Two heavyweights firmly established themselves at the top of the division during Muhammad Ali’s exile from the sport in the late 1960s — Joe Frazier and Jimmy Ellis. Frazier earned THE RING’s No. 1 contender status as well as the New York boxing commission’s championship recognition by defeating George Chuvalo (TKO 4), Manuel Ramos (TKO 2), Oscar Bonavena (UD 15), and Jerry Quarry (TKO 7). Ellis beat Leotis Martin (TKO 9), Bonavena (UD 12) and Quarry (MD 15) en route to winning the WBA’s title elimination tournament. Ali’s friend, stablemate and fellow Louisille, Ky., native defended the WBA title against former champ Floyd Patterson (W 15).
There was no one left to fight but each other going into the new decade and THE RING celebrated their pending February 1970 showdown by having Frazier and Ellis pen their own articles explaining why and how they planned to win the big fight, held in Madison Square Garden.