Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (2nd meeting)
Joe Frazier 209 lbs lost to Muhammad Ali 212 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Date: 1974-01-28
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
- Referee: Tony Perez 5-6
- Judge: Tony Castellano 4-7
- Judge: Jack Gordon 4-8
Each fighter was guaranteed $850,000 against 32½ percent of the live gate and all ancillary income.
The bout was seen in over 70 countries. In the United States and Canada, it was shown on closed circuit television at 392 locations.
Ali vs. Frazier II is considered by many fans and experts to be the least significant and least exciting fight of the trilogy.
Unlike the first and third bouts, which were 15-rounders for the World Heavyweight Championship, the second fight was a 12-rounder for the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title. Also, the first and third bouts were named Fight of the Year by The Ring, but the second fight was not. However, these facts don't mean the fight was insignificant or boring, quite the contrary.
Ali, the No. 1 contender, was out to avenge his 1971 loss to Frazier and secure a shot at World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman, who had dethroned Frazier the previous January. Frazier, the No. 2 contender, wanted a chance to regain the championship and avenge his 1973 defeat to Foreman, the sole blemish on his record.
In 2014, Tom Gray of The Ring wrote:
- On March 8, 1971, Joe Frazier bested Muhammad Ali in their first meeting, known as “The Fight of the Century” and for many that tagline was literal until Oct. 1, 1975, when the pair squared off for a third time, in the Philippines. “The Thrilla in Manila” was indeed an understatement. It is doubtful that any boxing fan has viewed the second part of this historic trilogy more than those epic battles but “Super Fight II”, which took place on Jan. 28, 1974, at Madison Square Garden in New York, produced quality action and is unquestionably worth a retrospective look.
Brawl at ABC Studios
On January 23, Ali and Frazier visited ABC studios in New York City to review their first fight with commentator Howard Cosell for ABC's Wide World of Sports, which would air two days before their rematch.
While they were reviewing round 10, Frazier mentioned that Ali had to go to the hospital after the fight. "I went to the hospital for 10 minutes. You went for a month," Ali replied. "I was resting," said Frazier, who spent three weeks in a Philadelphia hospital for high blood pressure and a kidney infection. "Nobody goes to the hospital to rest. That shows how dumb you are," Ali responded. "That's ignorant." An angry Frazier stood up and confronted Ali. "Why do you think I'm ignorant?" he asked. Ali's brother, Rahman, then walked on stage and stood next to the fighters. Frazier looked at him and asked, "You wanna get in on this, too?" Immediately, Ali stood up and grabbed Frazier. The two wrestled to the ground and had to be separated.
Following the altercation, Frazier left the studio. "I don't want anyone calling me ignorant," he said, "and I'm sick of taking his abuse." Ali stayed in the studio and reviewed the rest of the fight with Cosell.
Both fighters were fined $5,000 by the New York State Athletic Commission for "deplorable conduct demeaning to boxing."
Ali, a 7 to 5 favorite, and Frazier fought before a sellout 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,' so I stopped them both," Perez explained later. "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 too much. His trainer, Eddie Futch, told Perez, "You gotta stop this!"
"The only violation," Perez said after the bout, "is if you held and hit at the same time. Ali was holding, but he wasn't hitting."
Futch reviewed the film and said Ali had held Frazier 133 times during the fight.
Mark Kram of Sports Illustrated wrote:
- In the end, it was a unanimous decision for Ali: ring generalship over a one-man army fighting a war of attrition. If the fight ever seemed close, it was only because of Frazier's incessant pursuit, which cannot fail to impress even those who may consider it plug ugly, and the occasional bursts—spaced far too far apart—of his left hook. For years it had been sudden evil, yet now it seemed only a moderately bad dream to Ali. For Ali knew what he was about on this night, recalling all the little things that make one a survivor: tying an opponent up, clever volleying when it would count the most, skirting sure trouble like a bank robber.
- Associated Press: 8-4 for Ali
- United Press International: 7-4-1 for Ali
- World Boxing: 6-5-1 for Ali
- International Boxing: 7-4-1 for Ali
- YouTube video: Ali-Frazier studio brawl
- "Ali, Frazier To Collide" Associated Press, January 28, 1974
- "Ali Beats Frazier On Decision Here" by Dave Anderson, the New York Times, January 29, 1974
- "Crafty Win For Muhammad" by Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated, February 4, 1974
- "Ferdie Pacheco recalls Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II – 40 years later" by Tom Gray, The Ring, January 26, 2014
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