Ken Norton: Tributes pour in following the death of former heavyweight champion boxer
The 70-year-old broke the jaw of Muhammad Ali
Thursday 19 September 2013
Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who has died at the age of 70, was described as “the fairest of them all”.
Norton passed away in a care facility in Arizona on Wednesday after suffering congestive heart failure, his close friend and former manager Patrick Tenore confirmed.
Norton, who had been in poor health and suffered a stroke last year, fought in the 1970s era of magnificent heavyweights - a group that also included Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks and Jimmy Young - and ended his career with a record of 42 wins, seven losses, one draw and 33 knockouts.
It was Foreman, a former two-time heavyweight champion, who led the tributes, saying on Twitter: "They called us all handsome. Muhammad they called pretty. But the fairest of them all Ken Norton."
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who visited Norton in hospital, tweeted: "Ken Norton was always nice to me even when I was just an amateur fighter. He always treated me like I was somebody. Remarkable man."
Norton will be best remembered for breaking Ali's jaw in their first of three fights, in which he went on to beat him in a split decision, in 1973.
Ali narrowly won their second encounter by a split decision six months later before he claimed a second victory over Norton on September 28, 1976, at the Yankee Stadium in New York to retain his heavyweight title.
"He was a fighter," Tenore told Press Association Sport. "He fought a tough battle and we thought he was out of the woods.
"He was a warm and generous man. He was a champion and a fighter and bright-eyed and anxious to see the next day and a dear friend of 20 years.
"Everyone will miss him. He never said a bad word about anyone."
Norton won the WBC heavyweight championship in 1977 when Leonard Spinks chose not to fight him, before he lost the title to Larry Holmes in a very close split decision in June the following year.
Following his boxing career, Norton made several film and television appearances before he suffered a near-fatal crash in 1986 when his car veered off the on-ramp to the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles.
Despite being struck with ill health in later life, Tenore says Norton never blamed this on his professional boxing career, which began with a win over Grady Brazell in 1967 and ended with defeat against Gerry Cooney at Madison Square Garden in 1981.
"Ken Norton never blamed anyone for anything. He never had a bad word about boxing or any of his opponents. This is a man you have never heard say an ill word about anybody," Tenore added.
The World Boxing Council said: "The WBC regrets the passing away of our former champion Ken Norton. May he rest in peace."
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson added on Twitter: "Today a great man passed away. A legend in the boxing world and a good man. Condolences to Ken Norton's family on this very sad day.
"Ken Norton was always nice to me even when I was just an amateur fighter. He always treated me like I was somebody. Remarkable man."
Latest in Sport
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Six things we learnt: Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United; Henderson becoming the genuine heir to Gerrard
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
Steven Gerrard tribute match: An alternative XI the Liverpool player wouldn't want crashing the Anfield party
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...