The NYS Athletic Commission Remembers Ken Norton (1943-2013)

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The New York State Athletic Commission would like to pass on its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who passed away on September 18th at the age of 70.

Melvina Lathan and Ken NortonNorton first came into prominence in a big way. On March 13, 1973, Norton beat Muhammad Ali in San Diego via a split decision to win the heavyweight crown from The Greatest. He also broke Ali’s jaw in the process and became only the second fighter to to defeat a peak Ali as a professional (after Joe Frazier). The two went on to fight two more times in hard-fought matches that Ali won by a split and unanimous decision, respectively.

But with the mighty fists came a genteel spirit that drew respect from his contemporaries, both inside and outside the ring. As one-time opponent George Foreman said in a recent Sports Illustrated homage to Norton, “he was the nicest of the whole bunch of us. Ken Norton was the fairest of them all – on the outside and on the inside.”