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 Headlines

in Local

University of Maine Pressed to Serve More Local Food

WGAN IMAGE

A group of Maine food producers and organizations is pressing the University of Maine System to serve more locally grown food to students and staff.

in Local

Planned Parenthood: No Tissue Donations in NNE

WGAN IMAGE

Planned Parenthood clinics in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire say they don't donate fetal tissue for research, even though they say it's legal to do so.

in Local

Maine Landlord Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Deadly Fire

Noyes St Fire

The owner of a Portland apartment house where six tenants died in a Nov. 1 fire has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

in Local

2 Remain Hospitalized After Boats Collide on Maine Lake

WGAN IMAGE

Maine wardens say two children remain hospitalized following a collision between two boats on Thompson Lake that sent eight people to the hospital.

in Local

Transient Fires Pellet Gun Outside Portland Office Building

WGAN IMAGE

Police say a transient is in custody after firing several shots from a high-powered pellet gun at a security guard outside a downtown building in Maine's largest city.

Tweets

  • 3h
  • 4h
  • 6h
  • 22h
  • 23h
  • 24h
  • 24h