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From the archives:: Round-by-round report of Joe Frazier’s triumph over Ali

Joe Frazier v Muhammad Ali

Joe Frazier attacks Muhammad Ali along the ropes during the World Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971 in New York City.

(Robert Riger / Getty Images)

ROUND ONE

Ali started talking to Frazier when the referee gave them instructions. Frazier talked right back at him.

Ali prayed in his corner before the opening bell.

Frazier moved right in and missed with a left to the body. Ali connected with a long left and right to the head and then with a left to the body. Ali sent over a left hook that was blocked. Frazier moved in and was hit again by a short left and right to the head. Frazier dug a solid left to the body.

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The referee warned Ali for holding around the head. They exchanged lefts to the body as Frazier moved in and drove a left and right to the head.

Frazier, moving in close, dug two hard rights to Ali’s body as Ali moved back to the ropes. Frazier landed a hard left hook to the jaw and Ali shook his head. Ali moved back as Frazier kept moving.

Frazier drove another hard left to the body as Ali tied him up. Ali shot over two stiff left jabs to the head but took a short left to the jaw in return.

ROUND TWO

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Frazier drove after Ali at the start of the round.

Frazier scored with a left hook to the head but took a left-right and two lefts to the head in exchange. Ali then tied up Frazier. Ali shot over a hard left and right to the head but Frazier came back with a sharp right and a stunning right to the jaw as the crowd roared.

Frazier bobbed under two left hand leads and shot a right to the body. Ali came back with two short rights and tied up Frazier. Ali again scored with two rights and a left as Frazier came in.

Ali connected with two lefts and two rights to the head at long range. Ali popped over another left jab to the head but took a short left to the head in return.

Ali tied up Frazier. Frazier shook loose and dug a left and right to the body as he sent Clay back to the ropes. They each scored with hard rights to the jaw as the crowd roared.

Ali waved his hand at Frazier as they went to the corner.

ROUND THREE

Ali waved at Frazier and yelled something to him before the bell sounded. Ali met Frazier with a hard left hook to the head but took a left to the body in exchange. Frazier and Ali were both told to stop talking by the referee.

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Frazier scored with a left to the body as Ali moved back to the ropes and tied him up. Ali pumped over a left and right and then another left and right to the head but Frazier kept on coming. Ali shot over three left jabs to the head while Frazier missed with a left hook aimed for the head.

Ali peppered two more jabs to the head and then blocked Frazier’s left hook to the head.

Ali pumped over two lefts and two rights to the head. Frazier came right back with a hard right hook to the head and a searing left hook to the ribs.

Ali again met Frazier’s rush with a left-right to the head. The pace was fast. Frazier landed a hard left hook to the jaw and then a left and right to the jaw as Ali backed to the ropes.

ROUND FOUR

The referee warned both fighters. Mercante said he warned Ali for holding and hitting and Frazier for having too much vaseline on his face.

Frazier again stormed out and was met by a fast left and right to the head. Ali shot over two more lefts to the head as he moved off the ropes.

Ali followed with a good left hook and two left jabs to the head and then moved out of range.

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Ali tied up Frazier, shot over a left to the head and was forced back to the ropes.

Frazier didn’t land anything in that interval. Ali scored with two more left jabs to the head and was pressed to the ropes where he tied up Frazier.

Frazier scored with a short right to the head and then was tied up by Ali. Frazier maneuvered Ali to the ropes once more but it was Ali who landed at long range.

Frazier landed a long left hook to the jaw and a short right to the jaw.

Frazier drove a short left hook to the head and a right to the ribs. He followed with another left hook to the jaw but ran into a short left. Ali was boxing more flat-footed at the end of the round.

ROUND FIVE

Frazier was off the stool first. Bobbing and weaving he moved after Ali.

Ali got in a jab to the head but Frazier dug a solid left to the body and a smashing left hook to the head and body.

Ali scored with a left and right to the head and then tied up Frazier. Frazier shuffled after Ali with head bobbing as he again moved Ali to the ropes.

The action slowed momentarily. Frazier taunted Ali and then took two jabs to the head. But Ali had a worried look on his face.

Ali got in a short left and right to the head but the smiling Frazier drove a hard right to the head.

