Ken Norton Net Worth at Death: Salary, Income, Earnings

Ken Norton, the American professional boxer, had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death in 2013. Born on August 9, 1943, Norton made a significant impact on the boxing world during his career, which spanned from 1967 to 1981.

Norton is widely regarded as one of the top 20 greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. He held the WBC (World Boxing Council) world heavyweight championship in 1978, further cementing his place among the boxing elite. Throughout his career, Norton engaged in several memorable bouts that showcased his talent and resilience.

One of Norton’s most notable rivalries was with the legendary Muhammad Ali. Their trilogy of fights remains etched in boxing history. In their first encounter, Norton emerged victorious, securing a split decision win. Their second bout ended in favor of Ali, again through a split decision. The final match between Norton and Ali was highly controversial, with Norton losing by a unanimous decision. These fights with Ali not only demonstrated Norton’s skill but also added to his reputation as a formidable opponent.

In addition to his battles with Ali, Norton engaged in a thrilling slugfest with Larry Holmes in 1978. The fight was closely contested, ultimately resulting in a narrow split decision loss for Norton. Such fights showcased Norton’s ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the sport’s greatest talents, solidifying his legacy as a respected boxer.

Following his retirement from boxing in 1981, Norton’s contributions to the sport were recognized when he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. This prestigious honor highlights his impact on the world of boxing and acknowledges his skill and dedication throughout his career.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name:Ken Norton
Net Worth:$5 Million
Monthly Salary:$100 Thousand
Annual Income:$2 Million
Source of Wealth:Professional Boxer

Learn more: Richest Boxers in the World

Early Life

Born on August 9, 1943, in Jacksonville, Illinois, Ken Norton displayed his athletic prowess during his time at Jacksonville High School. His talents were particularly evident in football and track and field.

Norton’s remarkable abilities on the football field earned him recognition and accolades. As a senior in 1960, he was selected for the all-state football team on defense, showcasing his skills as a standout player. However, Norton’s talents extended beyond the football field, as he also excelled in track and field.

In a display of his versatility and athleticism, Norton participated in eight events during his high school track and field career. Impressively, he emerged victorious in seven of those events, highlighting his exceptional talent and competitiveness. His dominant performances prompted the introduction of the “Ken Norton Rule” in Illinois high school sports, which imposed a limit of a maximum of four track and field events for individual athletes. Norton’s success and impact on the sport became a catalyst for change, further cementing his influence even before his professional boxing career began.

After graduating from high school, Norton pursued his education and athletic aspirations at Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University. He earned a football scholarship and focused on studying elementary education. Norton’s dedication to both academics and sports reflected his commitment to personal growth and his aspirations beyond the realm of athletics.

In an interview with ESPN Fitness Magazine in 1985, Norton revealed that he had considered alternative career paths had he not pursued boxing. He expressed his interest in becoming a teacher or a policeman, highlighting his inclination towards making a positive impact on society and serving the community.

Amateur Career

After completing his schooling, Norton enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served from 1963 to 1967. During his time in the Corps, he discovered his passion for boxing and began honing his skills in the sport.

Norton’s commitment to boxing quickly became evident as he compiled an outstanding record of 24 wins and only 2 losses during his amateur career. His talent and determination led him to claim three all-Marine heavyweight titles, solidifying his status as the Corps’ finest boxer. Norton’s exceptional abilities earned him recognition beyond the Marine Corps as well.

Notably, Norton secured the North Carolina AAU Golden Gloves, International AAU, and Pan American titles, showcasing his prowess on both the national and international stages. These achievements served as a testament to his skill, determination, and competitive spirit.

Following his success in the National AAU finals in 1967, Norton made the decision to transition from the amateur ranks to the professional arena. His exceptional amateur career had laid a solid foundation for his future endeavors as a professional boxer, demonstrating his potential and setting the stage for what would become a remarkable journey in the world of boxing.

Professional Boxing Career

Ken Norton began his boxing journey by compiling a steady string of wins against both journeyman fighters and fringe contenders. He encountered an unexpected defeat in 1970 against Venezuelan boxer Jose Luis Garcia, but later avenged that loss in a rematch when both fighters were rated contenders.

During his early career, Norton discovered motivation and inspiration in Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” The book had a profound impact on his life, providing him with the mental fortitude needed to face challenges. Norton went on a remarkable 14-fight winning streak, which included a shocking victory over Muhammad Ali in 1973, securing him the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) heavyweight champion title. Norton attributed his triumph over Ali to the powerful words from Hill’s book, emphasizing the significance of belief in one’s abilities.

Ali-Norton Rivalry

The series of fights between Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali became one of the most memorable rivalries in boxing history. Norton’s first encounter with Ali took place on March 31, 1973, in San Diego. Despite being considered an underdog, Norton emerged victorious, winning a 12-round split decision and breaking Ali’s jaw in the second round. This victory marked only the second defeat in Ali’s career.

Almost six months later, on September 10, 1973, Norton faced Ali once again at The Forum in Inglewood, California. In a close split decision, Ali managed to secure the win, highlighting the intensity and competitiveness of their matches.

