Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III

By Boxing News on September 27, 2020
Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III
Norton was to Ali as Juan Manuel Marquez is to Pacquiao. He had The Greatest's number.

On September 28, 1976 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, WBC/WBA heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali defended his titles against Ken Norton for the third and final time. The first fight in 1973 was a split decision that went to Norton. The second fight, also in 1973, was a split decision in favor of Ali. Going into the rubber match, Muhammad was 52-2 and Norton was 31-3. Norton was to Ali as Juan Manuel Marquez is to Pacquiao. The tough ex-Marine, while perhaps not an all-time great, had The Louisville Lip’s number. The fight was scheduled for 15 rounds…

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Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 1

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 2

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 3

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 4

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 5

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 6

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 7

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 8

Muhammad Ali -vs- Ken Norton III 9/28/76 part 9

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  1. Your Name 02:47pm, 09/29/2018

    all 3 fights were close anyone who thinks Norton won that second fight are delusional Ali won that fairly obviously the third fight could have gone either way the 15th round hurt Norton but the fight was a tossup goes to show you styles make fights

  2. David 02:34pm, 10/02/2017

    Ken Norton beat Muhammad Ali in all 3 fights. He, Ali, could not solve or figure out how to defend against Ken Norton’s telegraphing punches. The “Greatest” yeah right.

  3. tony d 01:39pm, 09/29/2017

    all three fights were close Norton won the first fight close ali won the second fight close ali gets the decision in the third fight that could have gone either way I have watched it 20 times the 15 th round was bad for Norton but up until that round the fight was close noton’s style bothered ali but Norton landed a lot of “grazing” shots in that fight ali landed more ” clean” shots and if a fight was close against ali because he was ali you weren’t going to get the decision especially when ali was champion!

  4. Hal Pritzker 10:40am, 02/20/2016

    While the title was Norton’s for the taking, he didn’t have the mindset—initiative—and killer instinct to go after the Big Mouth Draft Dodger in that crucial 15th round. He stupidly played it safe, and paid for it. Clay didn’t beat him; Norton beat himself. And while I’ve always hated Clay, he always had the desire of a champion. Norton, despite his obvious physicality, was—like Wilt Chamberlain—at heart a loser. Because he had no heart.

  5. Michael W. 02:17am, 11/20/2015

    @Dokes, what are you talking about? Body shots absolutely count toward the final round score in boxing. As long as it’s a clean punch, above the belt, a body shot would almost certainly affect a judge’s decision.

    Specific kinds of punches are not what determine points in a scorecard, as you incorrectly suggested. Only the four criteria (hard and clean punches, effective aggressiveness, defense and ring generalship), along with considering knockdowns and infractions, are what determine the score of a round.

    It’s interesting you call others jackasses, yet your post was completely flawed.

    I do, however, agree that Ali did win that fight.

  6. Dokes 04:30pm, 06/17/2015

    Every1 pay attention to all jackasses who does not knw game of boxing.
    Bodyshots does not count in scorecard.
    Jabs hook righthand uppercut is counted in fight.
    People’s champ ALI scored by punching on face hence he was winner. 
    Norton was more into body shots.

  7. Daniel Woodhead, III 03:41pm, 01/29/2015

    I saw the fight on closed-circuit TV at Brooks Hall, San Francisco.  Norton beat Ali decisively, and all I can say about Ali is that he could take a punch.
    I have never seen an athlete in all my years of watching sports, and I am now 78, where that athlete has been so short-changed as Ken Norton was
    in that fight.  It was worse than the Sonny Liston “fix” in Lewiston, Maine.

    Dan Woodhead

  8. Jan Swart 10:00am, 09/28/2014

    Had a look at Muhammad Ali’s last fights as per your record (top right of page). Migual Angel Vargas? Valentin Feulon? Either you are drunk, or I am.

  9. neo 05:05pm, 12/30/2013

    I was the Fight like 20 time each round, all ken norton did was some grazing shots at Ali clearly that does not score points, Ali got points for frequently changing tactics and the for Jabs mainly, Clearly Jabs score points, this is for all those morons who dosent understand boxing, While ken hitting for body shots thinking he wear down Ali, but that didnt hapn unfortunate, the worst part for ken was crying.

  10. Eric 12:06pm, 06/27/2013


    Agree. I, too, think Norton won all three fights with Ali.

  11. Johnny 08:44pm, 02/06/2013

    Everybody likes to think they’re smarter than the judges on this for (how much sense does this make?) blindly jumping on board with the clueless announcers. It was a close fight, but, come on, were these guys just excited by the idea of someone finally wiping away Ali’s cockiness? I mean, how could they POSSIBLY call round 9 even? One hard hit and a couple grazing shots from Norton is worth 20+ hits to the head from Ali?
    It seems they just liked the way Norton kept pushing forward (which you don’t get points for fyi) and saw it as him “controlling” the fight. Unfortunately, they injected some infamy into this fight by making a LOT of people see it their way.

  12. henry 05:01am, 09/30/2012

    Norton was robbed.  He beat Ali all three fights.  The mob kept Ali winning for box office money.