On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden and waged 15 rounds of heavy-duty battle for the world heavyweight championship. They may not have known it going in, but it was the start of boxing's most famous rivalry, a war of words, fists and will that stands the test of time and then some. It is a rivalry that today still sparks emotions in the fight fans who were there, and those who weren't, and not all of it is the Hollywood-approved version of Muhammad Ali, either.
Ali and Frazier are forever linked. They both had many other great battles over their Hall of Fame careers, and will always be two of the most famous and highly-regarded heavyweights of all-time. They were, in many ways, perfect for each other from a marketing standpoint. Ali was brash, loud, and flashy. Frazier was more blue collar. And when the chips were down, they could both fight their way out of anything, it seemed.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of their first fight, or the Ruby Anniversary by traditional standards. Ali turned 69 in January, while "Smokin'" Joe turned 67 just five days beforehand. Feel free to share your thoughts on this momentous occasion in boxing history. I know we've got our share our folks here at Bad Left Hook who were there. Also, Chris Celletti of SBN New York has a post up today about the fight. Chris argues that it was the event that "made" Madison Square Garden. Remember, your SBN username is valid on all 72,000 (give or take a few) of our blogs in the network, so feel free to register over at SBN NY and leave some feedback for Chris.