The third and final bout between Norton and Ali occurred on September 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium in New York City. This fight, widely disputed by observers, showcased the toughness and resilience of both fighters. Although Norton put forth a valiant effort, Ali emerged as the winner in a closely contested match.

Career Peaks and Challenges

Following his encounters with Ali, Norton experienced both highs and lows in his career. In 1974, he faced George Foreman for the world heavyweight championship but suffered a second-round knockout, highlighting his vulnerability against heavy hitters.

However, Norton rebounded impressively, regaining the NABF heavyweight title in 1975 with a knockout victory over Jerry Quarry. He also avenged his earlier defeat to Jose Luis Garcia, solidifying his status as a prominent contender.

Norton’s career reached its peak in a 15-round battle against Larry Holmes for the WBC title in 1978. Although Norton lost the extremely close split decision, his performance against Holmes was widely regarded as one of the toughest fights in his career.

Final Fights and Retirement

In the latter stages of his career, Norton faced formidable opponents such as Earnie Shavers, Scott LeDoux, and Randall “Tex” Cobb. Norton’s fighting spirit remained evident, and he secured notable victories against these opponents, demonstrating his enduring resilience.

However, Norton’s final fight took place on May 11, 1981, against Gerry Cooney. The fight ended abruptly in the first round, with Cooney delivering powerful blows that overwhelmed Norton. Following the loss, Norton decided to retire from boxing and shift his focus towards charitable endeavors.

Ken Norton


Ken Norton’s earnings throughout his boxing career were substantial, particularly from his high-profile fights, most notably against Muhammad Ali. In his first bout against Ali in 1973, Norton earned an impressive $300,000. Adjusted for inflation, this amount is equivalent to approximately $2 million in today’s dollars, showcasing the significant financial impact of that fight.

As Norton’s career progressed, he continued to earn considerable sums from guarantees and Pay-Per-View bonuses, primarily stemming from his two highly anticipated rematches against Ali. These rematches against one of the greatest boxers of all time further elevated Norton’s profile and contributed to his financial success in the sport.

Media Career

Ken Norton also ventured into the world of media and entertainment. In 1975, at the height of his boxing prowess, Norton made his acting debut in the blaxploitation film “Mandingo,” produced by Dino De Laurentiis. The film depicted the story of a pre-Civil War slave who is purchased to engage in fights with other slaves for the entertainment of their masters. 

Following his appearance in “Mandingo,” Norton went on to star in the film’s 1976 sequel, “Drum.” Additionally, he took on bit parts in numerous other productions, further establishing his presence in the acting industry. Norton’s foray into acting allowed him to explore different roles and expand his artistic horizons beyond the boxing ring.

After retiring from boxing, Norton transitioned into a career as an actor and television boxing commentator. He leveraged his expertise and experience in the sport to provide insightful commentary and analysis for boxing events. Norton’s charisma and articulate delivery made him a respected figure in the world of sports broadcasting.

Beyond his work as an actor and commentator, Norton founded the Ken Norton Management Co., a company dedicated to representing athletes in contract negotiations. This endeavor allowed him to utilize his business acumen and knowledge of the sports industry to support fellow athletes in securing favorable deals.

Norton’s media career reached a setback in 1986 when he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that left him with impaired speech. Despite this challenge, he continued to make appearances on television, radio, and public speaking platforms. 

One notable project that Norton participated in was the video “Champions Forever,” where he appeared alongside boxing legends Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Larry Holmes. In the video, the champions reflected on their greatest moments and shared their insights into the world of professional boxing. 

In 2000, Norton added “author” to his list of accomplishments with the publication of his autobiography, “Going the Distance.” The book provided readers with an intimate look into Norton’s life, chronicling his boxing career, his transition into the media industry, and his personal triumphs and challenges along the way.

Personal Life

Ken Norton had an eventful personal life, marked by three marriages and four children. Before his first marriage, he became a father to a son named Keith. In 1966, while still in the Marines, Norton married Jeannette Henderson. Their union lasted until 1968 and resulted in the birth of Ken Norton Jr., who went on to become a successful football player and coach.

In 1977, Norton married Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Halton, and together they had two children, Kenisha and Kene Jon. They remained married for over 24 years before divorcing around 2000. In 2012, Norton married Rose Marie Conant. Norton was recognized as “Father of the Year” twice by the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times in 1977. He cherished the title of “dad” above all else.

Norton’s family continued to make their mark in various fields, with Ken Norton Jr. excelling in football and Keith Norton working as a sports anchor. Sadly, Ken Norton passed away at the age of 70 in 2013 after battling multiple strokes. His contributions to boxing were honored by tributes from fellow boxers such as George Foreman and Larry Holmes. Norton was laid to rest at Jackonsville East Cemetery in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Favourite Ken Norton Quotes

Ali had a break that was an inch and a half long, and you keep getting hit as hard and as much as I hit Ali, the pain would take over and you would pass out.


When I talk to youngsters today, especially those involved in athletics, I tell them to get their education first.


I lost my edge for boxing, I didn’t put as much into it as I did before. I didn’t run as far. I didn’t train as hard. I didn’t eat correctly. I started drinking a little bit every now and then.


Hitting Ali in the body or on the arms was like hitting a piece of cement.

Browse all boxers' net worth or suggest a famous boxer we are missing.

Leave a Comment