Frazier had his hands down and was grinning. Ali sent a left-right to the head but Frazier only laughed at him as he moved in.

Ali however was doing the scoring. Frazier moved Ali into a corner and drove a hard left hook to the head.

Ali landed a left-right to the head but his punches didn’t seem to have any steam.

Frazier waved his arm at Ali as the bell sounded.

ROUND SIX

Again Frazier was up first. Frazier walked in on Ali, took a left and right to the head but drove a left to the ribs.

Ali scored with a left to the head but Frazier threw a smashing left hook to the jaw as he pinned Ali in a corner.

Frazier drove another left hook and a smashing right to the body as he pinned Ali against the ropes.

This was the round Ali predicted he would win the fight but he looked worried. From a corner Ali snapped over two left jabs to the laughing Frazier. Frazier sent over two left hooks to the jaw as Ali moved away.

Ali again landed two light punches to the head but took another hard left to the body.

Ali landed a short left but Frazier dug a left and right to Ali’s body as he pinned him against the ropes. Frazier again sent another smashing right to the body and a hard left to the jaw.

Frazier again sent Ali over to the ropes as the bell sounded. It was a big round for Frazier.

Ali waved a hand at Frazier as he went to his corner.

ROUND SEVEN

Ali’s handlers screamed at him between rounds.

Ali turned to the crowd “no contest.” Ali held his left hand out stiff as a lance as Frazier moved in. They each scored with thumping left hooks to the body.

Ali again held his left hand out like a lance. Ali then pumped over two jabs as Frazier came in and smashed him with a left and right to the head on the ropes.

The referee again warned Ali against holding and hitting.

Ali sent over two lefts and a right to the head but Frazier came back with a hard left hook to the body.

Ali got in a chopping right and short left to the head but Frazier followed with a stiff left hook to the ribs.

Ali pumped over two left jabs to the head. He did it again but Frazier dug in another hard right to the body.

Ali opened up with a series of lefts and rights to the head. Frazier drove Ali to the ropes and took a right to the head but smashed a wicked right to the body at the bell.

It was a very close round with Ali landing more punches but Frazier getting in the harder blows.

ROUND EIGHT

The crowd yelled “Ali, Ali, Ali” as the eighth round started.

Ali met the incoming Frazier with a left and right and then two more lefts and rights to the head.

Frazier kept moving in and shot over a hard left hook to the head as he again had Ali in a corner. Ali leaned against the ropes, just trying to hold off Frazier but Frazier sent over two thumping rights to the head as Ali leaned against the ropes.

Ali, his back to the ropes, sent over light taps as the crowd started to boo. Ali started talking again and waved at Frazier to come in. Ali got in two light lefts but took a hard hook to the jaw.

Frazier pulled Ali off the ropes with his hands, got him in midring and then sent him to the ropes again.

Ali was making a mockery out of it. But Frazier kept his head down, kept after Ali and shot over a long left to the head and a long right to the body.

ROUND NINE

Now, the crowd starting yelling, “Joe, Joe, Joe!”

Ali pumped over four light lefts to the head as he moved away from his swarming foe.

Ali again shot over two lefts and two rights as Frazier bobbed and weaved and grinned.

Ali sent over another short volley of light punches half of which were blocked by Frazier. Blood trickled from Frazier’s nose as he took another series of light jabs from Ali.

Frazier moved Ali to the ropes but wasn’t able to do much as Ali tied him up.

The action slowed as both maneuvered near the ropes. Ali just held his hands up but Frazier brought over a hard left hook to the jaw.

Frazier followed with another smashing left to the jaw and a left and right to the body.

Ali came back with two lefts and another left to the head as Frazier missed. The crowd roared as Ali scored again with two lefts and two rights to the head.

Ali got in a good left hook to the jaw as the bell sounded and the crowd roared.

ROUND TEN

Frazier had a lump over his left eye as he came out at the start of the tenth.

He drove a left hook to Ali’s jaw and a right to the ribs.

Frazier, shooting at the body, had an edge in an exchange with the head-hunting Ali.

Both missed lefts. Then Ali drove over two snapping jabs to the jaw. Frazier motioned to his corner and then he went after Ali.

Ali met Frazier with two short lefts as he tried to keep Joe off. Ali again met Frazier with two hard left jabs and two chopping rights to the head.

