October 1, 1975. Thrilla in Manila
The famous bout that still resonates with boxing fans world wide turned 40 today. In what many consider one of the greatest testaments to will power, refined skill and pure competition represented much more than just a title fight. Two of the best the world has known in Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier held a rivalry that highlights everything athletes hope for in their career. Both were champions. Both wanted that top spot equally and were willing to fight for it (literally). After Frazier knocked out Ali on one of the largest stages in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, the competitor in him had no choice but to strategically come back full force and even the score – which he did 3 years later.
Thrilla in Manila was the final round of a 3 fight mini-series that captured the world’s attention. A generation that was able to witness firsthand speaks of it in ways the greatest writer cannot even find the words for, some feelings go beyond that. The younger generation, such as my own, can only sit attentively hanging onto every descriptive sentence forced to use their imagination as the battle is revealed through films, commentators, boxing experts and family members.
Ali transcends through generations standing tall as a man firm on his beliefs, an unmatched confidence (Ye and Mayweather are pretty close though, lol) and the heart of a champion with skills to earn the title. 40 years later, not only the fight but the figures in the ring are still something to look up to serving as an example of greatness. That is a feat in itself…neither Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali lost that night.