Ali-Frazier Trilogy: The Shoes From The Legendary Fights

Some boxing trilogies are timeless (Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward), and some are lackluster (Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado), but none are as legendary as Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier.

“Smokin’ Joe” — who entered the ring during their first fight with a 26-0 record — dealt Ali his first career loss on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City in a fight billed as “The Fight of the Century.” Ali — 31-0 at the time of the fight — lost a 15-round unanimous decision to Frazier.

Muhammad Ali Joe Frazier Adidas
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in their first fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971, both wearing Adidas.

But to the shoe enthusiast, what is just as important as the outcome is the footwear worn in the ring.

For the first fight, both Ali and Frazier wore Adidas boots into the ring (Ali in white boots with red stripes and tassels; Frazier in white boots with blue stripes). And while Frazier would continue to sport Adidas in their next two fights, Ali would switch to another brand.

The second fight — billed “Super Fight II” — took place on Jan. 28, 1974, once again at Madison Square Garden. Ali won the fight, a 12-round unanimous decision, in white Everlast shoes with red branding. Frazier once again was in Adidas.

Muhammad Ali Joe Frazier Adidas Everlast
Muhammad Ali switched to Everlast for his second bout with Joe Frazier.

Ali and Frazier’s third fight — their most legendary scrap — was the “Thrilla in Manila,” which took place on Oct. 1, 1975, at the Philippine Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. Ali was the heavyweight champion of the world at the time, boasting a 48-2 record. Frazier entered the ring 32-2. They battled not only each other but also intense heat inside the arena for 14 rounds before Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, called the fight off before the start of the 15th and final round. Ali got the win in Everlast; Frazier took the TKO loss in Adidas.

Muhammad Ali Joe Frazier Thrilla in Manilla
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in their third fight, the “Thrilla in Manila.”

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