Ken Norton Sr. has died, and does that even seem possible? He will forever be known for breaking Muhammad Ali’s jaw, beating him in a split decision non-title bout (remember when boxers still fought those?) in 1973. His two subsequent losses to Ali were also squeakers, and so it went back in the day, when great heavyweights roamed the landscape in substantial numbers. Now, not so much.
Norton had suffered from a series of strokes in recent years. His son, former 49er linebacker and current Seahawks’ linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., said the 70-year-old passed away today at a Las Vegas care facility.
Gene Kilroy, who was Ali’s former business manager, says he’s sure Norton is “in heaven now with all the great fighters,” and Kilroy would like to hear that conversation.
Fun fact: Norton’s last victory, in 1980, came against Randall “Tex” Cobb, who would go on to play the bounty hunter Leonard Smalls in Raising Arizona.