Heavyweight Fight of the Week #3: Ali v. Norton I & III

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mrkoolkevin, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    I'd had to watch the seldom talked about 2nd fight, but I've heard that before.

    If Norton was 2-1 vs Ali, his legacy takes a huge jump forward.
  2. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Just watched their third fight here for the first time ever. I have read for decades what a hideous injustice had been done, and I don't see it. For the record, I had it 143-143.
    It was an interesting fight in that you had on the one hand a fighter who had all the physical resources at his disposal but chose to throw away two rounds for no other reason than apparent bravado. Stupid, stupid thing to do. Norton seemed to be able to dictate whatever terms he wanted for the fight, but did so only on occasion and let Ali drive the boat most of the time. The bigger shots were clearly thrown and landed by Norton, no argument there, but ring generalship also counts and Ali did better with that.

    Then you had Ali, who had little going for him anymore as to physical reserves, but he was able to dictate tempo and flurry effectively when he needed to. Norton seemed strangely to follow him around and not throw a lot of the time. Again, Norton had the capacity to do far more, but simply chose not to. This was clearly evident in the first six rounds, when they seemed almost to tacitly agree to exchange rounds in some weird feeling-out process. It seemed unnecessary for Norton, who should have played more of a bulldozer there.
  3. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    First Fight.

    Muhammad Ali SD12 Ken Norton

    Interesting to see Ali up on his toes early and doing because after the first fight I thought perhaps being high wouldn't help him. He didn't really unlock Ken with that mobility, when he used it (which was rarely) in the first fight. Here it works though, but I think, personally, his hands might look a little faster here? And that that's the difference.

    Norton took the second on general persistence as the Ali offence dropped off a but it "feels" like the advantage still lies with Ali. He proves that narrowly in the third and then beautifully in the fourth, moving really well to achieve a two round lead for Ali for the first time in their rivalry.

    Ali took a really close fifth on my card too, a round that went back and forth with the solid shots, of which there were a few. I thought Ali just about outfought him off the ropes in the closing seconds. Norton shouts "I OWN YOU!" in Ali's face at the last moment haha.

    Norton is following well and he's right in it, but i have Ali well ahead, especially after a heart-breaker of a sixth in which Norton had a clear lead before shipping hard right hands and dropping it on my card.

    Norton came out more tempered for the seventh, as though he's realised that he doesn't have to chase Ali as hard, he will gets opportunities. He does, and he takes every one of them, legitimately hurting Ali on two occasions to take his first round on my card since the second. I also had him shading the eighth by virtue of his more hurtful punches.

    Where Ali got that ninth from i'll never know. That's what makes a champion I guess. It was kind of looking like Norton might run a choo-choo on him. He steps out and stops the rot.

    Stylistically he's at sea now though. Not throwing enough, not moving enough. Norton just choo-chooing away. Ten is a big round. Norton nicks it.

    In the end, I thought Ali edged this with a superb twelfth. Seems he almost always had something in the basement when he really needed it, up until the very last moment.

    ALI: 1,3,4,5,6,9,12
    NORTON: 2,7,8,10,11

    7-5 Ali.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  4. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Third Fight (this was a weird post):

    Ali UD Norton (III)

    Strange fight with nobody really taking a fim box seat for me and no one punch dominating the action, few key moments, no key punch. It's probably fair to say that Norton won this on conditioning (on my card) for two reasons, one, he closes the show very impressively and doesn't look that tired - the 34 year old Ali looked knackered. Secondly, when Ali went on his bike and jabbed he did very well, I have him taking 9,10 and 11, but he's obviously not going to be able to keep that up all night, especially not with the steady pressure Norton brought all night.

    He just creeps in, a little unorthodoxed with the jab and hitting well to the body. Foreman must have cringed watching this, Norton shows how you do it. I wish he had gone to the body more, he might have closed the show.

