) also received the "Napoleon Hill Award" for positive thinking in 1973.  
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== Quotes ==
 
== Quotes ==
''What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.''
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*"What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve."
  
''Whatever you do in your life, always go the distance.''
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*"Whatever you do in your life, always go the distance."
  
''Age is a state of mind.''
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*"Age is a state of mind."
  
''The most important thing to remember for you youngsters out there with an interest in sports or boxing in particular is to get your education.''
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*"The most important thing to remember for you youngsters out there with an interest in sports or boxing in particular is to get your education."
  
''Everyone in life should have a goal and they should try and complete it. And if you don't reach it, keep trying. Never give up. By trying, the person wins.''
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*"Everyone in life should have a goal and they should try and complete it. And if you don't reach it, keep trying. Never give up. By trying, the person wins."
  
''Of all the titles that I've been privileged to have, the title of 'dad' has always been the best.''
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*"Of all the titles that I've been privileged to have, the title of 'dad' has always been the best."
  
'''-''Ken Norton'''''
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*"In boxing, and in all of life, nobody should ever stop learning!"
  
 
== External Links ==
 
== External Links ==
 
*[http://www.sdhoc.com/sport/boxing/ken-norton ] San Diego Hall of Champions' page about Ken Norton
 
*[http://www.sdhoc.com/sport/boxing/ken-norton ] San Diego Hall of Champions' page about Ken Norton
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*[http://www.californiasportshalloffame.org/inductees/2011/boxing/Ken-Norton.php] California Sports Hall of Fame's page about Ken Norton
 
*[http://www.usmc-mccs.org/sports/hof/2004-norton.cfm] Marine Corps Community Services: Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame's page about Ken Norton
 
*[http://www.usmc-mccs.org/sports/hof/2004-norton.cfm] Marine Corps Community Services: Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame's page about Ken Norton
*[http://www.wbhf.org/] World Boxing Hall of Fame
 
*[http://www.fanbase.com/5-Ken-Norton?r=1&r=1] Ken Norton's page at Fanbase
 
*[http://www.californiasportshalloffame.org/inductees/2011/boxing/Ken-Norton.php] California Sports Hall of Fame
 
 
*[http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/boxing/knorton.htm] Ken Norton's page at the Cyber Boxing Zone
 
*[http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/boxing/knorton.htm] Ken Norton's page at the Cyber Boxing Zone
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*[http://www.fanbase.com/5-Ken-Norton?r=1&r=1] Ken Norton's page at Fanbase
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*[http://www.wbhf.org/] World Boxing Hall of Fame
 
*[http://community.artofmanliness.com/profiles/blogs/on-the-marine-corps-birthday-a-lesson-in-manliness-from-usmc-hall] A Lesson in Manliness From The Ex-Marine: Ken Norton, The Art of Manliness
 
*[http://community.artofmanliness.com/profiles/blogs/on-the-marine-corps-birthday-a-lesson-in-manliness-from-usmc-hall] A Lesson in Manliness From The Ex-Marine: Ken Norton, The Art of Manliness
  
