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Boxing – 1975 – Muhammad Ali + Smokin’ Joe Frazier + Promoter Don King On “The Killa And Thrilla And Chilla When I Get That Gorilla In Manila”

If you have followed any of our Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali posts here at ImaSportsphile…..then you know that Ali is Bone Daddy’s favorite athlete of all time…..and that says a lot when you consider that he literally loved Mickey Mantle, Bill Russell, Eric Heiden, Edwin Moses and Jim Brown….but it didn’t start out that way….cuz BD originally thought that Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) was a loud mouth kid who needed to get his mouth shut in the ring….however, that all changed when Ali stood up for his faith in Islam and refused to enter the draft for the US Military induction….for BD admires folks who stand up for their beliefs…..as long as those beliefs were without intention to harm or abuse others….cuz the truth be known about Muhammad Ali….is that he was all about love…..and he proved it over and over in his life.

If you read any of my Ali posts here at ImaSportsphile….you will easily understand that there was so much more to Muhammad Ali than his incredible talents in the boxing ring…..for without question, this young man from the projects of Louisville, Kentucky would grow up to become the most widely known person in the entire world…..of whom many millions of fans would call “The Greatest”. 

Boxing – 1975 – Special – Highlights Of The Thrilla In Manilla – Muhammad Ali Vs Smokin’ Joe Frazier – With Howard Cosell At The Mike

Boxing – 1975 – Special – PreFight Press Conference For The Thrilla In Manila – With Muhammad Ali And Smokin’ Joe Frazier

Boxing – October 1, 1975 – HBO Special – The Thrilla In Manila – “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali Vs “Smokin'” Joe Frazier – Fight III – With Barry Tompkins

The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier…which was contested on October 1, 1975 for the Heavyweight Championship of the world at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines.  Ali won by technical knockout (TKO) after Frazier’s chief second, Eddie Futch, asked the referee to stop the fight following the end of the 14th round. The contest’s name is derived from Ali’s rhyming boast that the fight would be “a killa and a thrilla and a chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila.”

The bout is consistently ranked as one of the best fights ever in the history of boxing…..which was the culmination of a three-bout rivalry between the two fighters that Ali won, 2–1…..as the three fights represent the finest example of “grudge matches” that have ever been fought….as the fight was watched by a record global television audience of 1 billion viewers….which included 100 million viewers watching the fight on closed-circuit theatre television….and 500,000 pay-per-view buys on HBO home cable television.                                                                                                                                                                       

Boxing – 2009 – Documentary – Smokin’ Joe Frazier Returns To The Gym Where He Trained For The Thrilla In Manila With Muhammad Ali And Tells His Story

Boxing – 1975 – HBO Special – The Thrilla In Manila Explained Round By Round – With Muhammad Ali Vs Joe Frazier

Boxing – 1975 – Rare Footage Of Interviews Leading Up To The Thrilla In Manila – With Muhammad Ali + Smokin’ Joe Frazier + Dr. Ferdie Pacheco + Howard Cosell

                                                                                                                                                                                   In order to accommodate an international viewing audience, the fight took place at 10 a.m. local time….and although it served the business interests of the fight…..it was detrimental to the fighters. Ali’s ring physician, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, said “At 10am the stickiness of the night was still there, but cooked by the sun. So what you got is boiling water for atmosphere.”  Denise Menz, who was part of Frazier’s contingent, said of the conditions inside the aluminum-roofed Philippine Coliseum: “It was so intensely hot, I’ve never before felt heat like that in my life. Not a breath of air—nothing. And that was sitting there. Can you imagine being in the ring? I don’t know how they did it.”  Frazier estimated the ring temperature at more than 120 °F (49 °C), taking into account the effect of additional lights used for purposes of televising the fight.  Ali said that he lost 5 pounds (2.3 kg) during the fight due to dehydration.

When the fighters and their cornermen met at the center of the ring for the referee’s instructions, Ali continued his verbal assault on Joe Frazier, finishing with the taunt: “You don’t have it, Joe, you don’t have it! I’m going to put you away!” In response, Frazier smiled and said “We’ll see.”

Ali was sharp early, as the slow-starting Frazier could not bob and weave his way inside of Ali’s jab. Ali won the first two rounds. He kept Frazier in the center of the ring, and landed several straight right hands immediately after his left jab. Frazier was wobbled or at least knocked off-balance by solid punches twice in the early rounds. Commenting for the U.S. television audience, Don Dunphy said, “Ali with his fast hands and sharp shooting keeps it his way.” Viewing the fight for the first time some 31 years later, Frazier said, “Too far away, needed to get closer.”  Ali also continued to attack his opponent verbally, most noticeably in the 3rd round when he was performing well and had plenty of energy. Referee Carlos Padilla said, “During the fight [Ali] would say ‘Ah one ah two and a three … Jack be nimble and Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Is that all you can give? Come on, you ugly gorilla—hit me!'” Several times, Ali made circular hand gestures at Frazier to encourage him closer.