    Lots of ink has been wasted on why Norton gave Ali so much trouble. Here's my own 2 cents. When I was watching the fight I was kind of reminded of this picture:

    This content is protected

    I know that seems weird, but it seems to me that Ali's output can very much be measured in two dimensions because he just doesn't alter the height of his blows. He uses angles well, but less and less well as he got older and less elastic. Anyway, Kenny used a shell-like defence and a tucked in chin combinted with a little head movement. But he only ever had to worry about punches coming across a narrow window, represented by the waves approaching the "double slit" in the above picture. Behind it, represented by the light spilling through the slit in waves, we see Kenny's defence in hand movment. He makes a lot of noise with those gloves covering a great deal of Ali's offensive window at any one time with something, so he's at least taking the motor of Ali's punches, and quite often blocking them all together. He doesn't have to worry about picking off individual punches, he just has to use a dynamic defence to create as much noise for Ali's punches as possible. Behind that is the "screen", his last line of defence, his less dynamic head movement. It just made Norton very hard to hit for Ali.

    It exposes his limitations as a technician more than any other fight. Norton's boyd is literally screaming to be hit at times, but Ali can't do it because he has a style he is marreid to.

    Anyway, enough voodoo. The fight was an absorbing one and round 11 was the best of it, with Norton yelling at Ali whilst doing his own version of the rope-a-dope. I wish I could have scored the round for him. History overlooks Norton a bit, perhaps unfairly. This was a good and interesting performance.

    ALI: 1,3,7,9,10,11
    EVEN: 12

    8-6-1 Norton.

    Incidently, the broadcast teams panel of experts who scored the fight - if you score EVERY round at least one of these guys gave to Ali you can make it 8-7 for him. That is, they all scored for Norton individually, but if you give every round any one of them deemed possibly Ali's, you come up with the same scorecard as the referee and judges.
  5. scartissue

    scartissue Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Watching the Ali-Norton I fight the other night, I couldn't help but notice Cosell's confusion with the California scoring system. It was quite simple. 1 point for a round, 2 points if one scores a knockdown or batters his opponent and no points for an even round. As Bill O'Neill, a great west coast writer once told me, "It's the same as the 10 point must system used today, only less math." And if you make a comparison to a known scorecard from a latter day fight, you'll see he was absolutely right.

    Ali-Norton I - California scoring.

    Round 1: Ali
    Round 2: Norton
    Round 3: Ali
    Round 4: Norton
    Round 5: Norton
    Round 6: Norton
    Round 7: Ali
    Round 8: Ali
    Round 9: Norton
    Round 10: Norton
    Round 11: Ali
    Round 12: Norton

    Total: 7-5 Norton (In rounds and on points)

    There was always the usual dispute of what the round the jaw-break took place. The Ali corner said it was the first round. The Norton corner said it was the 12th. But it was interesting to hear Cosell say in the 8th that there was something wrong with Ali's mouth and surmised it might be a broken tooth. Didn't remember that from the original telecast, so it could have taken place anywhere around mid-fight.
  6. scartissue

    scartissue Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Ali-Norton II

    I must be in the minority on this, but this is one of those fights where I just never saw the controversy. I had Ali a clear winner on this one.

    Round 1: Ali
    Round 2: Ali
    Round 3: Ali
    Round 4: Ali
    Round 5: Even
    Round 6: Ali
    Round 7: Norton
    Round 8: Norton
    Round 9: Ali
    Round 10: Even
    Round 11: Norton
    Round 12: Ali

    7-3-2 in rounds but 7-3 on California point system for Ali.
  7. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Not here for the fairy tales Full Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Ali turned it up a notch for a while in the second half of the fight, and Norton didn't look like he had a plan to deal with Ali's movement. Ali faded down the stretch though (as did Norton). Actually ended up finding the fight pretty boring, even though both guys threw a decent number of punches. Norton had no snap on his, and a lot of Ali's punches in the late rounds were arm punches and/or thrown somewhat off balance. My final score was:
    Ali: 1, 7, 9, 10, 11
    Norton: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15
    Even: 2

    Norton wins: 9-5-1 on my card.
    Pat M likes this.
  8. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 26, 2011
    We pretty much scored this fight the same, I just gave Ali round 5. It was a close round, could've been even, but I thought Ali barely won it. I also had 9 even. Besides that, it was much the same

    1. Norton
    2. Norton
    3. Ali
    4. Norton
    5. Ali
    6. Norton
    7. Norton
    8. Ali
    9. Even
    10. Norton
    11. Ali
    12. Norton

    7-4-1 Norton
    Pat M and PhillyPhan69 like this.

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