 
== Reference Sources ==
 
== Reference Sources ==
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kHIzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aiMIAAAAIBAJ&pg=1110%2C4066626] Norton named top 1977 boxer, AP, Feb. 28, 1977
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R89OAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-gEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5103%2C2240102] Hypnotist Aided Norton - Confidence Key To Upset Of Ali, AP, April 2, 1973
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=naRhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8H0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7021%2C121802] Norton: Nobody to Somebody, UPI, April 2, 1973
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*[http://books.google.com/books?id=s9MDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA152&dq=ken%20norton&pg=PA152#v=onepage&q&f=true] The Man Who 'Whupped' Muhammad Ali, Ebony (magazine) June, 1973
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19730807&id=omoQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3YsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5142,814605] The Jim Murray Column, 1973 Los Angeles Times
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pJ1fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xDEMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6305%2C6726456] Norton Has Philosophy Of Success, AP, July 28, 1973
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=f6RHAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kP8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=1908%2C3609127] Positive attitude key to Norton's boxing, AP, March 27, 1975
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*The Ring Magazine [page 43], September, 1976
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7_YuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QtsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4165%2C6384645] Ken Norton Thinking of Retirement - If he doesn't get a rematch with Ali, September 30, 1976   
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7_YuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QtsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4165%2C6384645] Ken Norton Thinking of Retirement - If he doesn't get a rematch with Ali, September 30, 1976   
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=v7osAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KhMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2373%2C1808762] No. 1 Contender, 1978 N.Y. Times News Service
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kHIzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aiMIAAAAIBAJ&pg=1110%2C4066626] Norton named top 1977 boxer, AP, Feb. 28, 1977  
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=024aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fikEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6278%2C1285054] WBC Backs Off on Ali Demand
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qvhdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=m18NAAAAIBAJ&pg=5965%2C341193] Ali-Spinks Winner Must Face Norton, AP, December 2, 1977
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XuAjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fykEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2358%2C2878012] Norton-Young Bout May Be for the Title, The Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 5, 1977
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XuAjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fykEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2358%2C2878012] Norton-Young Bout May Be for the Title, The Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 5, 1977
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uDRcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=w1UNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5970%2C6764666] Norton deserves shot at heavyweight title, by Peter Maas, March 22, 1978
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qvhdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=m18NAAAAIBAJ&pg=5965%2C341193] Ali-Spinks Winner Must Face Norton, AP, December 2, 1977
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19730807&id=omoQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3YsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5142,814605] The Jim Murray Column, 1973 Los Angeles Times
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=024aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fikEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6278%2C1285054] WBC Backs Off on Ali Demand, AP, Dec. 2, 1977
*[http://articles.latimes.com/1987-12-26/sports/sp-7367_1] Ken Norton Is Now Fighting Back: Former Champ Is Learning to Talk Again After 1986 Car Accident, 1987 Los Angeles Times
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=v7osAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KhMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2373%2C1808762] No. 1 Contender, N.Y. Times News Service, Mar. 9, 1978
*[http://books.google.com/books?id=s9MDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA152&dq=ken%20norton&pg=PA152#v=onepage&q&f=true] The Man Who 'Whupped' Muhammad Ali, Ebony (magazine) June, 1973
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*[http://edmagiktv.blogspot.com/2010/08/ken-norton-former-heavyweight-champion.html] Ken Norton-Former Heavyweight Champion Of The World Seeks The Truth, 2010 ED MAGIK TV
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*Autobiography: Going the Distance, Norton, Ken; et al. (2000). Sports Publishing, Champaign, IL 
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*Biography: Believe: Journey From Jacksonville, Norton, Ken; Hennessey, Donald, Jr. & Amodeo, John (2009). 1st World Publishing, Fairfield, IA
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*The Ring Magazine [page 43], September, 1976
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=naRhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8H0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7021%2C121802] Norton: Nobody to Somebody, UPI, April 2, 1973
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CGFQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=e1gDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6803%2C1164072] The New Champion, AP, March 20, 1978  
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CGFQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=e1gDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6803%2C1164072] The New Champion, AP, March 20, 1978  
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pJ1fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xDEMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6305%2C6726456] Norton Has Philosophy Of Success, AP, July 28, 1973
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uDRcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=w1UNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5970%2C6764666] Norton deserves shot at heavyweight title, by Peter Maas, March 22, 1978
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R89OAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-gEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5103%2C2240102] Hypnotist Aided Norton - Confidence Key To Upset Of Ali, AP, April 2, 1973
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*[http://www.myrecordjournal.com/latestnews/article_471bc80d-7077-5232-9d79-3429791a6566.html] The man who broke Ali's jaw is in Meridan, Record-Journal, November 15, 2008
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*[http://www.saddoboxing.com/296-rocky-norton-creed.html] Rocky the Movie: The Kenny Norton Story of the Real Apollo Creed? by Joseph de Beauchamp, Boxing News - Saddo Boxing
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3t9WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KEINAAAAIBAJ&pg=4395%2C1654676] He's Punching Out [article on Norton's retirement] The Miami News, Sept. 25, 1979
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3t9WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KEINAAAAIBAJ&pg=4395%2C1654676] He's Punching Out [article on Norton's retirement] The Miami News, Sept. 25, 1979
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*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ScFaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6604%2C2886928] Ken Norton: Now He's Fighting For Children, Will Grimsley, AP Special Correspondent, November 10, 1979
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gdhRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=T24DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7008%2C2066923] Ken Norton Jr. helps father overcome crippling injuries, AP, October 4, 1986
 
