Frazier bested Ali at 1971’s “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden. In the 15th round, Frazier landed perhaps the most famous left hook in history, catching Ali on the jaw and dropping the former champ for a four-count, according to Frazier’s bio at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Frazier left the ring as the undisputed champ and handed Ali his first professional loss.
“Ali was talking to him and Joe never did bow down. Ali would make a comment and Joe would talk right back. He always had that determination,” Steward said.
Ali took the early rounds, but Frazier rebounded before losing
Later, Ali said, “It was the closest I’ve come to death.”
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stan Hochman noted that Frazier “summoned the skill and courage to battle Ali into the 14th round in Manila.”
“He was a fighter, pure and simple, with a style that seemed destined for a short career. Trudge forward, lean on the other guy, take two to land one,” Hochman wrote.