The greatest boxing match of all time

Video: Watch the Thrilla in Manila and see why it's still regarded as the greatest boxing match ever.

November 18, 2014

Boxing is unarguably the most manliest of sports in existence; two men standing face to face, wearing nothing but boots, trunks and gloves, knowing that they're about to try and punch the other into submission, or fear the same being inflicted upon them.

Fist fights to decide superiority date back to the dawn of time. The boxing world today may be full of showbiz, money and panache, but once the bell sounds for Round 1, you could be in any decade in the history of boxing, even mankind.

The greatest fight then should be a hotly debated topic. But, as testament to the epic encounter that was the Thrilla in Manila, the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier is widely regarded as the greatest ever.

 

The 1975 bout on October 1st was the final instalment in the trilogy - Frazier winning the first in 1971 and Ali controversially claiming the sequel three years later. Ali started the fight well, claiming the first two rounds, but Smokin' Joe fought back, catching Ali with body shots when he rested on the ropes.

The Thrilla was stopped at the end of round 14 with Frazier barely able to see, while Ali famously said 'it was the closest to dying he had ever been' and asked for his gloves to be cut off. Many boxing fans still debate what would have happened had Frazier's corner allowed him to fight the final round, with Smokin' Joe telling his trainer Eddie Futch, "I want him, boss." Futch replied, "It's all over. No one will forget what you did here today." And indeed, we haven't.