ESPN on ABC: ‘Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special’
March 5, 2021
ESPN ON ABC: ‘MUHAMMAD ALI VS. JOE FRAZIER 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL’
Digitally Remastered Original of ‘Fight of the Century’ From March 8, 1971,
Debuts This Sunday, March 7, on ABC at 2 p.m. EST
Additional Airings on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS
ESPN Deportes to Air Ali vs. Frazier Trilogy
Fans will have a chance to experience one of the most iconic fights in boxing history when ESPN on ABC debuts “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special” this Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. The two-hour program will also air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS between Sunday and Monday, March 8. The entire Ali-Frazier trilogy is also available on demand on ESPN+. ESPN Deportes will re-air the entire Ali/Frazier trilogy in primetime on Sunday, March 7.
On March 8, 1971, Ali and Frazier met for the first time at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York in a transcendent boxing main event that could only be named “Fight of the Century.” Ali sought to reclaim the title he lost nearly four years prior when the state athletic commissions stripped him of his title after refusing induction into the army. Until this fight, no unbeaten fighters had ever fought each other for the heavyweight title.
“The ‘Fight of the Century’ will be presented to our viewers in a brand-new way,” said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor, ESPN. “This was one of the most important and impactful sports events ever and fans now have the chance to experience it as never before.”
Fans will be thrilled to see the results ESPN’s boxing production team achieved in “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special” through the intricate digital remastering of every second of both the original footage of the entire fight and the original ABC Wide World of Sports broadcast. For the fight, this process included some 461 shots in which graininess was removed, color was corrected and enhanced, and images were sharpened.
A team of producers, editors and reporters also worked on accompanying stories to further enhance the fight broadcast and transport fans to 1971:
· Epilogue: What became of Ali-Frazier after their first fight and after their careers were over?
· Scuffle: Behind the scenes of the scuffle between Ali and Frazier at the ABC Studios in 1974.
· 50th Anniversary Tease
· Biggest Crown Essay
· 15 Rounds Essay
ESPN Presents: “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special”
Ali-Frazier I had not been aired on U.S. television in nearly 30 years (it previously aired in August 1991) until it was shown on ESPN last June. Ali and Frazier met again on Jan. 28, 1974 — with no titles at stake — in what was called the “Super Fight II,” also at MSG. On Oct. 1, 1975, Ali and Frazier fought once again for the heavyweight championship in the “Thrilla in Manila” at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines.
Boxing fans can also re-live hundreds of the sport’s most historic fights on demand anytime.