How the Ali-Frazier ‘Fight of the Century’ Became a Proxy Battle for a Divided Nation

When Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali faced off in the ring on March 8, 1971, the world stopped to watch. Dubbed “the fight of the century,” the clash ended in New York’s Madison Square Garden, grossed $ 45 million in closed-circuit tickets in the United States alone, and has been seen by more than 300 million people in the world. Even when the result was already known, half of the UK’s population watched a replay on the BBC.

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