Norton was known as The Black Hercules, because of his physical strength and the rare muscular stature for the 70's. He was the world's leading heavyweight, but the title he could win only once, and then without a fight...
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. was born on August 9, 1943, in Jacksonville, Illinois, US. Norton was an outstanding athlete at Jacksonville High School. He was a member of the state championship football team and was selected to the all-state team on defense as a senior in 1960. His track coach entered him in eight events, and Norton placed first in seven of them. As a result, the "Ken Norton Rule," which limits participation of an athlete to a maximum of four track and field events, was instituted in Illinois high school sports. Norton started boxing when he was in the United States Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967, compiling a 24-2 record en route to three All-Marine Heavyweight titles. After that he turned pro.
Norton became the world champion only once. In 1977, beating Jimmy Young, Ken became the WBC contender Nr.1. The WBC then ordered a match between the new champion Leon Spincs and its number one contender, but Spinks chose instead to give the rematch to Muhammad Ali, because of financial interests. The WBC responded on March 18, 1978, by retroactively giving title fight status to Norton's victory over Young the year before and awarded Norton their championship. In his first defense of the WBC title on June 9, 1978, Norton and new Nr.1 contender Larry Holmes met in a classic fight. After 15 brutal rounds, Holmes was awarded the title via an extremely close split decision. But Ken's the biggest fame came even before, in 1973, being little known as a boxer he beats Muhammad Ali. The two met twice again; seven month later in the fight which shocked up all America, after Ali's hand was raised up and it looked as extremely bad decision. And in 1977 in NY, where Ali was the winner again in the very close split decision fight. Norton retired in 1981, with the record of 42(33 KO)-7(4 KO)-1.
Norton died on September 18, 2013, at a care facility in Las Vegas. He was 70 years old and had suffered a series of strokes in later life. The Black Hercules is regarded as the one of most notable heavyweights of the era.