On This Day: Frank Sinatra Hired By ‘Life’ Magazine to Photograph Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier Fight

by Joe Rutland

Frank Sinatra is known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and “The Chairman of the Board” by fans around the world. But what about “boxing photographer”?

On this day, March 8, 1971, Sinatra, who liked to tinker around as a photographer, got an assignment he would not pass up. He and his camera found themselves sitting ringside at Madison Square Garden.

The occasion? Muhammad Ali fighting “Smokin'” Joe Frazier, both men with world heavyweight champion titles, in front of a capacity crowd in New York City.

The fight had been promoted a lot as Ali and Frazier (well, mostly Ali) ran their mouths back and forth. Obviously, both men trained hard for the clash and they finally met in the ring.

An Instagram fan account devoted to all things Frank Sinatra, however, remembered that moment in a post.

What a moment for Sinatra and boxing fans all over the world. In addition, it was billed as “The Fight of the Century” and marked the first of three fights between Ali and Frazier.

Frazier beat Ali in a 15-round unanimous decision at the Garden. Most importantly, Frazier retained his World Boxing Council/World Boxing Association titles, while taking “The Ring” magazine/lineal world title from Ali.

One of Sinatra’s photos ends up on the cover of “Life” and the saloon singer receives full credit at the bottom. What a night for Sinatra and boxing fans, too.

Nancy Sinatra Opens Up on Lessons From Frank Sinatra

Can we get back to what Frank Sinatra is best known for in his career…singing? It also involves his daughter, Nancy Sinatra. Music fans remember her songs like “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” and “Something Stupid,” a duet with pop Frank.

Nancy Sinatra is wrapping up a 14-year stint as host of “Nancy For Frank,” a weekly three-hour show on SiriusXM’s “Siriusly Sinatra” channel, in March 2021. Her daughter, Amanda Erlinger, has helped bring a collection of music called “Start Walkin’ 1965–1976,” to life. It includes reissues of 1966’s “Boots” and 1968’s “Nancy & Lee.”

Nancy said her dad told her to own her own masters regarding her songs.

For example, Frank Sinatra “started Reprise, his label, because he was unable to own his masters at Capitol Records,” Nancy Sinatra said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “And he made it possible for all the artists on Reprise to own their own masters after a certain period of time. I heard Taylor Swift’s masters were sold again. That’s a shame. I would say to young people: Don’t despair, hold on to your dreams, and don’t let anybody else own them.”

Nancy Sinatra, meanwhile, adds she learned from her father that being consistent matters.

“He was a genius, he enjoyed it,” Sinatra said. “He made the audience feel at home. The biggest thing I learned was consistency. He was meticulous about how he dressed. His shoes were always spotless. He was so professional.”