Unbeknownst to most of the world, Ken Norton recently suffered cardiac arrest.
But don’t fret: The one-time heavyweight champ is still spry when it comes to sizing up his old nemesis, Muhammad Ali.
Interviewed exclusively on The Final Word with JayReelz & J.D., Norton tells hosts Jason Nazario and J.D. Valladares:
“Lately, I’ve been doing nothing. I had a heart attack…about a month ago.
“In fact, I’m just getting back from the doctor.”
Later in the show, when asked how he beat Ali, whose jaw he famously broke during a 1973 upset—only to lose to The Greatest in two subsequent rematches—Norton says it was a case of “mind over matter.”
“I could fake Ali. Every time before he did something, he would lean just a little bit to his left or to his right.
“And when he tried to throw a jab, his pecs would tighten up. So I watched his pecs,” continues Norton, now 66.
The fighter, who retired in 1981 after being knocked out by Gerry Cooney, also reflects on that one-round fiasco.
“I wasn’t satisfied, because I didn’t train for that fight with Cooney. I did a lot of things that I didn’t do earlier in my career. But I have no regrets.”
As for the current crop of pugilists, Norton, who starred in the 1975 flick Mandingo and appeared in such TV shows as Knight Rider and The A-Team, says:
“I watch the fights occasionally, but I don’t follow it real close.
“The fact is, I think that the fighters of today are good boxers, but not real good technicians.”
To hear Ken’s full interview, click here.
To read the New York Post‘s Page Six mention of the story, click here.