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gdhRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=T24DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7008%2C2066923] Ken Norton Jr. helps father overcome crippling injuries, AP, October 4, 1986
*[http://sport.dictionary.net/ken-norton] Ken Norton | Dictionary.net
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*[http://articles.latimes.com/1987-12-26/sports/sp-7367_1] Ken Norton Is Now Fighting Back: Former Champ Is Learning to Talk Again After 1986 Car Accident, 1987 Los Angeles Times
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=f6RHAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kP8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=1908%2C3609127] Positive attitude key to Norton's boxing, AP, March 27, 1975
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*Autobiography: Going the Distance, Norton, Ken; et al. (2000). Sports Publishing, Champaign, IL
*[http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ScFaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6604%2C2886928] Ken Norton: Now He's Fighting For Children, Will Grimsley, AP Special Correspondent, November 10, 1979.
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*[http://www.saddoboxing.com/296-rocky-norton-creed.html] Rocky the Movie: The Kenny Norton Story of the Real Apollo Creed? by Joseph de Beauchamp, Boxing News - Saddo Boxing, November 30, 2004
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*[http://www.myrecordjournal.com/latestnews/article_471bc80d-7077-5232-9d79-3429791a6566.html] The man who broke Ali's jaw is in Meridan, Record-Journal, November 15, 2008
 +
*Biography: Believe: Journey From Jacksonville, Norton, Ken; Hennessey, Donald, Jr. & Amodeo, John (2009). 1st World Publishing, Fairfield, IA *[http://edmagiktv.blogspot.com/2010/08/ken-norton-former-heavyweight-champion.html] Ken Norton-Former Heavyweight Champion Of The World Seeks The Truth, 2010 ED MAGIK TV
 
*[http://www.doghouseboxing.com/DHB/DONpr101212.htm] Doghouse Boxing news wire article by Don Smith, October 12, 2012
 
*[http://www.doghouseboxing.com/DHB/DONpr101212.htm] Doghouse Boxing news wire article by Don Smith, October 12, 2012
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*[http://sport.dictionary.net/ken-norton] Ken Norton | Dictionary.net
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Revision as of 23:55, 12 March 2013

Ken Norton
Class of 1992
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Ken Norton
Birth Name: Kenneth Howard Norton
Born: 1943-08-09
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Illinois, USA
Died: 2013-09-18 (Age:70)
Hometown: San Diego, California, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 3″   /   191cm
Reach: 80″   /   203cm
Boxing Record: click

Manager: Bob Biron
Trainers: Eddie Futch (1968-1973), Bill Slayton (1973-1981)

Ken Norton Gallery

Kenneth Howard Norton is a former WBC Heavyweight Champion. He is best known for his trilogy with three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali.

Norton was born August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He was an outstanding athlete at Jacksonville High School. He was a member of the state championship football team and was selected to the all-state team on defense as a senior in 1960. His track coach once entered him in eight events: He placed first in five events and second in three. As a result, the "Ken Norton Rule" was instituted in Illinois high school sports, which limits participation of an athlete to a maximum of three track and field events.

After graduating from high school, Norton went to Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) on a football scholarship and studied elementary education. During his sophomore year, Norton decided that college was not for him, so he dropped out and joined the United States Marine Corps.

