Thrilla in Manila was the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. It was contested in 1975 for the heavyweight championship of the world at the Philippine Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines, on Wednesday, October 1. The venue was renamed from Araneta Coliseum, specifically for the match. Ali won by technical knockout (TKO) after Frazier's chief second, Eddie Futch, conceded the fight prior to the 15th round. The contest's name is derived from the frequent rhyming boast made by Ali that the fight would be a "killa and a thrilla and a chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila."
The bout is consistently ranked as one of the best in the sport's history and was the culmination of a three-bout rivalry between the two fighters that Ali won
first bout between Frazier and Ali took place on March 8, 1971, in New York's Madison Square Garden. Frazier was the champion and won by unanimous decision over previously undefeated Ali in a fast-paced, 15-round bout, with Frazier scoring the fight's (and trilogy's) only knockdown, at the beginning of the final round.
When the rivals met in a January 1974 rematch, neither was champion; Frazier had suffered a second-round knockout at the hands of George Foreman a year earlier and Ali had split two bouts with Ken Norton. In a promotional appearance before the second fight, the two had gotten into a scuffle in an ABC studio during an interview segment with Howard Cosell. In the second round, Ali stung Frazier with a hard right hand, which backed him up. Referee Tony Perez stepped between the fighters, signifying the end of the round, even though there were about 25 seconds left. In so doing, he gave Frazier time to regain his bearings and continue fighting. Perez also failed to contain Ali's tactic of illegally holding and pulling down his opponent's neck in the clinches, which helped Ali to smother Frazier, and gain him the 12-round decision. This became a major issue in selecting the referee for the Manila bout. When Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971, the storyline went much deeper than two undefeated heavyweights clashing for the belt. Ali had refused induction in the U.S. Army, was considered radical chic and seemed to embody the culture of the 1960s. Frazier was cast as a champion fighting for the establishment. Frank Sinatra was a ring-side photographer for Life magazine. Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Hugh Hefner, Dustin Hoffman and Diana Ross were ringside. Burt Lancaster was part of the closed circuit broadcast team. All that, and the fight actually lived up to its billing as the "Fight of the Century." After 15 rounds of thrilling toe-to-toe action, Frazier won a unanimous decision.How big was Ali vs. Frazier 1 at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971? Frank Sinatra was a ringside photographer for Life Magazine at the "Fight of the Century."
Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier kept his title at the end of the "Fight of the Century" against Muhammad Ali at the Madison Square Garden, in New York on March 8, 1971.
Joe Frazier stands near the fallen Muhammad Ali as referee Art Mercante gestures at left during a boxing match at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 8, 1971. It was Frazier's heavyweight title that was on the line in the bout, but a lot of boxing fans still considered Ali the champion because he was stripped of the title and sent into boxing exile for refusing to be drafted.