There are some fights that were possible but they never happened. In the case of Joe Frazier verses Ken Norton a little bit of alternative revisionist history is needed to set the stage for the fight to have happened. The following, of course, is fiction and it is my take on how such a fight may have transpired.
It is May 1974 and former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier is in training to fight fellow highly ranked contender Jerry Quarry who had defeated up and coming contenders Earnie Shavers and Ron Lyle the previous year. Frazier, who was fresh off a loss to fellow ex champion Muhammad Ali, knew a win over Quarry would solidify another heavyweight title shot against the man who had brutally taken his title from him, George Foreman. But as luck would have it Quarry, who was prone to cuts, was cut while training and the injury was severe enough to sideline him for the next couple of months. Frazier was told by several promoters and by representatives of the major sanctioning bodies that he had to beat a top ranked contender in order to be considered for another title shot. But the problem was that if Quarry, who fit the bill, was not available, and both Lyle and Shavers who had already been beaten by Quarry had slipped in the rankings, who was available for Frazier to fight? Continue reading
As fans have no doubt read by now, heavyweight legend and former world champion Ken Norton passed away earlier today. The magnificently conditioned former U.S Marine, most famous for his three epic fights with Muhammad Ali, suffered a stroke last year and had been in poor health since. Today, fans and former champions everywhere are sending out messages of condolence to Norton’s family.
I had the opportunity to meet Kenny last year, in Las Vegas.
By way of a tribute to the Hall of Famer who met such heavyweight titans as: Ali, Larry Holmes, George Foreman, Gerry Cooney, Earnie Shavers and many, many more – I recall the short amount of time I spent with Norton during the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight week of May 2012. Continue reading
CANASTOTA, NY – SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who passed away today in Las Vegas. He was 70.
1992 Hall of Fame Inductee Ken Norton
“Ken Norton was one of the standouts of the talent-filled 1970s heavyweight division,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “He was a great fighter in the ring and a great person outside of it. The Hall of Fame joins the worldwide boxing community in mourning his passing.”
Born August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois, Norton was a gifted football, basketball and track star in high school. He began boxing while in the Marine Corps where he compiled a 24-2 record. After turning pro in 1967 Norton quickly became a key player in the heavyweight division. He engaged in a classic three-fight series with fellow Hall of Famer Muhammad Ali (W 12, L 12, L 12). Norton captured the NABF title twice (1973 and 1975) and held the WBC heavyweight championship (1978). Continue reading
By James Slater: Former World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight king Ken Norton has been in the news this week, but unfortunately for unpleasant reasons. The 69-year-old sadly suffered a stroke this week and he is currently in hospital, fighting hard. Continue reading
By Vitali Shaposhnikov: A fighter whose name all boxing fans should know and have no trouble praising, has suffered a stroke, but thus far is in stable condition. (http://www.secondsout.com/news/main-news/former-champ-ken-norton-suffers-stroke). Continue reading
By James Slater: According to a number of boxing web sites (I read the sad news on SecondsOut.com), former WBC heavyweight king Ken Norton suffered a stroke earlier today and is in a stable condition in hospital. Ironically, today is Kenny’s birthday – either his 69th or, according to other records, his 67th. Continue reading