Joe Frazier Was Far More Than Just a Foil for Muhammad Ali
But like any other day in his life for 40 years, Frazier has also spent some time remembering the subject that made him the most famous, despite all his other achievements: the glorious battles with Muhammad Ali.
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Over the past 40 years, has never been a day when the “Smokin ‘Joe” was not asked or talked reminded Ali and their three matches.
But Frazier, who personified the term “Philadelphia fighter” with his big heart, a style of action and the indomitable spirit that was much more than just another guy in the famous series of matches trucks. He was a great warrior in his own right, a former world heavyweight champion, 1964 Olympic gold medalist and a worthy member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Remember, Frazier, Ali’s legend would not be what it is today. He had called Frazier Frazier needed Ali.
Of course, Frazier, who died Monday at age 67 after a battle with liver cancer, best known for those who fight with Ali.
AP PhotoJoe Muhammad Ali Frazier fell at number 15 in his first fight in 1971, and though Ali has been the canvas, Frazier won the fight and the championship unchallenged.
Their first match, March 8, 1971 in New York City at Madison Square Garden, was one of the greatest battles in history and one of boxing’s biggest sporting events, the 20th century. They were unbeaten in the Champions League when they met, what was simply the “Fight”. Frazier won the tournament title claims, which had been stripped from Ali when he refused induction into the military during the Vietnam War, and was expelled from boxing to 3 ½ years. Why had he not lost his title in the ring, Ali was still considered by many as a legitimate champion.
And while Ali Frazier get the best of their legendary rivalry, it was Frazier who won the first battle – the largest of them
all – Ali down with his trademark left hook 15 and the finals and won a unanimous decision to request the undisputed champion.
The victory marked the culmination of Frazier’s career, he signed with a record of 32-4-1 with 27 KOs.
“If Joe Frazier would have fought King Kong, he would have hit that night,” Gene Kilroy, a friend of the two fighters, who later succeeded Ali Ministry of Industry, told The Associated Press. “Nothing would prevent Joe Frazier.”
Frazier Championship ascent began in 1968 when he won the New York State – which was then recognized and respected by many as a world title – by stopping Buster Mathis in the 11th round. Frazier went to defend against opponents five times as Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena.
Expelled from boxing, Ali still in the early months of 1970, Frazier needed only five rounds to fall Jimmy Ellis (who had won the tournament belt complaint, which was stripped from Ali) to unify the titles. Frazier then defends the light heavyweight champion Bob Foster, Hall of Famer, and struck him out – what else? – The left hook in the second round.
Frazier had left questions about the identity of the best heavyweight in the world named after Muhammad Ali. So when Ali was returned, and later won the first two fights return to the ring in October 1970, it set the stage for an all-time Showdown showdown.
Ali Frazier championship victory validated. Frazier went on to make two defenses before running into Nemesis, George Foreman, who has bounced on canvas six times on the way the multiplier effects of loss elimination in Kingston, Jamaica – which was the famous battle of Call of Howard Cosell ABC “Down goes Frazier Frazier goes down!”
Two fights later, Ali met Frazier in their second meeting, January 28, 1974, returns to Madison Square Garden. It was not a challenge to the world championship, but a belt region, and has not been nearly as memorable as the other two games. Frazier has lost a 12-round decision, and the series was up a.
Remembering Joe Frazier
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Frazier has not yet done, however. He won his next two matches to earn another shot at the championship. This meant a rubber match with Ali, who had taken the title with his famous KO Foreman in “Rumble in the Jungle.”
So on October 1, 1975, Frazier, Ali challenged the title of “Thrilla in Manila”. In perhaps the biggest battle ever heavyweight championship, Frazier and Ali had a tough battle in the sweltering heat of the Araneta Coliseum in suburban Manila, Philippines.
The two men were beaten and bruised when Eddie Futch, Frazier’s legendary coach, humanly stopped the fight after round 14. The site of Frazier, his left eye swollen almost shut, sitting on his stool after the fight with the head by one of the iconic images of boxing – though he did nothing wrong after giving up the last drop in her struggle .
Although Ali had Frazier was beaten once again rise to the series 2-1, Frazier was seriously injured. After the battle, known Ali said: “It ‘was the closest I’ve come to death.”
His legacy is long closed, Frazier fight just twice more, getting knocked down twice in a loss to the fifth round knockout of Foreman in a rematch in October 1975 and then returned for one last fight, a 10 – round draw with Floyd “Jumbo” Cummings in December 1981.
The only men to ever lost Frazier had Ali – who he also beat in the first game – and Foreman.
Frazier held a deep bitterness toward Ali for many years due to teasing him in promoting Ali fights. He had called Frazier an “Uncle Tom” before his first fight and returned to him as a “gorilla” before the third fight.
Frazier, who was born January 12, 1944, in Beaufort, South Carolina, was deeply hurt by the words of Ali, he had publicly supported during his exile. Over the years, they came and went between the belligerents and forgiveness. He could not compete with Ali in the ring, but quieter of, Shier Frazier – as a gentleman outside the ring as he was fierce on the inside – could not match the mouth of Ali.
The last time I saw Frazier, which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. I was at the center of the media at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the night of Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik fight in October 2008. Frazier, a smile a mile wide on his face and his black cowboy hat, was out for a night in the fight and stopped to greet the journalists.
It ‘was just a pleasure to spend some’ time to Frazier.
He talked about the state of the heavyweight division – was bad, he said – and he even sang “Blueberry Hill”, I think.