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Former Heavyweight Champion Ken Norton Dies At Age 70

September 19, 2013

Ken Norton, just the second man to have beaten the legendary Muhammad Ali, died Wednesday at the age of 70.

Norton was badly injured in a 1986 car accident, and never fully regained his physical mobility.  He had suffered several strokes over the past few years.

Norton never won the heavyweight boxing title in the ring.  He was declared WBC champion after winning an eliminator fight with Jimmy Young, and when Leon Spinks was stripped of the title for fighting Ali instead of giving Norton a title match.  This occurred after three fights Norton waged against Ali, including one victory.  Once, Norton broke Ali’s jaw, sending Ali to the hospital.

Norton’s last big fight was a brutal 15-round split decision loss to Larry Holmes in 1978.  He retired with a record of 42-7-1 with 33 knockouts.

His son, Ken Norton, Jr., was an NFL linebacker for 13 years, playing for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, who now coaches linebackers for the Seattle Seahawks.

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