George Foreman batters Joe Frazier
Spectators got a short-but-entertaining show as the referee had to bring the fight to a stop. Joe Frazier could not keep up to the punches of his opponent, George Foreman. Frazier was knocked down several times, both in the first and second rounds, leaving him with a bloody and swollen face.
Published Tuesday, January 23, 1973
World Heavyweight Title Changes Hands at Stadium
Foreman finishes Frazier in two
Ex-champ floored 6 times before ref stops fight
THE WORLD heavyweight boxing title changed hands at the National Stadium last night, as challenger George Foreman, in a display of near brutal savagery, battered champion Joe Frazier before referee Arthur Mercante stopped the annihilation in one minute and 35 seconds of the second round.
A record boxing crowd of 36,000 saw the 6ft 3” Texan challenge explode from the very first round in which the champion was knocked down three times. Frazier went down three more times in the second round before the referee stopped the contest.
Foreman's thunderbolts rocked the head of the previously unbeaten Frazier as the champion went down six times in what was a pathetic display for those who had installed him as favourite.
There was hardly a moment when Frazier, normally a slow starter, looked able to withstand the thunderous rights and lefts of the 24-year-old Foreman.
The challenger came out charging, obviously under instructions not to allow the Frazier machine to get steaming. There was no question of defence from either boxer as Frazier, once he was dropped by a beautiful right to the face, realised immediately that he had to attack all the way.
Frazier was a pitiful sight as he went down two more times in that memorable first round, showing strength and courage to get up quickly and take the mandatory eight count on all three occasions.
There was no stopping the Foreman fury as the second round started and near-helpless Frazier was a sitting duck to barrages of rights and lefts from the unbeaten challenger.
The powerhouse of Foreman’s hands packed solidly behind a 217 ½lb frame, destroyed Frazier, who had hitherto won all his 29 fights – 25 by knockouts.
Showing admirable courage, Frazier was on his wobbling legs with his mouth bleeding from his four trips to the canvas in the second round before the referee stopped the slaughter - the bloody mouth testifying to the power of Foreman's punching.
There was no doubt as to which way the fight would go after Frazier went down for the second time in the first round, his manager Yank Durham shouting frantically from his corner for the champion to stay away. But he could not; Foreman just came blasting away at a head which hardly moved.
Last night was the Sunshine Showdown heavyweight championship but brought together the two former Olympic heavyweight champions in a contest which drew a live gate of $370,800.
The finale was as dramatic as the beginning, Foreman taking control at the very earliest opportunity and not letting lose when it was clearly obvious that Frazier could not take his bombs.
For Foreman, this was the 38th consecutive victory. He had won 34 of these by knockouts before tonight's fight, in a professional career that started on June 23, 1369, the same night when Frazier was successfully defending his New York version title against Jerry Quarry.
For the bumper crowd at the National Stadium, the brutal manner in which Foreman performed his task satisfied their doubts as to just what measure of fighting strength was left in Frazier after the heavy punishment he received in keeping his title against Mohammad Ali nearly two years ago.
The power of Foreman’s punches has justified the opinion of many that he is well on the way to rate among the great heavyweights on sheer power of punches. Foreman handled Frazier with utter disdain in the last 90 seconds of the fight. As Frazier went down for the third time in the second round, Foreman looked down and begged him not to get up.
“I didn't want to hurt him, but he kept coming up,” he said as fans swarmed the ring when the new champion was crowned.
Foreman, in this his biggest payday, has been guaranteed $337,500 or 20 per cent of the total gate and Frazier $765,000 or 42 ½ per cent of the total gate. The fight was beamed live by closed-circuit television to worldwide audiences, and is expected to gross well over $3,000,00.
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