Forty years ago, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met in Quezon City, Philippines for the Heavyweight Championship in their third and final boxing match.
The fight got its name after Ali proclaimed, “It will be a killa and a chilla and a thrilla, when I get the gorilla in Manila.”
Ali won by technical knockout in the 14th round following a concession by Frazier's Eddie Futch.
Ali finished his career with a 2–1 record against Frazier, who won the duo's first meeting in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, which was dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” Ali went on to win the January 1974 rematch before the fight in the Philippines was scheduled.
SI's Mark Kram recounts that after the fight, Futch told reporters, “Ali fought a smart fight. He conserved his energy, turning it off when he had to. He can afford to do it because of his style. It was mainly a question of anatomy, that is all that separates these two men. Ali is now too big, and when you add those long arms, well...Joe has to use constant pressure, and that takes its toll on a man's body and soul.”
Ali hailed Frazier as the “greatest fighter of all time, next to me.”
Frazier died on Nov 7, 2011. Ali, 73, currently has Parkinson's Syndrome.
To honor Muhammad Ali, whose lifetime of achievements forever changed the world, SI has renamed its Legacy Award the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. It will be given to individuals whose dedication to the ideals of sportsmanship have spanned decades and whose careers in athletics have directly or indirectly impacted the world.
Watch the full “Thrilla in Manila” fight below:
- Christopher Chavez