News

Former heavyweight boxing champ Ken Norton dies

Former heavyweight boxing champ Ken Norton dies

Ken Norton has died at the age of 70. Photo: Reuters

By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Ken Norton, the former heavyweight boxing champion who broke Muhammad Ali’s jaw in a 1973 bout, died on Wednesday at an Arizona hospital at age 70, his manager said.

Norton, who died in Bullhead City, near the Arizona-Nevada border, had been suffering from congestive heart failure, said Patrick Tenore, the boxer’s corporate manager and friend.

“He’s been in rehab (for ill health) for almost a year … and early this afternoon, he passed away,” Tenore told Reuters. “He was not only a tremendous boxer, but also the most righteous, polite, generous human being.”

Norton took up boxing as a heavyweight when he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and turned professional after his discharge in 1967, according to ESPN.

A power puncher, he burst on the scene in 1973 when he broke Ali’s jaw during their first fight, claiming the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title in a split decision over 12 rounds.

Ali’s camp said his jaw broke early in the fight, but Norton told a Reuters correspondent at a boxing convention in Cancun, Mexico, more than three decades later, that a punch thrown in the 11th round caused the fracture.

Ali narrowly won a split decision in a rematch nearly six months later, and held on to his heavyweight title in a bruising third encounter in 1976.

Norton won a heavyweight title elimination tournament the following year, and was subsequently declared champion by the World Boxing Council. He lost the title in 1978 in an epic 15-round fight with Larry Holmes.

Norton retired from the ring in 1981. He ended his career with a record of 42 wins, seven losses and a draw. He had 33 knockouts.

He took on a second career as an actor, making more than a dozen television and film appearances, including the 1975 movie “Mandingo.”

His son Ken Norton, Jr., played in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

Latest Stories

in Viral Videos

Watch this giant panda have a ball playing in snow

Fresh
21-overlay3

This panda is pumped to see the first snowfall of the season.

in National

House Republicans sue over Obamacare

Fresh
obamacare

Republicans sued over the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

in Sports

NFL’s Peterson vows never to use ‘switch’ again

Fresh
peterson

The suspended Vikings running back says he was startled to the injuries his discipline caused to his son.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Attorney General Says No To Proposed UVA Independent Counsel

Herring Mark

AG Mark Herring cites former federal judge Mark Filip's affiliation with Phi Kappa Psi.

in National

Lexus recalling 422K cars to fix fuel leak

lexus

The fuel leak can increase the risk of fire, safety regulators say.