This Day In Sports History (March 8th) – “The Fight of the Century”
It was on this day in 1971 that Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali to retain his Heavyweight boxing belt. The fight took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden in front of a sold out crowd, which included many celebrities.
“The Fight Of The Century” is what the media had dubbed this battle during the pre-fight hype and it did not disappoint. Ali had the upper hand at the midway point of the bout, but Frazier came on strong late and knocked his opponent down in the 15th round. Frazier ended up winning on the judges’ scorecards by unanimous decision.
This fight was the first in heavyweight boxing history to have both fighters enter the ring undefeated and as champions. Ali did not lose his belt in the ring, but rather was stripped of his title for his refusal to fight for his country in the armed forces. This was the first of three epic battles between Frazier and Ali, with Ali coming out victorious in the final two.
Here is a recap of “The Fight of the Century.”
Jim Rice, MLB – Born March 8th 1953 (age 60) in Anderson, South Carolina
Jason Elam, NFL – Born March 8th 1970 (age 43) in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Hines Ward, NFL – Born March 8th 1976 (age 37) in Seoul, South Korea