On This Day: Muhammad Ali outlasts Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila


The greatest fight in heavyweight history ends the most compelling rivalry of them all

October 1, 1975; Philippine Coliseum, Manila
A FEW minutes before 11am on October 1, 1975, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier began the fight that would end their rivalry. After the frightfully punishing encounter, neither boxer would be the same again. Ali presumed Frazier was shot beforehand. There were accusations he did not take the contest as seriously as their previous two bouts. Frazier’s commitment to the rubber match was never called into question. Watching this battle today, knowing what it took from them and 45 years after it took place, is an emotional experience. Yet why this remains widely regarded as the greatest fight of them all is clear to see.  

DID YOU KNOW? Larry Holmes beat Rodney Bobick, brother of Duane, on the undercard. The same Rodney Bobick who had fought Ali in a Miami Beach exhibition, five months beforehand.

WATCH OUT FOR: After clearly losing the opening round, Frazier smiles at Ali at the bell and taps him on the leg. A warning, perhaps, that the rest of the fight would not be so easy for the champion.

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