Former heavyweight champion and film actor Ken Norton died after suffering numerous strokes and poor health. One of the few people to have beaten Sportsman of The Century Muhammed Ali, Ken Norton also made a name for himself as an actor, TV announcer and by his own admission the best title in the world ‘Dad of The Year’.
From a young age Ken Norton was an excellent athlete and he won so many competitions that his school had to bring in a law to limit the amount of sporting events one athlete can win, which is called the ‘Ken Norton Rule’.
He will be forever remembered as the man who broke Ali’s jaw in the first of three fights he had with Muhammed Ali. Although Ali won the next two fights, he only won them on points and in the last one there was controversy on who won that fight.
Ken Norton had a very idiosyncratic boxing style which made him difficult to fight. He held his defence up in a cross-hair fashion which effectively made him as a target very difficult to hit. This style of boxing has been used by many fighters who like to press their opponent but give only a small target while advancing onto their opponent.
It was his punching power which scared a lot of opponents, with his right uppercut being the most powerful weapon he had,
He featured as a commentator on various boxing specials and was lined up to play Apollo Creed in the first Rocky films but thankfully he escaped that silliness and went onto act in the ‘A Team’ and ‘Knight Rider’.
Ken Norton had five children of which his son Ken Norton Jr became a professional American football player whose trade mark end zone party piece was to take up a boxing stand and throw some punches at the goal post. This celebration has been copied by many sportsmen including footballers in the soccer leagues.
In the end Ken Norton could have been any sport superstar he wanted to be. The fact that he choose boxing was a reflection of how the sport was viewed as the ultimate fighting sport in which the riches were great.