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.

Recent Headlines

4 hours ago in Local

Another record-breakingly hot day in Whatcom County

sun

The old record for May 2nd was set 25 years ago

5 hours ago in Local

Fewer Canadian shoppers doesn’t mean local tourism is on the ropes

Photo courtesy of City of Bellingham

Bellis Fair plans to try and pump up Canadian sales with nice offers

5 hours ago in Local

Testimony continues in the William Klein case

PC: Kimball Gainor

Testimony continued yesterday in the William Klein case. He’s the man who drove into four local teens near Ferndale, killing…

6 hours ago in Local

Ferndale bank and street closed after natural gas leak

Photo Courtesy of City of Ferndale, WA

A car hit a natural gas meter near the Wells Fargo Bank on Main street around 2 yesterday afternoon.

6 hours ago in Local

Dine Out today for Maple Alley Inn, provide meals for people in need

Updated
DOMV2016DLKGMI

During the Dine Out for Maple Alley Inn, more than 50 local restaurants will donate a portion of their sales to support the local hot meals program for people in need.