NEW YORK heavyweight champion, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, 26, weighed in at 205lbs for the clash with the WBA’s 29-year old champion Jimmy Ellis, who scaled 196lbs. The 18,000 in attendance generated a gate of $600,000, with each man taking home $150,000 from the February 16, 1970 showdown.
FRAZIER claimed his version of the title in March 1968 by stopping Buster Mathis in the 11th A month later, Ellis won a 15 round decision over Jerry Quarry in the final of a WBA tournament organised to crown a new champion after Muhammad Ali was stripped. A fight between the two champions was called for immediately but petty disputes scuppered any negotiations until they had nobody else to fight but each other.
KEN FINCH said in the Boxing News preview: “The plain truth of this New York title battle is that neither Ellis nor Frazier has great crowd pulling power and both have run out of opponents on their side of the Atlantic. The only course open is to make one champion.”