Muhammad Ali's third fight against his archrival Joe Frazier was a spectacular ending to the long lasting struggle of the two Heavyweights who faced each other for a total of 132 minutes in the ring. The "Thrilla in Manila" is considered one of the most brutal and bitter bouts in the history of boxing; it was the only time an Ali - Frazier bout did not last for the scheduled time.
After having regained the title against George Foreman in Zaire one year earlier, Ali had successfully defended the belt three times within three months against mostly mediocre opponents. Now he was to face Joe Frazier for the third time to change the record to his favor (Frazier had won the first bout in 1971, Ali prevailed in the rematch three years later).
The bout was important for Ali not only in terms of prestige. He was guaranteed a purse of six million dollars which was twice as much as Joe's and more than Ali had received for the first two fights altogether.
As usual, Ali didn't miss a chance to verbally attack his foe in the days leading to the bout. This time it was worse than ever: He gave Frazier the nickname "Gorilla", called him ignorant and mocked him because of his ghetto slang. Frazier reciprocated with untypically bellicose statements: "I want to hurt him. I don't want to knock him out. I want to take his heart out."
Finally, the day of the fight was there. On the morning of October 1 (the fight took place at 10:45 a.m. to suit US viewers) 25,000 people crowded the Philippines Coliseum in Quezon City, six miles outside Manila, hoping for a great fight between stylist and slugger.
As expected, Ali puts pressure on Frazier in the beginning, stinging him with jabs and combinations to the head, winning the first rounds. Frazier does not lose hope - he knows his time is still to come. He keeps smiling as he takes Ali's punches and retaliates with punches to Ali's arms and body, once in a while a hook gets through to Ali's head.
With about a third of the f...