The second fight between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton came just five (5) months after their 1st fight….as these two heavyweight warriors went 24 total grueling rounds of toe-to-toe “in-your-face” boxing. After Norton defeated Ali by unanimous decision in their 1st fight….which was a 12 round war….then Ali won a very close split-decision in the 2nd fight…for that split-decision is still a source of controversy by boxing affectionardo even today some 45 years later.
Ali had trained exceotionably hard for this 2nd fight with Norton…..saying he had gone to the mountain in his training….coming into the fight at the same weight of 212 lbs. that he had gone into the ring to fight Sonny Liston as Cassius Clay some nine (9) years before. For the first five rounds, Ali was up on his toes floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee…..as he was up on the judges scorecards by 5 – 0 after the 5th. As the middle rounds of 6, 7 and 8 came around….Norton began cutting off the ring and shortening the distance between he and Ali….thus allowing him to win these middle rounds easily. Ali would muster up a great 9th round by getting in close to Norton….and beating him to the punch….thus scoring more points….which led to rounds 10 through 12….which could have gone to Norton just as easily as they could have gone to Ali.
The final judges scorecards were 6 to 5 for Ali….6 to 5 for Norton….and the referee Dick Young scored it 7 – 5 for Ali….thus giving him a split decision victory that propelled Ali into his epic 3rd fight against Smokin Joe Frazier and his next championship fight against George Foreman in Zaire, Africa…..can you say….ALI BOOM BA YA !?!
Any way you cut the pie….the 2nd Ali vs Norton war was an exceptional heavyweight fight.