History | Jan 28 2020

On This Day: Muhammad Ali gains revenge over Joe Frazier in their rematch

On January 28 1974, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier renewed their bitter rivalry
Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier

MUHAMMAD ALI craved revenge over Joe Frazier in 1974. Almost three years had elapsed since “Smokin” Joe won a 15-round decision in their epic opener.

On January 28 he was given the chance and it was staged, again, inside Madison Square Garden. But with both having shed their invincible cloaks – Frazier had been bombed by George Foreman while Ali had split two bouts with Ken Norton – part two lacked the lustre of the original. Nonetheless, the intense dislike intensified between the pair. In the lead up, they were invited to review their first encounter on ABC’s Wide World of Sport. They ended up rucking in the studio, rolling around on the floor as if they were fighting in a bar. It was an ugly spectacle, for which they were both fined, but it heightened the anticipation for their rematch.

Ali began confidently, his jab like a spear, and in the second Frazier staggered under fire. Ali swarmed. Frazier was in trouble. The referee, Tony Perez, believing the round was over, leapt between them and denied Ali his chance for an early win.