- Jan 28, 2010
Mercante noted the brutal punishment the men took and said that he felt neither were ever the same. The referee, though, probably put the historic event in the best perspective in his book.
New York City has been called the city that never sleeps. It was never more so that night. Celebrations and talk of the fight echoed throughout Manhattan. Two spectators in the Garden had actually suffered fatal heart attacks from the excitement. On his way back from the fight, Jack Dempsey, seventy-six years old, knocked out two muggers outside his restaurant on Broadway. Clenching his big-knuckled right fist he told me later: "I can't go long, Arthur, but I can still punch a little."
But the closeness of the fight had more to do with the tremendous toll the match took on both fighters. Frazier had to be hospitalized, and although only 27 years old, his best days as a fighter were behind him. Though some of Ali's greatest victories still lay ahead, he would never again approach what he once had in his prime, as he did that night.