The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. It was contested in 1975 for the Heavyweight Championship of the World at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, October 1. The contest’s name is derived from the frequent rhyming boast made by Ali that the fight would be a “Killa and a Thrilla and a Chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila”.
The bout is consistently ranked as one of the best in the sport’s history and proved to be the culmination of the bitter rivalry between Ali and Frazier.
The fight took place at 10 AM local time, in order to accommodate an international viewing audience. Though it served the business interests of the fight, it was detrimental to the fighters. Ali’s ring physician Ferdie Pacheco explains: “‘At 10 AM the stickiness of the night was still there, but cooked by the sun. So what you got is boiling water for atmosphere.” Denise Menz, who was part of Frazier’s contingent, said of the conditions inside the aluminum roofed Araneta Coliseum; “It was so intensely hot, I’ve never before felt heat like that in my life. Not a breath of air–nothing. And that was sitting there. Can you imagine being in the ring? I don’t know how they did it.” Frazier estimated the ring temperature at more than 120 °F (49 °C), taking into account the effect of additional lights used for purposes of televising the fight.  Ali would later say that he had lost 5 pounds (2.3 kg) that morning due to severe dehydration caused by the conditions.
When the fighters and their cornermen met at the center of the ring for the referee’s instructions, Ali continued his verbal assault on Joe Frazier, finishing with the taunt; “‘You don’t have it Joe, you don’t have it! I’m going to put you away! In response, Frazier smiled and said ‘We’ll see.”
- Thrilla in Manila (en.wikipedia.org)
- Joe Frazier Was Muhammad Ali’s Best Fight (buzzfeed.com)
- Thrilla in Manila (sportsmaryosep.wordpress.com)