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

in Lifestyle

Study: Kids like new, healthier school lunches

Fresh
schoollunch

A recent study suggests that most elementary age students like eating the healthier school lunches required by the USDA.

in National

Sugar tax could be coming to your soda

Fresh
soda

A lawmaker will launch the first national effort in years to tax soda, the latest bid to stem rising obesity and diabetes rates by curbing the consumption of sugary drinks.

in National

U.S. economy bounces back in second quarter

Fresh
consumer

Economic growth accelerated more than expected in the second quarter, bolstering views for a stronger performance in the last six months of the year.

in Entertainment

Drew Barrymore’s sister found dead

Fresh
drewbarrymore

Jessica Barrymore, daughter of actors John Drew Barrymore and Nina Wayne, was found dead in her car.

in Local Sports

Bells take 2-1 pitchers duel over Medford

Fresh
Bells logo on field

Teams wrap-up series at Joe Martin Field tonight