Before other sports matched the money and none of the danger, boxing was must-watch theater, a distillation of the rags-to-riches narrative that personified the American Dream. And Ken Norton was Exhibit A.
Ali won the last two, cementing his legend as The Greatest, and was as rough on Frazier outside the ring as he was between the ropes.
After turning pro in 1965, Frazier quickly became known for his punching power, stopping his first 11 opponents. It was his fights with Muhammad Ali, though, that would define him.
It was 40 years ago Tuesday that Ali and Frazier met at Madison Square Garden in a fight so big it was simply referred to as The Fight.