You can’t really think of Joe Frazier without thinking of Muhammad Ali. Those three incredible heavyweight fights, really brawls,they had in the mid-70’s. Frazier used that devastating left hook to send Ali to the mat in Madison Square Garden, to win the title in ’71 and stun the boxing world, not to mention Ali. Boxing made legends then. Joe Frazier was one of those guys.
He was one tough fighter…Philadelphia tough. Not a big man…but a strong man. A solid mass in the boxing ring. He knew his craft well. He was quick and he wasted no time in the ring, smothering his opponents with a variety of punches. Outside the ring, his voice was smooth and low. Whenever I had an opportunity to interview him, I always found him to be polite and to the point. He never led with his ego.
It was common knowledge he always felt his sport short-changed him. With Ali in the spotlight, Joe Frazier commonly got second billing and he was unhappy with that ranking. He had an Olympic gold medal in his treasure chest in addition to that Heavyweight title belt. He was a champion.
It’s reported today, that Frazier was busy making autograph appearances up until a few weeks ago when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Just a few days after that announcement, word came, Joe Frazier was under hospice care.
Late last night, Joe Frazier ran out of fight. He was 67 years old.
All the punches, from so many worthy opponents couldn’t bring Joe Frazier down…then came cancer.
Rest in peace, Smokin’ Joe.