When I was a young man Cassius Clay / Muhammed Ali was King of the Hill. He was the man everyone loved to hate.
Ali come up from the Olympics and upset the Boxing World when he took out Sonny Liston in the first round. I remember listening to the fight on the radio. (Yeah, you read that correctly, I remember title bouts being broadcast on radio).
Though Ali was a remarkable boxer, his propensity for bombastic showmanship ruffled a lot of feathers. But he drew money into the game. Everyone liked how he elevated the purse but there were always hungry fighters dying to get a shot at the big money.
One of the great boxers to take on Ali was Ken Norton. Unlike the flamboyant Ali, Norton was low-key. He just came to the ring to do his job. In a sport often dominated by thugs, Norton was a gentleman.
Norton fought Ali three times. The first time he connected with the reigning champ and broke his jaw. Norton won the bout, the belt and the title. He would fight Ali two more times and lose.
Since I usually write about CrossFit, why would I dedicate a post to an old boxer from forty years ago? Because Ken Norton was also a remarkable athlete. I look at the men I work out with in the gym, and there are some strong guys. But look at the photo of Norton I posted here. He was nicknamed “The Black Hercules”. This man was lean. He was muscle. He was speed. He was power. He was enduring. These are physical attributes we strive to possess as CrossFitters.
Ken Norton was a good role model for any aspiring athlete. He died on September 19th at 70 years of age. Rest in Peace Champ.