Cool Never-Before-Seen Ali-Frazier Photos, 40 Years After The Fight Of The Century

On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought in what was billed as the "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden. LIFE has put together a gallery of photos taken by a 24 year-old staff photographer named John Shearer 40 years ago; the majority of his photos were never published until now. There's a look at Joe Frazier and his R&B group, "The Knockouts," as well as this shot of Ali sparring at a Miami grocery store a few weeks before the fight. It's an amazing glimpse into the earlier years of these two men, who now both must cope with the consequences of their careers. Take a look.

NEVER-SEEN: Ali vs. Frazier, 1971
[LIFE]