Muhammad Ali was two bouts into his comeback from his three-year exile from boxing at the start of 1971. Everyone (and not just boxing fans) anticipated his inevitable challenge to heavyweight champ Joe Frazier. Former champ Jack Dempsey believed he would have defeated Ali and picked Frazier to win (by knockout), as chronicled by the cover of the February ’71 issue of THE RING.
Fight scribe Dan Daniel wrote that Frazier, coming off a brutal second-round KO title defense against light heavyweight champ Bob Foster, was ready for the Fight of the Century.
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