In this 1978 interview of Muhammad Ali by Frank Gifford on ABC’s Wide World of Sports…..Ali assesses the fight between challenger Larry Holmes verses WBC Champ Ken Norton….which was a tough, competitive fight…..when after fourteen rounds…..each of the three judges scored the fight dead even at seven rounds each…..as Holmes rallied late in the fifteenth to win the round on two scorecards and take the title by a split decision…..in a fight that many still today feel that Norton won.
In his first defense of the WBC title on June 9, 1978, Norton and new # 1 contender Larry Holmes met in a classic fight….when after 15 brutal rounds…..Holmes was awarded the title via an extremely close split decision. Two of the three judges scored the fight 143–142 for Holmes while the third scored the bout 143–142 for Norton. The Associated Press scored it 143–142 for Norton…..while te March 2001 edition of The Ring magazine listed the final round of the Holmes vs Norton bout as the 7th most exciting round in boxing history….and International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) member Monte D. Cox ranked the bout as the tenth greatest heavyweight fight of all time. Holmes went on to become the 3rd-longest reigning world heavyweight champion in the history of boxing….behind Joe Louis and Wladimir Klitschko. Years later, Holmes wrote that the bout was his toughest fight of all his seventy-five contests.
Just like when Michael Spinks won a split decision victory to take Holmes’ crown in 1985….we here at ImaSportsphile have always been of the opinion that NO CHAMP should ever lose his title on a split decision…..for it is our opinion that a challenger must definitively take a champion’s title by either a KO, TKO or seriously disfiguring the champ’s face…..and Holmes did not do that to Norton….nor did Spinks do that to Homes.