Classic Fight Flashback: Thriller in Manila

Ali vs Frazier III: The Thriller in Manila

The final act in the pugilistic rivalry that came to define the Vietnam War era far beyond the sport of boxing itself saw Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier throw down at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on October 1, 1975.

This third bout, undoubtedly more so than the previous two, stripped down each fighter to their primal selves – both now years removed from their primes were compelled rather to deploy reserves of character & will to sustain, survive & soak up the prideful, at times frenzied onslaught of the other. Frazier let’s not forget had largely of his own volition petitioned President Tricky Dicky Nixon to restore Ali’s legal right to box professionally. 1971’s Fight of the Century was Smokin’ Joe’s legitimate coming out party; dethroning (finally in the eyes too of the public) Ali comprehensively at Madison Square Garden in a contest that saw the previously undefeated Ali dropped in the 14th Round elevated Frazier’s status both within the sport & the cultural mainstream.

The rivalry was largely characterized & punctuated by Ali’s razor sharp wit and regularly caustic tongue, though over time the intensity, controversial nature and insensitive venom of these verbal onslaughts elevated the rivalry into a strata of personal animosity not witnessed previously within professional sports (and rarely since). With that all said, I suggest you sit back, relax & enjoy one of the singularly most storied, mythologized & primal of all 20th century pugilistic contests…The one, the only….

Thriller in Manila