Thrilla in Manila

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The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World, fought at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on October 1, 1975.

The bout is often ranked as one of the greatest fights of 20th century boxing, and is the climax to the bitter rivalry between Ali and Frazier over who was the legitimate Heavyweight Champion. That situation came about after Ali was stripped of the title over his refusal to join the armed forces when drafted during the Vietnam War. Some years later, Frazier petitioned President Nixon to restore Ali's right to box, thereby bringing about the so called Fight of the Century between two undisputed heavyweight champions in 1971.

During the whole period from before their first to their last face-off in Manila, Ali had used his wit, sharp tongue, and position with the press to take characteristic verbal pot shots at Frazier (as was his practice with all opponents—and which made good copy and controversy) but these became particularly intense, controversial and at times ugly and this verbal battery heated the rivalry into new territory.

Contents

Pre-fight

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos offered to hold the bout in Metro Manila and sponsor it to divert attention from the social turmoil that the country was experiencing, having declared martial law three years earlier.[1][2] Don King, amused by the gesture, agreed to hold the fight at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.[1] Produced by King and broadcast to many countries worldwide with HBO's antenna, The Thrilla in Manila had a tremendous media following.

The city of Cairo had apparently been considered as a possible host to the fight: The August 1975 issue of Ring Magazine had a fictitious fight-poster of Ali-Frazier III on its cover, which listed Nasser Stadium in Cairo as the place the fight was taking place.

The mood of the two fighters and their camps could not have been further apart. In Ali's camp the mood was jovial, and lighthearted. According to Ali's longtime physician and cornerman Ferdie Pacheco, it was believed by Ali and his trainers that Joe Frazier was washed up after his devastating loss to George Foreman, and the relative ease with which Ali had defeated Frazier in their rematch after that fight seemed to bear this out. The general consensus was that Ali was doing Frazier a favor, giving Joe one last big payday before sending him off into retirement, and as a result Ali did relatively little training, instead concentrating on the torrid affair he was having with Veronica Porche, and amusing the vast entourage that had come to be nicknamed "The Ali Circus". Later, when Ali's then wife Belinda Ali found out that not only was Ali carrying on this affair but was introducing Veronica as his wife, she stormed into the Philippines, causing yet another distraction.

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