Thrilla in Manila
Thrilla in Manila, an epic boxing bout.
The epic boxing bout played in Manila famously known as the Thrilla in Manila is still fresh for many in their minds. Muhammad Ali was the winner over Joe Frazier in the final match which brought him the Gold medal that he deserved. This finale match between these two boxers went down in the history which is remembered at every match and honored. Young boxers look up to Muhammad Ali as a great inspiration. Ali declared himself as “the greatest” as he was unbeatable.
Thrilla in Manila, the final match was fought on October 1, 1975, in Philippine Coliseum, Quezon City. The name as Thrilla in Manila was derived from the famous rhyming poem that Ali made before the match. He said, “It will be a killa, and a chilla and a thrilla when I get the gorilla in Manila”. Ever since Ali said the final match was named Thrilla. Ali had thrown insults on Joe Frazier at every incident and Frazier took that all in.
Background before the finals
The first match between Frazier and Ali was on March 8, 1971, in New York Madison Square Garden. Both boxers met for the second time of a re-match in January 1974. Frazier won the first match but the second both did not win. Both got into a fight earlier on a show and they were pulled off. Ali struck Frazier with his right hand. As the referee was constantly put in a difficult position every time Ali went illegally hitting Frazier or Frazier doing it wrong made it difficult to find a referee for the Manila match.
Promoting the final fight
The then President of Philippines Ferdinand Marcos asked to hold the final match in Manila in order to bring the World attention on the upcoming sport instead of the country’s difficulties. During these promotional time, Ali constantly insulted Frazier by calling him as Gorilla. He always had a gorilla doll in his hands and punched it to pieces referring it to be the fate of Frazier in Manila. The main reason behind Ali’s behavior is he wanted Frazier to get angry. When a boxer is angry during the fight, he cannot think before every step and he will lose on causing him to fail. Hence, he tried to make Frazier all worked up before the match even started.
As said it was difficult to find a referee and Frazier coach Futch was worried about Ali using his regular tactics of twisting the neck which was illegal. Hence, he requested the Philippines Government to represent a Filippino referee.
The grand fight
Frazier, when he came for the final fight, was already at his greatest disadvantage. He was partially blind with one of his eye and he had difficulties in seeing properly. However, this fact was kept as a secret in everyone’s eyes including Ali. Both put up a good fight till the 14th round. By then Frazier was in a very bad state and his coach Futch requested him to step down. Though Joe Frazier did not want to give in, he finally did and Ali was declared as the winner. This fight went down in the history as the best boxing match ever played but both the boxers lost their ability too far. After the fight, Ali said that it was near a death experience to him.
Thrilla in Manila was one of the great fights, but some of the historians think that it was a boring fight which was dragged for too long and there were two men just fighting without any much life or thrill in them. Although, there were many others who thought the fight is one to remember for years as the way Ali and Frazier fought no one else could ever do. They are an inspiration to many young fighter today and stand as legends.