On October 1, 1975, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines, WBA, WBC, and the ring heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali faced Joe Frazier for the world heavyweight championship for the third and last time. But did you know what happened to Muhammad Alis and Joe Frazier’s Friendship?
Many people turned against Joe Frazier after Muhammad Ali depicted him as an uncle tom. Frazier’s kids were bullied, and he was threatened. If Ali lost to Frazier, he pledged to crawl across the ring and call him the best, which he refused to do after losing to Frazier.
Is the “Thrilla in Manila” Boring and Overrated?
Most people today believe Ali-Frazier III to be a light-years more intense fight than the current Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in terms of action and savagery. In 1997, The Ring Magazine named Thrilla in Manila the Fight of the Century, popularizing the notion that the fight was truly the best in history. However, certain boxing historians say Thrilla in Manila is more than meets the eye.
A great fight has to be recognized on its merits alone–not exactly the case with Thrilla in Manila.Mike Silver, the author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science
The popularity of the two combatants, the memorable slogan Thrilla in Manila, and most crucially, the savagery involved in the third and last Ali-Frazier boxing contest, he added, contributed to the match’s enduring appeal.
I’m sure I never saw a fight where two guys took as much punishment as those two did that day. After that fight, as fighters, neither one was ever worth a damn.Ed Schuyler, Associated Press boxing reporter
However, roughness alone does not make a combat superior. Some historians believe Ali and Frazier’s final battle in 1975 was little more than a dull and predictable fight between two boxers who were well past their prime.
That’s a fight you’ve seen it once and you know it. The lines are boring. If it were a movie it would be very boring. It’s just two guys hitting each other so I don’t go there again.Bobby Franklin, International Boxing Research Organization
Nonetheless, it was a fascinating battle for those who were present, particularly Filipinos.
This fight could make a legitimate claim to being the greatest fight of all time, maybe not in terms of social significance, but in terms of great action between two historic fighters.Thomas Hauser, Boxing Historian
Who Came Up with the Title “Thrilla in Manila”?
Ali didn’t hold back in slinging personal insults at his opponent in the days building up to their dramatic showdown in Manila. Ali, for example, brought out a rubber toy gorilla and whacked it repeatedly while hyping their fight.
This is Joe Frazier’s conscience, I keep it everywhere I go. This is the way he looks when you hit him.Muhammad Ali
Ali’s pre-fight humor didn’t stop with the toy gorilla; he also teased Frazier with a poem that would later become known as ‘Thrilla in Manila’:
It will be a killa and a chilla and a thrilla, when I get the gorilla in ManilaMuhammad Ali
Except for Joe Frazier, everyone was laughing. After all, it wasn’t the first time he’d been the target of Ali’s attacks. (Source: Filipiknow)