The Pugilist

‘The greatest final round in heavyweight boxing history’

The Pugilist

The world of boxing is in mourning following the sad death of former heavyweight world champion Ken Norton.

Norton has several claims to fame in his impressive career - among them being the man to break Muhammad Ali's jaw in a fight - but to all boxing aficionados there is no doubt about his finest hour: the 15th and final round of his 1978 title defence against Larry Holmes.

The fight was already destined to be a classic as the bell rang for the final three minutes, with the scores dead level on all three judges' cards.

What followed was perhaps the most amazing round of boxing ever seen at heavyweight level, with the two exhausted sluggers (Norton is in the blue shorts) throwing caution to the wind as they piled in against each other in scenes so far-fetched you'd think they were from a Rocky film.

The three minutes of action has been consistently voted the best final round ever seen in a heavyweight world title fight, with Norton landing more punches but Holmes getting the better of the shots in. In the end Holmes edged it on two of the scorecards to win the fight in a majority decision, 143-142, 143-142, 142-143, but both men were hailed as heroes after their titanic clash.

Holmes was one of the first to pay tribute to Norton, calling him "a great man and fighter" - and what better way to pay tribute to Norton than to show this video of him playing the lead in one of sport's finest moments.

The Ring magazine voted the bout the eighth finest of all time, and listed the final round as the most exciting finale ever in a heavyweight bout. Sit back and enjoy - and next time your granddad tells you how much better boxing was in the good old days, remember that this is exactly the kind of thing he's talking about.

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