Fight of their lives
STAMPED in history as the greatest boxing match ever, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s third and final bout was more than just a championship fight, it was one doused in animosity and acrimony.
But it wasn’t always that way. The pair ( pictured) had once been allies.
When Ali famously objected to fighting in the Vietnam War it was Frazier who supported him.
With Ali in exile, Frazier swooped in on his crown, sparking one of the greatest rivalries in history.
When Ali finally got his licence back, they met in the so- called Fight of the Century, the first time that two undisputed heavyweight champions had met in the ring.
The mutual enmity emerged in the build- up to the fight when Ali turned on Frazier, describing him as an ‘‘ Uncle Tom’’, a ‘‘ white man’s champion’’ and later, a ‘‘ gorilla’’. Frazier in turn riled Ali by referring to him by his birth name, Clay.
Frazier won the bout on points, knocking Ali down in the 15th round. Ali declared the result a ‘‘ white man’s decision’’. By 1975, Ali was champion again having unexpectedly regained the title by beating George Foreman.
Ali’s camp decided to give Frazier a title shot as a final payday for Joe before he retired.
However, the fight proved to be a brutal affair.