LAS VEGAS (CBSNewYork) — Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 70 years old.
Norton had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend told CBS News.
He notoriously broke Muhammad Ali’s jaw in their first bout, beating him by split decision in a non-title fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision.
They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title, CBS News reported.
Norton would come back the following year to win a heavyweight title eliminator and was declared champion by the World Boxing Council. But on June 9, 1978, he lost a bruising 15-round fight to Larry Holmes in what many regard as one of boxing’s epic heavyweight bouts and would never be champion again, CBS News reported.
Norton finished with a record of 42-7-1 and 33 knockouts. He would later embark on an acting career, appearing in several movies, and was a commentator at fights.
Norton started boxing when he was in the Marines, and began his pro career after his release from duty in 1967, CBS News reported.
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