Norton started boxing while he was in the Marines. He compiled an amateur record of 24-2 and won the All-Marine Heavyweight Championship three times. Norton won the U.S. trials for the 1967 Pan American Games, but another heavyweight was selected to represented the U.S. at the Games. Norton was told that his style, which included a cross-armed defense similar to Archie Moore, was not "international" enough. Norton never fought as an amateur again and turned professional in late 1967.

Norton attributes the motivational book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill as being very inspirational for him during his boxing career. Norton discussed in his autobiography, Going the Distance, that he was given Think and Grow Rich after he suffered his first professional defeat to Jose Luis Garcia in 1970, and it changed his life. After the loss to Garcia, Norton won thirteen consecutive fights and then fought Muhammad Ali for the NABF Heavyweight Title in 1973. Norton, a 5 to 1 underdog, fractured Ali's jaw and won by a twelve-round split decision. They fought again six months later, and Ali won Norton by a twelve-round split decision.

Norton fought George Foreman for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1974. Foreman, a 3 to 1 favorite, won by a second-round knockout to increase his record to 40-0 with 37 knockouts.

In 1975, Norton stopped veteran contender Jerry Quarry in five rounds to regain the NABF Heavyweight Title. In his next fight, Norton avenged his 1970 loss to Jose Luis Garcia with a fifth-round knockout.

Norton fought Ali for the third and final time in 1976. Ali, who regained the World Heavyweight Championship from George Foreman two years earlier, retained the title with a controversial fifteen-round unanimous decision. The January 1998 issue of Boxing Monthly listed Ali-Norton III as the fifth most disputed title fight decision in boxing history.

In 1977, Norton knocked out previously unbeaten Duane Bobick in one round and defeated Jimmy Young by a fifteen-round split-decision in a WBC title-eliminator. With the win over Young, Norton became the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming fight between Ali and Leon Spinks. Spinks defeated Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship, but instead of making his first defense against Norton, Spinks chose to have an immediate rematch with Ali. As a result, the WBC stripped Spinks of the title and awarded it to Norton by virtue of his victory over Young.

Norton made his first defense of the WBC title in 1978 and lost it to Larry Holmes by a fifteen-round split decision. With the loss, Norton became the only World Heavyweight Champion never to win a world heavyweight title fight. Holmes went on to be champion for seven years. Only Joe Louis had a longer reign as World Heavyweight Champion.

Holmes vs. Norton is considered one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all-time. The 1996 Holiday Issue of The Ring listed the fight 23rd on the list The 100 Greatest Title Fights of All-Time, and the fight is ranked as the tenth greatest heavyweight fight of all-time by Monte D. Cox, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization. The September 1998 issue of The Ring listed the final round as one of the "12 Greatest Finishes of All Time," and the March 2001 issue of The Ring listed the final round seventh on the list The 12 Most Exciting Rounds In Boxing History. In a 2009 interview on ESPN SportsNation, Holmes said that his bout with Norton was his toughest fight.

Boxing Factoids

  • The 1998 Holiday Issue of The Ring ranked Norton as the 22nd greatest heavyweight of all-time.
  • Norton received the Boxing Writers Association of America J. Niel Trophy for "Fighter of the Year" in 1977.
  • Norton, a proponent of motivational author Napoleon Hill's writings (e.g. Think and Grow Rich as noted above and Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by Hill and W. Clement Stone) also received the "Napoleon Hill Award" for positive thinking in 1973.
  • Ken Norton was twice voted "Father of the Year" by the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times in 1977.
  • Norton appeared in popular TV series (such as The A-Team in a 1983 episode and Knight Rider in a 1986 episode), acted in approximately twenty motion pictures, worked as a television and radio sports commentator, and was a member of the Sports Illustrated Speakers Bureau until suffering temporary brain and permanent physical damage in a near-fatal car accident in 1986. It left him with slow and slurred speech.
  • The character of "Apollo Creed" in Rocky was initially going to be played by Norton. However, when he pulled out, Carl Weathers was selected.
  • His son, Ken Norton Jr., became a star linebacker in the National Football League, winning Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. He is now the linebackers coach at the University of Southern California.
  • Autobiography: Going The Distance: The Ken Norton Story
  • 1989 inductee into the World Boxing Hall of Fame
  • 1992 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame
  • 2004 inductee into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame
  • 2008 inductee into the WBC Hall of Fame
  • 2011 inductee into the California Sports Hall of Fame

