Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier is the greatest rivalry in boxing history, and you can make an argument for it as the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. The two were perfect foils for each other, inside the ring and out.
During the turbulent Vietnam era, Ali was the brash, outspoken hero of the young. The wry, quietly confident Frazier appealed to more traditional fans.
Frazier's relentless, pressure style was the near-perfect antidote to Ali's flashy, stick-and-move technique. When they met for the first time in 1971, it was billed as "The Fight of the Century." Frazier dropped Ali in Round 15 and handed "The Greatest" his first defeat.
Ali evened the score in their 1974 rematch, before going on to shock the world by recapturing the heavyweight title from George Foreman.
Ali defended the belt against Frazier in their rubber match in 1975, in the Philippines. Dubbed "The Thrilla in Manila," the fight is viewed by many boxing historians as the greatest fight of all time.
It was a frightening war of attrition. Ali shot out to an early lead before Frazier began to slow him down with his relentless body attack and left hooks to the head. Ali revealed later that he had nearly quit on his stool late in the fight.
Frazier made a last desperate rally in Round 14. But by then his eyes were swollen so badly that he was nearly blind, and his trainer Eddie Futch threw in the towel and refused to let him go out to take more damage.