MSG Network to air “The Fight of the Century” as part of MSG “The Garden’s Defining Moments” Friday, March 20

Narrated by Academy Award Nominee Liam Nelson, MSG Network’s “The Garden’s Defining Moments” is a special 20-part television event presented by SAP, celebrating some of the greatest moments at Madison Square Garden spanning the legendary venue’s more than 135-year history. The Garden’s four Arena complexes have played host to many of the greatest moments in the history of sports, music, entertainment and politics and MSG Network will dedicate a half-hour episode to honor 20 of these “Defining Moments,” which are showcased in the Arena with photos, memorabilia and artifacts.

Premiering Friday, March 20 at 10:00 p.m.

The “Fight of the Century” – March 8, 1971

Featuring interviews with Jerry Perenchio, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Chuck Wepner, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Larry Merchant

In one of the most anticipated sports events of all time, an unbeaten Muhammad Ali faced off against an unbeaten Joe Frazier in what would later be known as the “Fight of the Century.” It was a star-studded night at The Garden, with Frank Sinatra shooting for LIFE magazine, Burt Lancaster serving as a broadcaster, Sammy Davis, Jr., and many others spotted in the stands. After his customary slow start, Frazier took control, and early in the 15th round hit Ali with his signature left hook that floored the former champ. Ali sprung up immediately and resumed the fight, but it was too late – the unanimous decision went to Frazier, and Ali suffered his first loss. Ali avenged the loss nearly three years later at The Garden in “Ali-Frazier II” on January 28, 1974, and later earned a dramatic TKO victory over Frazier when the two met for a third and final time in the Philippines on October 1, 1975 for the “The Thrilla in Manila.”

MSG Network is premiering the first 10 episodes of “The Garden’s Defining Moments,” narrated by Academy Award Nominee Liam Neeson, over 10 consecutive nights beginning March 17.

Mike Tyson – “This was one of the most brutalist heavyweight championship fights in the history of boxing. These are two guys who gave everything they had. That was the yard stick of which every great fight, especially heavyweight fights would be judged by.”

Sugar Ray Leonard – “The fighters of today owe Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier everything. It’s because of those two fighters, those two warriors, those two individuals who left it in the ring for themselves but now it is for us – without question.”

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini – “It’s the one fight they built up and lived up to the expectations.” …. “ Who could root for that, someone (Ali) who brags like that, who says these types of things. As a

kid growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, I couldn’t stand for that. Joe Frazier is going to beat him, Joe Frazier is my guy. “

Ceatta Collins (Joe Frazier’s daughter) – “He couldn’t understand why he was calling him hard names. An ‘Uncle Tom’ a ‘Gorilla’. He thought that was very offensive and unnecessary. We are here to fight, we’re here to box.”

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