*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on dmboxing.com on September 5, 2010
By David Martinez / Boxing Historian / dmboxing.com
I will start this part #1, by saying that the best closed circuit fight that I ever attended was with my late father, Daniel J. Martinez and two of my best friends, Al Garcia and Hector Ybarra, at the Santa Barbara, California “historic” Granada Theater. On March 8, 1971, we saw the most eagerly anticipated fight that I have ever been involved with in my 48 years in boxing … Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali.
I was so excited come fight time that I left my work early on that Monday afternoon just to be sure I was the first one in line to get tickets and the best seats: front row center balcony. I got both to view the fight.
This was simply known as “The Fight of the Century” and still ranks as one of the most famous in heavyweight boxing history.
Both fighters entered the ring unbeaten with both having legitimate claims to the heavyweight title.
The fight lived up to all it’s hype, with Frazier punctuating his victory by landing a tremendous left hook which dropped Ali in the 15th and final round. Smokin’ Joe won a unanimous 15 round decision, giving Ali his first professional loss.
It was simply a night that will remain – as it will with me – as one of the best in boxing!