Boxer Ken Norton Dead at 70

He was ring nemesis of Muhammad Ali

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 18, 2013 7:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died today in Las Vegas at age 70. Norton had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend said. Norton broke Ali's jaw in their first bout, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a non-title fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision. They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium, and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.

Norton would come back the next year to win a heavyweight title eliminator and was declared champion by the World Boxing Council. But on June 9, 1978, he lost a bruising 15-round fight to Larry Holmes in what many regard as one of boxing's epic heavyweight bouts and would never be champion again. Norton finished with a record of 42-7-1 and 33 knockouts. He would later embark on an acting career, appearing in several movies, and was a commentator at fights.

Sept. 10, 1973: Muhammad Ali, right, winces as Ken Norton hits him with a left to the head during their re-match at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Sept. 10, 1973: Muhammad Ali, right, winces as Ken Norton hits him with a left to the head during their re-match at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.   (Anonymous)
Sept. 28, 1976: Challenger Ken Norton, left, and heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali trade punches in the late rounds of their title fight in New York's Yankee Stadium.
Sept. 28, 1976: Challenger Ken Norton, left, and heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali trade punches in the late rounds of their title fight in New York's Yankee Stadium.   (AP Photo/File_)
June 9, 1978: Ken Norton, right, follows through with his right as Larry Holmes misses during an early round of their heavyweight championship fight in Las Vegas.
June 9, 1978: Ken Norton, right, follows through with his right as Larry Holmes misses during an early round of their heavyweight championship fight in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/File_)
Former boxer Ken Norton in 2012.
Former boxer Ken Norton in 2012.   (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)
Sept. 10, 1973: Ken Norton, left, and Muhammad Ali fight at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Sept. 10, 1973: Ken Norton, left, and Muhammad Ali fight at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.   (AP Photo/File)
June 3, 1976: Muhammad Ali, left, and Ken Norton stand in the infield at New York's Yankee Stadium to promote their title fight.
June 3, 1976: Muhammad Ali, left, and Ken Norton stand in the infield at New York's Yankee Stadium to promote their title fight.   (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
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