This was a rematch. Slightly more than five months earlier, the little-known Norton had shocked the boxing world by not only beating Ali, but breaking his jaw.
A fluke? It didn't seem so after Ali struggled to win the rematch, pulling out a split-decision victory in front of 12,100 at the Forum.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday June 24, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Boxing -- In a Sports listing of heavyweight fights in Los Angeles on June 16, it was incorrectly reported that Jerry Quarry twice defeated Floyd Patterson by decision in non-title fights in 1967. Their first bout, June 9, 1967, was a draw. Quarry won the second fight by decision on Oct. 28, 1967.
*--* Sept. 10, 1973 MUHAMMAD ALI vs. KEN NORTON
Ali spent so much time avoiding Norton's powerful blows that, wrote Jim Murray in The Times, "If the ropes hadn't been there, Ali would have backpedaled clear to Bakersfield."
Newspaper accounts of the fight questioned whether, at 31, Ali's best days were just a distant memory.
*--* Nov. 15, 1962 CASSIUS CLAY vs. ARCHIE MOORE
His name was still Cassius Clay and his fame was not yet universal. In Moore, he would finally be facing a well-known opponent.
Clay had a prediction poem as he usually did in those days: "Don't block the door. For you may all go home after Round 4."
Sure enough, Clay stopped Moore in four at the Sports Arena.
Never mind that Clay was 20 and Moore at least 43 and probably older. The win gave the rising star a big publicity boost. Fifteen months later, he would get a title shot against Sonny Liston.
*--* April 17, 1939 JOE LOUIS vs. JACK ROPER
This was the first heavyweight championship fight in Los Angeles. Like the Floyd Patterson-Roy Harris title bout that followed it in 1958, Louis-Roper was staged at Wrigley Field.
It wasn't much of a fight, Louis knocking out Roper in the first round, but it was distinctive for two reasons. It was Louis' third consecutive first-round knockout, still a record for heavyweight title defenses. And, it was the last heavyweight championship fight scheduled for only 10 rounds.
Louis would defend his title 13 more times before finally getting another first-round knockout, against Buddy Baer in 1942.
*--* OTHER BOUTS
There were several other meaningful heavyweight fights in Los Angeles. In 1903, Jack Johnson, who would later go on to win the world heavyweight title, defeated "Denver" Ed Martin in a 20-round decision to win the black heavyweight title. Also that year, Johnson twice defeated Sam McVey, both times on 20-round decisions, to retain that title. And in 1967, Jerry Quarry twice defeated Floyd Patterson by decisions in non-title fights.