October 1, 1975, the “Thrilla in Manila” Took Place at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City
On 1 October 1975, the historic boxing event Thrilla or the so-called “Boxing of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World took place at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final boxing match between the two fighters. President Ferdinand Marcos offered to hold the bout in Metro Manila and sponsor it to divert attention from the social turmoil that the country was experiencing, having declared martial law three years earlier in 1972. Don King, the promoter, amused by the gesture, agreed to hold the fight at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Produced by King and broadcast to many countries worldwide with HBO’s antenna, The Thrilla in Manila had a tremendous media following.
Ali won by technical knockout (TKO) after Frazier’s chief second, Eddie Futch, conceded the fight prior to the 15th round. Futch, decided to stop the fight between rounds rather than risk a worse fate for Frazier.
His decision to stop the bout in round 14 was made as Frazier was almost blind as he stepped in, and was met once more with punishing blows from Ali.
It was later revealed that Frazier actually had a cataract in his left eye and, with the punishment from Ali closing his right eye, Frazier was effectively fighting blind in the last rounds of the fight.
The referee of the match was Carlos Padilla, a Filipino who came to international prominence because of the bout.
Ali and Frazier first met on the ring on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where the latter won the title by unanimous decision by flooring Ali on the 15th round with a hard-leaping left hook.
Earlier, on January 28, 1974, Ali won a unanimous 12-round decision in a non-title rematch with Frazier, who had already lost his title to George Foreman. Ali was also recently beaten by Ken Norton.
As a tribute to Ali, in the Philippines, the first multi-level commercial shopping mall located at the Araneta Center in Quezon City, right beside the Araneta Coliseum where the “Thrilla in Manila” took place, was named “Ali Mall” in honor of the “The Greatest” champion.
Ali has passed away on June 3, 2016, after a more than 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.