Ken Norton Breaks Muhammad Ali’s Jaw, Wins Via Decision – March 31, 1973 (This Day In Boxing History)
Over four decades ago, Ken Norton shocked the boxing world, including Muhammad Ali.
Norton dominated Ali throughout 12 rounds to walk away with a split decision victory. What was even more shocking, some fans may say, was when Norton blasted Ali so hard that it fractured his jaw.
“I felt it go. Didn’t know it was a broke jaw, but I felt it,” Ali said in the April 23, 1973 issue of Sports Illustrated.
“Got hit with a right cross over a left jab. When I got back to my corner, there was dark red, bluish blood comin’ out of my mouth, but I didn’t want to quit because there was too many people involved. All them people paid to get in to see me and all them people on television everywhere.”
But Norton asserted himself at the beginning of the fight in the first round. ALi managed to go the distance, but his efforts weren’t enough and he suffered his second pro career loss.
Ali and Norton would fight two more times, both of which Ali won.
Norton is just one of five boxers to ever defeat Ali.