Pounding Joe Frazier into a lumpy pulp, Muhammad Ali kept his world heavyweight title Wednesday with a bloody, bruising 14-round technical knockout.
“I still reign supreme,” shouted Ali. “I told you I was the greatest. Didn’t I tell you I was superior?”
With still one round to go before a sellout crowd of 25,000 at the Philippine Coliseum and a worldwide television audience, Frazier’s manager-trainer, Eddie Futch, threw in the towel for his badly battered battler.
“Frazier couldn’t see,” Futch said referring to the challenger’s puffed up eyes, the right one almost completely shut by Ali’s blows.
“Joe had two bad rounds in a row, and had we continued, we could have been seriously hurt.”
Ali, unmarked except for a slight swelling on his right eye, praised Fraizer when talking with reporters after the fight.
He’s great, greater than I thought,” Ali said, with only a towel wrapped around his neck and padding around on his socks. “If I took the punches he took, I would have quit long ago.”
Ali said he was so tired and sore all over, all he wanted to do was do nothing for the next week except rest.
After fighting Ali toe to toe in the first 11 rounds, Frazier simply wilted and became an easy prey for the champion’s vicious combination left hook and right straights. At the end of the 14th round, Futch signaled to the referee to stop the fight.
Promoters said the attendance at the gate receipts set records. The match was televised to more than 60 countries, including the Soviet Union, which linked up for satellite coverage for the first time.
Ali said he wants to quit while he is relatively undefeated and wealthy so he could devote himself full time to being an Islamic preacher and philanthropist.
“Boxing is a hard fight,” he said. “It’s next to death.”
This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.