Quotes

  • "What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve."
  • "Whatever you do in your life, always go the distance."
  • "Age is a state of mind."
  • "The most important thing to remember for you youngsters out there with an interest in sports or boxing in particular is to get your education."
  • "Everyone in life should have a goal and they should try and complete it. And if you don't reach it, keep trying. Never give up. By trying, the person wins."
  • "Of all the titles that I've been privileged to have, the title of 'dad' has always been the best."
  • "In boxing, and in all of life, nobody should ever stop learning!"

External Links

  • [1] San Diego Hall of Champions' page about Ken Norton
  • [2] California Sports Hall of Fame's page about Ken Norton
  • [3] Marine Corps Community Services: Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame's page about Ken Norton
  • [4] Ken Norton's page at the Cyber Boxing Zone
  • [5] Ken Norton's page at Fanbase
  • [6] World Boxing Hall of Fame
  • [7] A Lesson in Manliness From The Ex-Marine: Ken Norton, The Art of Manliness

Reference Sources

  • [8] Hypnotist Aided Norton - Confidence Key To Upset Of Ali, AP, April 2, 1973
  • [9] Norton: Nobody to Somebody, UPI, April 2, 1973
  • [10] The Man Who 'Whupped' Muhammad Ali, Ebony (magazine) June, 1973
  • [11] The Jim Murray Column, 1973 Los Angeles Times
  • [12] Norton Has Philosophy Of Success, AP, July 28, 1973
  • [13] Positive attitude key to Norton's boxing, AP, March 27, 1975
  • The Ring Magazine [page 43], September, 1976
  • [14] Ken Norton Thinking of Retirement - If he doesn't get a rematch with Ali, September 30, 1976
  • [15] Norton named top 1977 boxer, AP, Feb. 28, 1977
  • [16] Norton-Young Bout May Be for the Title, The Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 5, 1977
  • [17] Ali-Spinks Winner Must Face Norton, AP, December 2, 1977
  • [18] WBC Backs Off on Ali Demand, AP, Dec. 2, 1977
  • [19] No. 1 Contender, N.Y. Times News Service, Mar. 9, 1978
  • [20] The New Champion, AP, March 20, 1978
  • [21] Norton deserves shot at heavyweight title, by Peter Maas, March 22, 1978
  • [22] He's Punching Out [article on Norton's retirement] The Miami News, Sept. 25, 1979
  • [23] Ken Norton: Now He's Fighting For Children, Will Grimsley, AP Special Correspondent, November 10, 1979
  • [24] Ken Norton Jr. helps father overcome crippling injuries, AP, October 4, 1986
  • [25] Ken Norton Is Now Fighting Back: Former Champ Is Learning to Talk Again After 1986 Car Accident, 1987 Los Angeles Times
  • Autobiography: Going the Distance, Norton, Ken; et al. (2000). Sports Publishing, Champaign, IL
  • [26] Rocky the Movie: The Kenny Norton Story of the Real Apollo Creed? by Joseph de Beauchamp, Boxing News - Saddo Boxing, November 30, 2004
  • [27] The man who broke Ali's jaw is in Meridan, Record-Journal, November 15, 2008
  • Biography: Believe: Journey From Jacksonville, Norton, Ken; Hennessey, Donald, Jr. & Amodeo, John (2009). 1st World Publishing, Fairfield, IA *[28] Ken Norton-Former Heavyweight Champion Of The World Seeks The Truth, 2010 ED MAGIK TV
  • [29] Doghouse Boxing news wire article by Don Smith, October 12, 2012
  • [30] Ken Norton | Dictionary.net



Preceded by:
Leon Spinks
Stripped
WBC Heavyweight Champion
1978 Mar 29 – 1978 Jun 9
Succeeded by:
Larry Holmes