History | Sep 18 2019

On This Day: Heavyweight great Ken Norton passed away

Matt Christie looks back at Ken Norton, a heavyweight destined to be remembered as a jawbreaker
Ken Norton
Ken-Norton109  |  Action Images

BREAKING Muhammad Ali’s jaw will always be Ken Norton’s claim to fame but the former WBC heavyweight champion, who died in 2013 aged 70 after a long illness, deserves to be remembered for so much more. Let’s also talk about his place in heavyweight history as one of the best in a great era; the physique that looked like it had been sculpted from golden marble; the hellacious dogfight with Larry Holmes; and the fierce determination that fuelled survival from a horror crash in 1986.

Norton was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1943 and quickly developed the kind of self-confidence that only the physically blessed enjoy. His pristine physique was the envy of many and it developed effortlessly.

“I can only attribute it to good genes,” Norton explained in his 2000 autobiography. “I never worked out with weights, and that includes when I was boxing professionally.”


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