The Louisville Lip called this incident the most death-like experience he had ever encountered.
After 14 nerve-racking series of the fight in the boxing tournament in Manilla, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier rewrote the history of boxing with the most intense fight people had ever witnessed.
Famously known as the “Thrilla in Manilla”, a term coined by Ali before the day of the fight, the incident left both the boxers abated.
On October 1, 1975, a massive crowd gathered in sweltering weather to witness what would become the biggest boxing fight.
Ali had nearly surrendered when Frazier’s trainer stopped the fighting.
Both the fighters competed with all their strength and might. They were set to tear each other down.
They fought with such brutality that the crowd too was splashed with drops of blood.
M. Ali, who was 33 years old and well past the peak of his strength, declared it a deadly experience. He had just won the “Rumble in the Jungle” the previous year against George Foreman.
Before the fight, the Louisville Lip infuriated Frazier by provocative talk and calling him an ape.
The fight was nothing less than a cliffhanger. Frazier got a swollen left eye and he was almost blinded. But he was ready for round 15, but his trainer Futch intervened and put an end to the fight.
Ali had nearly given up, as was later disclosed in his biography.
Although he did end up winning this championship, it was the fiercest match he had ever fought. The “greatest of all” retired at 39 years of age, after losing two consecutive fights to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick.
He finally lost the battle of his life to Parkinsonism after struggling for four years.
“Smokin’ Joe” retired five years later and passed away in 2011.