Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (2nd meeting)
1974-01-28 : Joe Frazier 209 lbs lost to Muhammad Ali 212 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
- Referee: Tony Perez 5-6
- Judge: Tony Castellano 4-7
- Judge: Jack Gordon 4-8
- NABF Heavyweight Title (1st defense of Ali)
Held in between their two other bouts, Fight of the Century and Thrilla in Manila, the fight was considered by many fans and experts the least significant and least exciting fight of their trilogy. But this does not mean the fight itself was insignificant or boring, quite the contrary.
Ali was the #1 contender and Frazier was ranked #2. Ali wanted to avenge his loss to Frazier and secure a shot at World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman, who had dethroned Frazier, and Frazier wanted a chance to regain the championship and avenge his defeat to Foreman, who was the only man to beat him.
Their first and third fights became part of boxing's lore, but most viewers considered the second fight to be entertaining as well.
Before their rematch, Ali and Frazier visited the ABC studios in New York City to review their first fight for ABC's Wide World of Sports. While both fighters were reviewing round 10, Ali began trash talking to Frazier about their respective hospital stays (according to Ali he spent 10 minutes in the hospital while Frazier stayed there for a month) and Ali called Frazier ignorant. An angry Frazier stood up and confronted Ali, who responded by grabbing Frazier and wrestling him to the ground. Both were fined $5,000 by the New York State Athletic Commission. The stage was set for their rematch in the ring.
Ali, a 7 to 5 favorite, and Frazier fought before a crowd of 20,748, which produced a live gate of $1,052,688.
At the opening bell, the pattern was established--Ali circling, jabbing and throwing combinations and Frazier moving aggressively at Ali, bobbing and weaving in order to get under Ali's arms and land the left hook that had floored Ali in the 15th round of their Garden epic three years earlier. Through all 12 rounds, they maintained that pattern.
Ali landed a straight right to Frazier's jaw late in the second round. Wobbling slightly, Frazier retreated to the ropes but the referee leaped between them.
"Somebody called 'bell,'" Perez explained later, "so I stopped them both. Then the gong table yelled, 'Tony, the round isn't over.' Usually I hear the bell, but the bell was defective before the fight. They had to call the electrician to fix it. It was only five to eight seconds."
Afforded a moment's rest, Frazier easily finished the round, which ended 10 seconds later.
Throughout the bout, Frazier complained to Perez that Ali was holding in the clinches. "The only violation," Perez said, "is if you held and hit at the same time. Ali was holding but he wasn't hitting." Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, occasionally complained to Perez between rounds.
Ali was awarded a unanimous decision over Frazier. Judge Jack Gordon scored the fight 8-4, judge Tony Castellano scored it 7-4-1, and referee Tony Perez had it 6-5-1. The unofficial AP scorecard had Ali winning 8-4, and the unofficial UPI scorecard had Ali ahead 7-4-1.
Nine months later, Ali regained the World Heavyweight Championship by knocking Foreman out in eight rounds.
Ali vs. Norton II
| NABF Heavyweight Title Fight
Norton vs. Quarry