Ken Norton

Ken Norton was an American professional boxer who competed from 1967 to 1981. He was born on August 9, 1943, in Jacksonville, Illinois, and passed away on September 18, 2013, in Henderson, Nevada. Norton is best known for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s. Their first encounter took place on March 31, 1973, and Norton shocked the boxing world by defeating Ali in a 12-round split decision, breaking Ali’s jaw in the process. They had a rematch on September 10, 1973, which Ali won by a split decision, and they faced each other for the third time on September 28, 1976, with Ali winning again by a unanimous decision.

Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali

Throughout his career, Ken Norton held the WBC heavyweight title from 1977 to 1978. He had notable victories against other notable heavyweight contenders such as Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Young, and Randall “Tex” Cobb. Norton had a professional record of 42 wins (33 by knockout), 7 losses, and 1 draw. Ken Norton was known for his unorthodox fighting style, utilizing a cross-armed guard and a powerful overhand right. He had a reputation for being a tough and durable fighter, as evidenced by his competitive matches against Ali.

American former champion boxer Muhammad Ali (Right) sits with former opponent Ken Norton at an appreciation celebration in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky in 1997.

After retiring from boxing, Norton pursued an acting career and appeared in several films and TV shows. He also worked as a commentator and trainer in the boxing world. Ken Norton’s contributions to the sport of boxing and his memorable fights with Muhammad Ali have cemented his place in boxing history.

A young Norton (center) with his trainer Eddie Futch (left) and Joe Frazier.

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