Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame

Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Class of 2004

Ken Norton. . .Three Time All-Marine Heavyweight Champion. . .Won the 1972 NABF Heavyweight title with a 12 round split decision over Muhammad Ali. . .Regained the title in 1977 with a knockout of Duane Bobick. . .In 1977, The Boxing Writers Association of American named him fighter of the year. . .Norton was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992...Born August 9, 1943, in Jacksonville, IL .

Career 42 7 1 33

Ken Norton was born August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He served in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967, stationed at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune. During a time when the heavyweight division was dominated by such names as Ali, Foreman, and Frazier, Norton would distinguish himself as a contender among these boxing greats.

Ken NortonNorton possessed an awkward and powerful style, and never failed to enter the ring in peak physical condition. He was a tremendous all-around athlete as a youth and earned a football scholarship to Northeast Missouri State. While in the Marine Corps, Norton compiled a 24-2 record, and won three All-Marine Heavyweight titles.

Norton, who turned pro in 1967, would become a household name in 1973 when he won the NABF heavyweight title with a 12-round split decision over Muhammad Ali, which was only Ali's second loss. While many consider Ali the greatest heavyweight in history, it was Norton who gave him three of his closest fights, winning one.

Ken NortonBy 1976, Ali was heavyweight champion again and the pair met at Yankee Stadium for their third and final fight. Although Ali won a unanimous decision, many felt that Norton carried the day and actually won the fight.

In 1977, Norton knocked out Duane Bobick in one round and decisioned Jimmy Young in a WBC title-elimination fight. When Leon Spinks didn't honor a commitment to defend the title against Norton, the WBC stripped Spinks of the belt and awarded it to Norton by virtue of his win over Young. For his accomplishments, the Boxing Writers Association of America named him Fighter of the Year. Ken Norton was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.