On January 22, World Boxing Association’s coveted Heavyweight title went to “Big George” Foreman after defeating the reigning champion “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier. A matchup was a breakout moment for Foreman as he faced the winner in the 1964 Olympics who won against the great Muhammad Ali in 1971, and formidable boxer, Frazier.
With Foreman’s greater size advantage of 6’3” against 5’11, his uppercuts brutalized Frazier, knocking him down six times in two rounds. The final judgment came in the second round at 1:35 when Foreman landed a powerful right uppercut and knocked Frazier down to the canvas. At that moment the referee called an end to the match, declaring Foreman the winner by technical knock-out (TKO).
The famous call by announcer Howard Cosell, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier”, became the memorable drumbeat of that matchup known as, “The Sunshine Showdown”.
You can view this match on YouTube
Dating back to the days of the ancient Olympics, boxing was one of the great spectacles of the Games. The grueling bouts of old were, in a sense, suicide matches, where each fighter’s main goal was to maim his opponent. No gloves were worn during the fight – the hands and forearms were simply covered with leather thongs to which metal balls had been fastened. Andreolus, a famous Greek boxer of Olympian fame, left us this description: “I have fought with courage in the boxing events of all the Games of Greece. In Pisa, I lost an ear. In Platea, I lost an eye. In Delphi, I was carried out, unconscious.” This brutal form of boxing disappeared with the ancient Games in 393 A.D. However, a more refined form of this sport officially became an Olympics event in the St. Louis Olympics of 1904. Since then, it has developed and matured to become an exciting and demanding sport. There are eleven divisions, or weight groups in boxing, starting at light flyweight, which is up to 106 pounds, and spanning to heavyweight, which is over 178 pounds. The athletes compete in three round bouts that are decided by a panel of five judges. Points are awarded to contestants on the basis of technique, quality of the defense, strength of the blows and adherence to the rules. To honor this event, the U.S. Postal Service issued the stamp featured on this Cover.