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Former Heavyweight Champion Ken Norton Dies

(AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, has died.

His son says he passed away Wednesday at a local care facility. He was 70.

Norton had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend of his said.

Gene Kilroy, who was Ali’s former business manager, says he’s sure Norton is “in heaven now with all the great fighters,” and Kilroy would like to hear that conversation.

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first fight, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a non-title fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision.

They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.