KEN NORTON/MUHAMMAD ALI I
Sports Arena, San Diego, CA
March 31, 1973
Norton won a 12-round split decision
KEN NORTON/MUHAMMAD ALI II
Forum, Inglewood, CA
September 10, 1973
Ali won a 12-round split decision
KEN NORTON/MUHAMMAD ALI III
Yankee Stadium, New York
September 28, 1976
Ali won 15-round unanimous decision
About Ken Norton
Born August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, IL.
Died September 18, 2013
Career record: 42 wins (33 KO), 7 defeats (4 KO), 1 draw
"The Black Hercules", "The Jawbreaker", "The Fighting Marine"
Norton began a successful career as an athlete while a high school student in Jacksonville, Illinois. His track coach entered him into eight separate events and Norton placed first in every one of them. Subsequently, the Ken Norton Rule was established at the high school, limiting track and field entrants to just three events in each meet. Norton began boxing in 1963 after joining the U.S. Marine Corps. During the four years that he served, he won three All-Marine Heavyweight Titles.
After losing his first professional fight in 1970, Norton was gifted a motivational book, "Think and Grow Rich", which he claims changed his life. After reading it, he racked up 14 consecutive wins, including his shocking defeat of Ali. He won the split decision in his hometown of San Diego, and during the course of his victory, broke Ali's jaw. Norton became just the second professional boxer to beat Ali.
Norton would fight Ali for the second time in 1973. The scorecards were even going into the final round, but Ali came back with a vengeance and clearly won round 12 and the decision. Norton and Ali fought the final bout of their trilogy in 1976 for the World Heavyweight Title. Norton's corner thought they were further ahead than they actually were. Norton held back in the 15th round; Ali won both the round and the fight. It would become one of the most disputed decisions in boxing history.
After being knocked out by Gerry Cooney in the first round of their 1981 fight, Norton ranked number 22 by Ring Magazine in their list of 50 greatest heavyweights of all time. Norton has appeared in several motion pictures, and pulled out after being cast as Apollo Creed in "Rocky". The Los Angeles Sentinel has twice voted him "Father of the Year". His son Ken Jr. played football for UCLA and the NFL. His son Keith is the weekend sports anchor for KPRC in Houston.
Norton was involved in a serious car crash in 1986, sustaining a fractured skull and jaw, plus a broken leg. He has no recollection of what happened. Though his doctor told him that he would never walk or talk again, he refused to accept that diagnosis, and has re-learned to do both. He was a recipient of the Napoleon Hill Award for positive thinking. Norton has five children and six grandchildren.