A Small Tribute to Ken Norton

Muhammad Ali v Ken NortonIn the golden era of the heavyweight division, the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer, and George Foreman engaged in some of the most memorable fights of all time. This trio managed to overshadow other good fighters such as Jerry Quarry, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers.

However, the best guy not part of the trio was Ken Norton, who passed away last Wednesday. Norton compiled an impressive hall-of-fame record of 42-7-1 (33 KO) but the most impressive quality about Norton was his humility and the strong character that he exhibited throughout his career and life.

He is best remembered for giving Ali three of the toughest fights of his career, even breaking the legend’s jaw and winning a split decision that should have been unanimous the first time the two met. This fight put Norton on the level of the elite in the heavyweight division.

In the rematch, Ali used his foot movement much more but Norton applied a strong comeback in the second half of the fight. The scorecards were split again, this time in Ali’s favor.

After Ali pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history against George Foreman, the duo met for their rubbermatch with the championship on the line. Although most observers thought Norton did enough to dethrone Ali, the scorecards gave a close, unanimous decision victory to Ali, much to Norton’s disappointment.

This wouldn’t stop Norton from attaining the crown.

After Leon Spinks violated the terms of the WBC by choosing to take a lucrative rematch with Ali after upsetting him for the crown instead of facing Norton, the title was stripped from him and awarded to Norton. He reluctantly accepted the belt, determined to prove he was no “paper” champion.

He proved his championship qualities in his first defense of the title against a young Larry Holmes. Both fought with grit and determination. Holmes used his jab and right cross while Norton stayed confident and put enormous pressure on Holmes. The 15th round is among the best in boxing history as both men landed thudding combinations and refused to back away.

Once again the scorecards would deliver Norton bad news as Holmes won a close split decision victory to capture the title.

Despite the tremendous disappointment, Norton exhibited humbling self-criticism and honesty by giving Holmes his due and gracefully accepting the loss without any excuses.

It was these qualities that made Norton not only a great fighter, but a great human being. He may not have been the best fighter who ever lived, but he a damn good one and a great example of what hard work can do for a person and what being a ‘good’ person means.

For a more in depth story on a man that I only knew in articles and interviews click on the links below. It’s worth the read.

In the golden era of the heavyweight division, the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer, and George Foreman engaged in some of the most memorable fights of all time. This trio managed to overshadow other good fighters such as Jerry Quarry, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers.

However, the best guy not part of the trio was Ken Norton, who passed away last Wednesday. Norton compiled an impressive hall-of-fame record of 42-7-1 (33 KO) but the most impressive quality about Norton was his humility and the strong character that he exhibited throughout his career and life.

He is best remembered for giving Ali three of the toughest fights of his career, even breaking the legend’s jaw and winning a split decision that should have been unanimous the first time the two met. This fight put Norton on the level of the elite in the heavyweight division.

In the rematch, Ali used his foot movement much more but Norton applied a strong comeback in the second half of the fight. The scorecards were split again, this time in Ali’s favor.

After Ali pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history against George Foreman, the duo met for their rubbermatch with the championship on the line. Although most observers thought Norton did enough to dethrone Ali, the scorecards gave a close, unanimous decision victory to Ali, much to Norton’s disappointment.

This wouldn’t stop Norton from attaining the crown.

After Leon Spinks violated the terms of the WBC by choosing to take a lucrative rematch with Ali after upsetting him for the crown instead of facing Norton, the title was stripped from him and awarded to Norton. He reluctantly accepted the belt, determined to prove he was no “paper” champion.

He proved his championship qualities in his first defense of the title against a young Larry Holmes. Both fought with grit and determination. Holmes used his jab and right cross while Norton stayed confident and put enormous pressure on Holmes. The 15th round is among the best in boxing history as both men landed thudding combinations and refused to back away.

Once again the scorecards would deliver Norton bad news as Holmes won a close split decision victory to capture the title.

Despite the tremendous disappointment, Norton exhibited humbling self-criticism and honesty by giving Holmes his due and gracefully accepting the loss without any excuses.

It was these qualities that made Norton not only a great fighter, but a great human being. He may not have been the best fighter who ever lived, but he a damn good one and a great example of what hard work can do for a person and what being a ‘good’ person means.

For a more in depth story on a man that I only knew in articles and interviews click on the links below. It’s worth the read.

http://www.ibhof.com/pages/about/inductees/modern/norton.html

http://ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/180941-a-tribute-to-ken-norton

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