“Smokin Joe” Frazier – (January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011)

“The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration.” ~ Muhhammad Ali, November 7, 2011, when he heard of Frazier’s death.

Legendary American boxer and Hall of Famer Joe “Smokin Joe” Frazier died last night, after a battle with liver cancer.

Joe Frazier receives the Order of the Palmetto, 27 September 2010.

Joe Frazier receives the Order of the Palmetto, 27 September 2010. Photo by TheDigitel Beaufort (http://www.flickr.com/people/51809988@N06)

The winner of an Olympic gold medal at the 1964 games, he fought some the two biggest names in heavyweight boxing of the early era: Mohammed Ali (whom he beat in a 15 round title match), and George Foreman (who finally took away the title from Frazier in January of ’73.)  His most notable fight is most likely his third and final match against Ali.  Dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila”, the fight, which took place in October 1975, was one of the most hyped matches in the boxing world at that time.  The rivalry, fueled by Ali’s taunting and sometimes mean mouth, set up a match that met all expectations and then some.

Lennox Lewis, former heavyweight champion, told BBC Radio 5 live: “Without him, other boxing heroes wouldn’t be great because they tested their talent against him. (Source: The BBC)

The next year, he took on George Foreman again in a grueling match that was stopped in the fifth round.  Joe Frazier retired from active boxing (though he made a failed attempt at a comeback in 1981), concentrating on training boxers in Philadelphia.  He even made a cameo appearance in Rocky.

Joe Frazier was a relatively young 67.

 “Goodnight Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend.”  ~ George Foreman on Twitter

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