But after the Thrilla, “both men were never the same again”, said Nick Giongco, a sports analyst at the Manila Bulletin.
He said that although Ali would defend his world title a further six times, and regain it in a rematch after losing to Leon Spinks in 1978, the self-styled “Greatest of All Time” never fully recovered from the “brutal beatdown” Frazier had inflicted.
Ali would finally hang up his gloves in 1981 aged 39, following consecutive losses to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. He retired with a win-loss record of 56-5.
The “Louisville Lip” died nearly four years ago after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“Smokin’ Joe” (32-4-1) fought only twice more after the Manila epic, being stopped by Foreman for a second time in 1976 before coming out of retirement five years later to draw with the unheralded Floyd Cummings over 10 rounds. Frazier died in 2011.