Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in a rematch fight
In 1973, Ali fought Ken Norton, who broke Ali's jaw and won by split decision in 12 rounds.
Ali won the rematch, also by split decision, on September 10, 1973, which set up Ali-Frazier II, a nontitle rematch with Joe Frazier, who had already lost his title to George Foreman. The bout was held on January 28, 1974, with Ali winning a unanimous 12-round decision.
While Joe Frazier had been champion and Ali had been unbeaten since their first bout, the mooted purse for each fighter in a second fight was $5 million. Now that their market value had dropped (frazier had been dethroned convincingly by George Foreman) they were to get a mere $850,000 apiece.
It was known that Frazier had been hurt by Ali int he first fight; he had been hospitalised with kidney damage for almost three weeks. He also had restricted sight in his right eye, a problem that he had concealed for much of his career. Ali had recovered from his broken jaw, but it was now apparent that he would not be the quick genius that he had been before his exile.
Nonetheless it was still big news, a superfight. Frazier and ALi ended up in a wrestling match live on national television while being interviewed by Howard Cosell. Frazier made a comment about Ali's trip to the hospital after their first fight and Ali became annoyed. "Why d'you say that, Joe? Everybody knows I went to hospital for 10 minutes. You were there for three weeks. You ignorant Joe."
Given the history between the two, tha taunt was too much for Frazier. He pulle dout his ear piece and grappled Ali to the floor. Cosell was stunned and petrified. Ali just regarded it as horse play to sell the fight, but Frazier did not and they ended up having to be seperated by members of the audience. They were both fined $5,000 by the New York State Commission.
Almost 21,000 fans filled the Garden as the pair went into the ring. Ali had learnt from defeat. He knew exactly what Frazier would bring to the contest. Round one went to Ali: Frazier barely touched him. In round two started to get into rhythm but was quickly shattered when Ali landed a withering right. Frazier was stunned by the punch and might have gone down with a follow up. But Ali was denied by the intervention of referee Tony Perez who mistakenly thought the bell had sounded.
Ali continued to dominate the fight throwing more punches than Frazier. When Frazier got close Ali would grab him around the neck and hold him until the referee broke the clinch. Frazier began to make headway in rounds eight and nine, keeping Ali pinned to the ropes with heavy body shots. Then, just as he had with Ken Norton, Ali changed his tactics and began to trafe punches with Frazier, winning some hard exhchanges. As the later rounds came and went, Frazier realised he was done. Ali's superior technique had overcome his rage. The older man won comfortably.
1974-01-28 : Joe Frazier 209lbs lost to Muhammad Ali 212lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
Referee: Tony Perez 5-6
Judge: Tony Castellano 4-7
Judge: Jack Gordon 4-8
NABF Heavyweight Title (1st defense of Ali)