Former boxing champion Norton dead: report
Former boxer Ken Norton, pictured at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on February 18, 2012, has died of heart failure, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The fighter was best known for beating Muhammad Ali in 1973, breaking the Hall of Famer's jaw in the process.
Norton, who suffered a stroke last year, passed away at an Arizona hospital on Wednesday, the newspaper said.
Norton ended his brilliant career with a record of 42 wins, seven losses, one draw and 33 knockouts.
He fought in the 1970s era of magnificent heavyweights -- a group that also included Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks and Jimmy Young.
Norton was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, and was a award-winning athlete in American football and track and field at Jacksonville High School. His prowess on the gridiron earned him a scholarship to Northeast Missouri State University.
Norton spent four years in the United States Marine Corps, beginning in 1963 and that is when he started boxing.
In March 1973, Norton shocked the boxing world by winning a split decision over Ali at the San Diego Sports Arena.
He would go on to fight Ali twice more, losing both times. He lost a split decision to Ali later in 1973 and by a unanimous decision in 1976 at Yankee Stadium.
In 1974, Norton fought and lost to Foreman in Venezuela for the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association heavyweight titles. The fight was stopped in the second round after Foreman knocked him down three times.
Reflecting the strong athletic pedigree, one of Norton's sons, Ken Jr., played in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.