Muhammad Ali’s ‘Thrilla in Manila’: Remembering boxing’s greatest-ever bout

Published 8:37 AM EDT, Sat June 4, 2016

Story highlights

"Thrilla in Manila" bout "brutal," sportscaster Ronnie Nathanielsz remembers

1975 fight pitted Muhammad Ali against friend-turned-rival Joe Frazier

(CNN) —  

The Ali Mall still stands on a corner in Quezon City, Metro Manila, 40 years after it opened next door to the Araneta Coliseum.

It’s a monument to one of sport’s greatest athletes, and the two weeks in 1975 when “The Greatest” won over an entire country with victory over his long-time foe Joe Frazier in what is regarded by many as the best fight of all time – the so-called “Thrilla in Manila.”

The fight was a seminal moment for the Philippines, a moment of true international attention and recognition for a country which was convulsing under three years of martial law and a crackdown by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

By capitalizing on the great Ali-Frazier rivalry, Marcos managed in one swoop to both unite the country and – at least for the duration of the fight – rehabilitate his image on the world stage.

01:06 - Source: CNN
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