During round 3, Ali began using the “rope-a-dope”….which was a strategy in which he used the ropes for support and rest while allowing his opponent to expend energy throwing punches. When it was effective, Ali would eventually spin off the ropes and unleash a volley of punches in rapid succession against an arm-weary opponent. In Manila, it did not always work out that way. Frazier landed his first good body punches of the fight in the 3rd round with Ali pinned in the corner. Due to his general lack of reach and arthritic right elbow, Frazier needed to be close to Ali to hit him with frequency…. and the rope-a-dope enabled him to do that. About two minutes into the round, Ali threw a succession of hard punches, many of which missed…..when commenting for the BBC, Harry Carpenter said, “I don’t know when I’ve seen Ali in as aggressive a mood as this. He really looks as if he wants to nail Frazier to the canvas for once and all.”

During the fifth round, Frazier’s timing and the rhythm of his bobbing and weaving improved. He was able to avoid the oncoming fists of the champion and, for the first time in the fight, land solid left hooks to Ali’s head. Ali spent much of the round along the ropes. According to his trainer, Angelo Dundee, this “was the worst thing he could do because he’s making Joe pick up momentum where he could drive those shots to the body.”  Ali’s method of self-defense also worsened noticeably in the fifth. Boxing journalist Jerry Izenberg, who was ringside, said, “Somewhere about the 4th or 5th round Joe hit him with a right hand—I didn’t think Joe could tie his shoes with his right hand—and Ali pulls back and says ‘You don’t have no right hand, you can’t do that.’ and bing! he hits him with another right hand. Suddenly Ali had to think ‘Well there are two hands in this fight on the other side’—that was very important.”  His guard also visibly lowered in this round as a result of the vicious body attack he was absorbing. The net effect was that Ali became much more exposed to Frazier’s most lethal punch–the left hook.

Shortly after the bell rang to start the 6th round Frazier landed a thunderous left hook which thudded against the right side of Ali’s face. Ali was knocked back by the force of the blow, and landed in the ropes behind him. He did not appear dazed or groggy, but was visibly stiff in his body movements while backing away from the oncoming Frazier, and continuing to throw punches of his own. Seconds later, Frazier landed a tremendous, whipping left hook to Ali’s head. Again Ali landed in the ropes behind him, but he only gave the appearance of being slightly dazed, and stiff legged. Though he had taken blows that would have felled a lesser or less committed fighter, Ali remained standing and was able to finish the round without being knocked down. Years later, watching the event on video, Frazier shook his head at the sight of Ali withstanding the powerful blows. Jerry Izenberg observed, “They were tremendous hooks, and you have to understand, normal fighters would not have continued—it would have been over.” According to Ed Schuyler of Associated Press, who was present at ringside, Ali reacted to Frazier’s sixth-round barrage by saying (at the start of the next round), “They told me Joe Frazier was washed up,” to which Frazier retorted: “They lied.”                                                                                                                                         

Boxing – 1975 – Special Feature – Legendary Boxing Promoter Bob Arum Condemns HBO Documentary      “Thrilla in Manila” With Muhammad ALI vs Joe Frazier

Boxing – 1975 – Special – Highlights Of The Most Brutal Moments In The Thrilla In Manila – With “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali Vs “Smokin'” Joe Frazier

Boxing – 1975 – Special – Original Round By Round Highlights Of The Thrilla In Manila – With Don Dunphy At The Mike For Ali Vs Frazier – Fight III

As the bout wore on it became clear that despite his belief in the rope-a-dope…..when Ali had his back against the ropes….that is when Frazier had the advantage…..as Smokin’ Joe was able to wear down his opponent with body punches….plus left hooks to the head….and occasionally short chopping right hands. Meanwhile, the long-armed champion had a difficult time getting much power into his punches while fighting on the inside…..while Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee…..who detested the rope-a-dope (never more so than in Manila) constantly begged his fighter to “get off the goddamn ropes!”  Beginning at the start of round 7, Ali managed to do so effectively for about a round and a half, and was able to best Frazier in exhausting toe-to-toe exchanges during the opening minute of round 8…..which was described on the telecast as “a big rally by Ali.”….but later in that round, an arm-weary Ali began to be beaten to the punch by the challenger. During the final minute of round 8, Ali sagged against the ropes in a neutral corner as Frazier landed a series of punches to his body and head.  On the broadcast, Dunphy excitedly told his audience: “Frazier may have evened up the round!” with about 30 seconds to go.

