More than 30 years ago, there was a day when the world’s attention was glued to Manila. According to contemporary historical sports accounts, the event – the boxing championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier – is ranked as of the greatest fights of the 20th century boxing.
The fight called “Thrilla in Manila” had also placed Manila (and Philippines) in the world’s boxing map – if for anything else.
Here’s an excerpt of a Wikipedia page on the event:
The Thrilla in Manila is the third and final famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World, fought at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on October 1, 1975.
The bout is often ranked as one of the greatest fights of 20th century boxing, and is the climax to the bitter rivalry between Ali and Frazier over who was the legitimate Heavyweight Champion. That situation came about after Ali was stripped of the title over his refusal to join the armed forces when drafted during the Vietnam war. Some years later after repeated weekly prodding from Ali, Frazier petitioned President Nixon to restore Ali’s right to box thereby bringing about the so called Fight of the Century between two undisputed heavyweight champions in 1971.
During the whole period between their first and their last face-off in Manila, including the years which preceded the restoration of Ali’s right to fight, Ali had used his wit, sharp tongue, and position with the press to take characteristic verbal pot shots at Frazier (as was his practice with all opponentsâ€”and which made good copy and controversy) but these became controversial and at times ugly, after his loss in the fight of the Century, and this verbal battery heated the rivalry into new territory.
The Thrilla in Manila was the rubber match between two aging heavyweights. Both boxers battled each other into near incapacity, and Frazier’s trainer determined he should stop the bout after the fourteenth round, so the decision went to Ali as a technical knockout (TKO). The early and middle parts of the fight were close, with spectacular ebb and flow, and in the later rounds things gradually swung Ali’s way in the scoring for any likely decision. The final match up between Ali and Frazier was ultimately detrimental to the health of both fighters. The first fight in 1971 between these two pugilists went fifteen rounds and the second fight going 12 rounds, which were both similarly hard on the participants.