Norton Vs Young-Nov 5th, 1977 Vegas
This fight would be for the right to face the heavyweight champion of the world Muhammad Ali in their next fight.  The stakes were high as the top two contenders squared off.  Ken Norton already thought he should have been champion as he lost a very controversial decision to Ali one year before.  He came into this fight with a record of 39-4 with 32 knockouts.  He had just beaten top ten contenders Duane Bobick and Lorenzo Zanon by knockout.  Jimmy Young was 22-5-2 with 7 knockouts.  Many also believed he too had beaten Ali the previous year and should be champion. Young had shocked the world himself in beating George Foreman two fights ago. He had also beaten Ron Lyle twice in the last two years and just decisioned Jody Ballard over ten rounds.  This fight should be very interesting, let's see what happened.

Here's the fight as I saw it.-Green are the round scores as I scored it, red is important text like a cut, great punch or knockdown.

Round 1- Young comes out shuffling back as is his normal style.  Young lands a little right hand, but not much is happening early.  Norton missing badly as he tries to land a big shot.  A round of feeling out, pure and simple.  Even Round- 10-10

Round 2- Norton trying to get free as he's being tied up on the inside.  Norton lands a nice uppercut and jab combo.  Young pops out a weak jab, but then lands a nice counter left hook.  Young doing more this round as he lands well with a counter right.  Young's Round- 10-9  (20-19) Young

Round 3- Norton trying to press the action.  Young lands a nice left and right, Norton looks a little shaken.  He still is moving forward but Ken is wild still.  Norton is having most of his punches blocked as Young counters beautifully.  Young's Round- 10-9  (30-28) Young

Round 4- Norton has a small mouse under his left eye.  Norton lands a couple nice rights and Young counters with a right. Norton is starting to throw effective body shots and Young is feeling those thudding punches.  Young trying to move away and lands a nice right.  Norton's Round- 10-9  (39-38) Young

Round 5- Norton becoming more aggressive and is winging more punches.  Norton misses a lunging shot, but Young is countering.  Good right from Young, but he is taking more shots now, Norton with a great left hook, Young is staggered as the bell rings. Norton's Round- 10-9  (48-48) even

Round 6- Young is dancing more after feeling Norton's power.  Norton lands a good right hand and is moving purposefully.  Young gets in a counter right hand.  Norton is throwing a lot of body shots and they seem to be having an effect on Young.  Norton's Round- 10-9  (58-57) Norton

Round 7- Norton starts to pop his jab. Young counters with a nice right hand.  Norton still digging to the body, Young is trying to fire back.  Norton is using his jab well now and then going to the body.
Norton's Round- 10-9  (68-66) Norton

Round 8- Young more aggressive this round.  Norton corners Young and Jimmy is getting hit with a barrage of Norton body shots.  Norton is hit with a nice Young right hand, but is undeterred.  Norton is in his rhythm.  Norton's Round- 10-9  (78-75) Norton

Round 9- Norton land some nice body shots to start the round.  Young lands a glancing right and he's moving more now. Young moving and boxing effectively.  Very tactical round as Young tries to move more.  Norton with a solid right and combo at the bell.  Even Round- 10-10  (88-85) Norton

Round 10- Norton throws a nice shot to begin the round.  Young with a great combo and Norton looks stunned, two more Young rights and Norton is hurt!  Norton trying to fight back and lands a nice body shot. Great comeback round for Young.  Young's Round- 10-9  (97-95) Norton

Round 11- Norton pops the jab and he's using it well again.  Young dances away as he's hit to the body. Norton continually digging to the body as Young tries to pop the jab. Norton's body shots have slowed Young's legs down.  Norton's Round- 10-9  (107-104) Norton

Round 12- Norton firing body shots.  Young trying to get his jab working.  Young lands a nice right followed by another.  Young is fighting back hard to get back into the fight. Norton more wild as he misses to the body.  Young's Round- 10-9  (116-114) Norton

Round 13- They tie up early. Norton lands two jabs and goes to the body with a shot.  Very slow paced round. Young lands a counter right after Norton misses to the body.  No damage done this round as they both look weary.  Even Round- 10-10  (126-124) Norton

Round 14- Norton storms forward, but is caught with a Young left hook.  Young uses a nice rally to the body.  Norton slowing down his work rate as Young is carrying the round.  Norton delivers a nice body shot and that appears to have stunned Young a bit.  Young using quick combinations followed by a rally of punches, the crowd cheers as Young is doing some nice work.
Young's Round- 10-9  (135-134) Norton

Round 15- Young needs this round.  Norton comes out to get it though and lands some nice shots.  Norton with big body shots as Young is caught against the ropes.  Young fires back, but most shots are blocked.  Norton still going to the body, trying to leave nothing to chance. Good finish for Norton.
Norton's Round- 10-9  (145-143) Norton is my decision

Judges Decision- 147-143 Norton
                         144-142 Young
                         147-143 Norton  Split Decision for Ken Norton

The fight was close, but I don't see how it gets scored for Young unless he gets every close round.  There were 4 or 5 swing rounds and they would all have to go to Young for him to get a 2 point decision.  For Norton to get a 4 point decision the same would almost have to be true the other way.  Norton in my mind was more purposeful in making the fight his way and he carried the action most of the rounds.  It was a close fight, but should not be so controversial.  Ken Norton would go on to be given the WBC Title after Leon Spinks refused to fight him.  He would lose the title in the first defense to Larry Holmes in an all-time great fight.  Ken Norton would retire after losing by knockout to Gerry Cooney in 1981.  Jimmy Young would never be the same after this fight.  He would never be in the same shape again and would lose to Ossie Ocasio and other opponents he would have whipped in his short prime.  Young would continue fighting as a journeymen up until 1987.