THE FIGHTOF THE CENTURY
How a Battle of Boxers Captivated the World
Ashley Franzen, our art director, is easily one of the most creative people on the Lynnpro team. Thanks to her, the art department runs like a Swiss watch, ensuring our clients get their innovative, eye-catching designs for T-shirts and other products on time. “I am in charge of handling all of the artwork that comes in, passing it out to designers, making sure things are done how they’re supposed to, and getting the proofs sent out. I also do some design work myself,” Ashley says. Though she is one of our newer employees with just six months under her belt, Ashley has fit in here since day one. She brought five years of design experience and a passion for the community to the table when she came to Lynnpro. Before signing on with us, Ashley worked as a freelancer with her own company, Graphic by Nature Studios. She also worked extensively with the Gateway Area Community Center, a local organization that offers outreach to kids (in the form of art classes, fitness classes, music programs, and more) after school and on weekends. MEET ASHLEY FRANZEN! EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: On March 8, 1971, all eyes were on the world of boxing as people watched what would become known as “The Fight of the Century.” It was one of the most anticipated matchups the sport had ever arranged: Current heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali were finally facing off, the first time two undefeated boxers would fight each other for the heavyweight title. Spectators were hungry for a battle. Both fighters held rightful claims to the title of world heavyweight champion. Ali won it in 1964 and successfully defended it for several years, but he was stripped of the title during a legal battle over his induction into the U.S. armed forces. In his absence from the sport, Frazier earned two championship belts through major knockout fights. But when Ali settled his court case and came to reclaim his title, Frazier wasn’t ready to give it up easily. Ringside seats for the fight sold for today’s equivalent of over $1,000. Millions watched the broadcast in over 50 countries around the world, and Madison Square Garden sold out to a crowd of 20,455 spectators. The fighters possessed polar opposite tactics, backgrounds, and social impacts, but when it came to skill, they were evenly matched. The fight captivated the nation. As Sports Illustrated put it at the time, “The thrust of this fight on the public consciousness is incalculable. It has been a ceaseless whir that seems to have grown in decibel with each new soliloquy by Ali, with each dead calm promise by Frazier.”
The fight exceeded all expectations with a fully engrossing 15 rounds. For the first quarter of the match, it seemed Ali would best his opponent, but Frazier came back with fury. Even though Ali continued to rise to his feet round after round, Frazier emerged victorious by the slimmest of margins, dealing Ali his first professional loss ever. The landmark event highlighted an unforgettable night of skillful prowess like the world had never seen. Even though the title fight was only the beginning of the rivalry between the two boxers, the matchup rightfully took its place as one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport.
“When someone wants me to come up with something, it’s nice to have a basis to go off of,” she says. “I think that really good designs come out of the process when the client has an idea of what they want but gives us free rein to do what we want with it.” Of course, Ashley and her team also work with finished designs sent in by clients and can even design a logo or T-shirt from the ground up!
When she isn’t at the office, Ashley likes to spend time with her husband, Andrew, and their two kids, 8-year-old Mary and 3-year-old Elijah.
“They keep us pretty busy running around, but they’re good kids,” Ashley says fondly. “They actually enjoy doing a lot of the same things we do. We go for walks a lot, and they like to draw, get creative, and have fun.”
To check out Ashley’s work for yourself, visit GraphicbyNatureStudios.com.
Here at Lynnpro, Ashley says her favorite part of the job is designing, particularly when she gets to exercise her creativity on a half-finished design.
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