Ken Norton vs. Jimmy Young

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Norton hits Young with a right along the ropes

Ken Norton 215 lbs beat Jimmy Young 213 lbs by SD in round 15 of 15


  • The fight was a 15-round WBC title eliminator.
  • Norton was ranked #1 by the WBC and Young was ranked #2.
  • Judge Raymond Baldeyrou called six rounds even, and judge Jim Rondeau called five even. Judge Art Lurie scored just one round even.
  • After the fight, referee Carlos Padilla said, "If I had had a vote, I would have voted for Young."
  • The day before the fight, the WBC stated that World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali had to sign within 60 days to fight the winner of Norton-Young or he would be stripped of the title. However, Ali was already set to meet the winner of the November 18 fight between Leon Spinks and Alfio Righetti, which Spinks won by a 10-round unanimous decision. The WBC sanctioned Ali-Spinks after both fighters agreed that the winner, which was Spinks, would sign for a Norton fight by April 7. The WBC stripped Spinks of the title on March 18 and awarded it to Norton, saying Spinks was avoiding a fight with Norton and dealing in bad faith with the WBC. On April 11, Ali and Spinks, who was still the WBA champion, signed for a rematch.
  • In the 1998 Holiday Issue of The Ring Magazine, Norton was ranked as the 22nd greatest heavyweight of all-time and Young was ranked 37th.

From Sports Illustrated:

Through the early rounds Norton pressed his savage body attack, with Young trying to slow him down with jabs. In the third Norton pounded two punches to the body and then caught Young on the chin with a short, savage hook. Young staggered back, shaking his head. Later he said it was the only punch that had really hurt him. The attacks ebbed and flowed; seldom were both fighters at rest.

Through the first nine rounds Norton kept boring in and scoring to the body; Young kept surviving, but also scoring with jabs, right-hand leads and occasional flurries. Then Young switched his attack and became more aggressive. He opened up with heavier guns. Well, heavy guns for him. He was in command from then through the 14th round, and it was at that point that Ali, who was in the front row, leaped to his feet to scream, "I don't want to fight Norton again. Beat him, Young! Beat him!"

In the corner Slayton told Norton that he needed to win the 15th round. Across the way Young's people figured they had the fight locked up. Angelo Dundee, Ali's trainer, had sent word that he thought Young was out in front. "I always did go for a boxer," Dundee said later.

Storming out, Norton picked up his attack to the body. Young went to work on the head. With so much at stake, neither dared to pause. For the full three minutes they banged each other about the ring. Then it was over. Norton had won the last round.