Ali was sharp with a left and right to the head but Frazier came back with a good left hook to the head and body.

Frazier took two light punches and followed with a right hook to the jaw. Frazier drove a hard left to Ali’s jaw as the bell sounded.

ROUND ELEVEN

The crowd started yelling, “Ali, Ali, Ali!” as the eleventh round opened.

Ali slipped to the canvas but it was no knockdown.

This came after a short opening flurry in which no damage was inflicted.

Ali shot over two left jabs to the head as Frazier drove in. Ali connected with a left and right to the jaw but Frazier came back with a right on the head.

Frazier yelled at the referee, “Let go of me.” Frazier got Ali on a corner and sent over a hard left to the head and short left and right to the head as Ali stood in the corner with his hands over his face.

They traded punches as Ali stood in the neutral corner. A left staggered Ali. His knees buckled.

The crowd roared as Frazier threw another smashing right to the head. Frazier drove over another as Ali staggered against the ropes. Frazier sent a smashing left  hook to his head as Ali staggered all over the ring.

The bell sounded as Ali wobbled to his corner.

ROUND TWELVE

Doctor Harry Kleinman examined Ali between rounds.

Frazier came right after Ali and shot over a left hook to the jaw before he was tied up.

Ali held on as Frazier came after him. Two lefts to the jaw again staggered Ali and he then held on to Frazier.

Another left hook to the head and hard left to the ribs sent Ali to the ropes.

Ali sent in a light left and right to the head as he came out of his corner.

Frazier smashed Ali’s body with two lefts and a right. Frazier moved Ali to the ropes and dug with both hands to the body.

But Frazier seemed a little weary. Ali came back with a long left-right-left to the head as Frazier laughed.

Frazier laughed as he leaned against the ropes and watched Ali. Frazier moved Ali to the ropes again but couldn’t do much as Ali held on.

Ali got in a short left and right to the head before tying Frazier up.

Frazier dug in another good left and right to the body just before the bell.

ROUND THIRTEEN

Ali’s handlers yelled at him to get going as the thirteenth round started.

Frazier drove over a left and took a left to the head and sent a good left and right to the body.

Ali shot over a good right to the head as he danced around and followed with two lefts to the head as he tied up Frazier.

Ali shot over two more jabs to the head but Frazier came back with a sharp right to the body. Ali again got in a good left and right but took two solid left hooks to the jaw.

Frazier dug in another as he moved Ali to the corner. Ali held on as Frazier kept him in a neutral corner.

Ali came in with some light lefts to the head as Frazier drove a right to the head and body.

Ali cuffed Frazier with a left and right to the head but the punches had no steam.

Frazier seemed tired but he was digging in with hard rights to the body. Most of the action was in a corner with Ali against the ropes. Frazier drove a hard left to the head at the bell.

ROUND FOURTEEN

Frazier was puffy above both eyes.

Frazier moved in and walked into two light lefts and rights from Ali.

He didn’t stop Frazier from going after Ali. Ali again cuffed Frazier with a left and right to the head but took a hard left hook to the body in exchange.

Frazier, bobbing and weaving, kept after Ali but both seemed weary and no good punches were landed for a short period.

Ali shot over a series of lefts and rights to the head that carried more steam. Frazier got in a good hook to the head.

Ali got over a left to the head but Frazier came back with a good left to the body.

Ali opened up with another volley of four punches to the head and then repeated it before tying up the swollen-faced Frazier.

ROUND FIFTEEN

Ali opened up with two fast lefts and a right to the head.

Ali then tied up Frazier. Frazier dropped Ali with a left hook to the jaw.

Ali was up at four and given the mandatory eight count.

Frazier sent over a smashing left hook and right to the jaw and followed with a smashing right and left to the body.

Another series of hard blows sent the wobbling Ali to the ropes.

Another left hook to the jaw shook Ali. He held on desperately.

Ali sent over two light lefts to the head as he looked on with glazed eyes.

Ali’s right side of his face was ballooned. His jaw may have been broken.

They held as the crowd roared. Frazier drove over two hard shots to the body and then another hard left to the swollen right side of Ali’s face.

Ali staggered to his corner as the fight ended.

Note: This article was originally published on March 9, 1971.

 


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