At the close of a very trying ninth round, a visibly tired Ali went back to his corner, and told his trainer: “Man, this is the closest I’ve ever been to dying.”  In the opposite corner, Frazier was suffering from pronounced swelling about the face….which was the result of an accumulation of hundreds of punches exclusively aimed at his head. For Frazier, who was nearly blind in his left eye since a training accident in 1965, this was a calamitous development…..when after the 11th round, in which Ali landed frequently, Eddie Futch confronted his fighter asking him: “What’s with this right-hand business?”  In response, Frazier indicated that he could not see some of the punches he was being hit with.  At this point, Futch gave him what turned out to be poor advice….as he told his Smokin’ Joe to stand more upright when approaching Ali rather than continuing his usual bobbing and weaving style….and that is when Ali seized upon this immediately in Round 12…..and with his back to the ropes, he threw many punches with both hands that landed accurately and did still more damage to Frazier’s limited eyesight. Adding to Frazier’s problems was his corner’s inability to maintain a functional icebag to apply to his eye past the middle rounds because of the oppressive heat inside the Philippine Coliseum. As Frazier rose from his stool to contest Round 13, he was a combatant who could barely see.

British sportswriter Frank McGhee ringside for the Daily Mirror describes the final rounds:

“The main turning point of the fight came very late. It came midway through the thirteenth round when one of two tremendous right-hand smashes sent the gum shield sailing out of Frazier’s mouth. The sight of this man actually moving backwards seemed to inspire Ali. I swear he hit Frazier with thirty tremendous punches—each one as hard as those which knocked out George Foreman in Zaire, during the fourteenth round. He was dredging up all his own last reserves of power to make sure there wouldn’t have to be a fifteenth round.”

Seeing the results of round 14, Eddie Futch decided to stop the fight between rounds rather than risk a similar or worse fate for Frazier in the 15th. Frazier protested stopping the fight, shouting “I want him, boss,” and trying to get Futch to change his mind. Futch replied, “It’s all over. No one will forget what you did here today”…..and signaled to referee Carlos Padilla, Jr., to end the bout.  Ali would later claim that this was the closest to dying he had ever been.  Unbeknownst to Frazier’s corner, at the end of the 14th round Ali instructed his cornermen to cut his gloves off, but Dundee ignored him. Ali later told his biographer Thomas Hauser, “Frazier quit just before I did. I didn’t think I could fight anymore.”   Padilla, who scored the fight, and the ringside judges had Ali ahead by a comfortable margin on points but many of the ringside press had the fight scored much closer. The Associated Press had the fight even after 14 rounds….but regardless of the scorecards….this was an epic fight for the ages and we at ImaSportsphile are tickled pink to have such a comprehensive collection of vintage footage to celebrate this event.                                                                                                                                                                          

Boxing – October 1, 1975 – Highlights – The Thrilla In Manila – Muhammad Ali Vs Joe Frazier III – With Howard Cosell Behind The Mike

Boxing – 1970 – The Mike Douglas Show – Featuring Interviews with Muhammad Ali And Joe Frazier Along With Comedian Soupy Sales Prior To The Fight Of The Century                                                                               

Boxing – 1975 – Special Highlights Of The Thrilla In Manila Between Joe Frazier Vs Muhammad Ali – With Don Dunphy Calling The Fight

                                                                                                                                                                                      To say that this fight was special to our Bone Daddy would be a huge understatement because in early 1975, Bone Daddy’s sports bar Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas, bought their 1st satellite dish….which was a Scientific Atlanta 10m dish….thus allowing  them to bring their 1st major event to be seen live at The Garden….which just happened to be “The Thrilla In Manila” World Heavyweight Boxing Championship between Muhammad Ali verses Joe Frazier in their third and most grueling battle between two boxing legends…..which proved to be a historic night at his sports bar.  You see, a total of 950 people paid $15 per head to see one of the greatest fights of all time…..while floating 39 kegs of beer (16 gallon kegs) and selling 600 MSG Special Burgers…..as this event would become Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place’s highest gross revenue event in the sports bar’s history with a total revenue gate of $28,350….which was quite a lot in 1975.                                     

Boxing – 1975 – Special – Associated Press’s Post Fight Interviews With Joe Frazier & Muhammad Ali After The Thrilla In Manila                                                                                                                                                                                              


Boxing – 1975 – Special – ABC’s Howard Cosell Interviews Champ Muhammad Ali After His Fight With Joe Frazier at The Thrilla In Manila                                                                                                                                                                                      

Boxing – 2009 – Special Interview With Smokin’ Joe Frazier On His Thoughts About The Thrilla In Manila With Muhammad Ali

Boxing – 2011 – Special – The Greatest Muhammad Ali Pays Tribute To Joe Frazier On The Day He Dies With Memories Of The Thrilla In Manila

 

 

 

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