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Tribute by Geno McGahee

On March 8th, 1971, the world froze. Everyone was tuned in for the Fight of the Century, between the two men that had claim to the heavyweight title. In one corner, you had the man that refused Vietnam and was wrongfully stripped of the title, Muhammad Ali, facing the man that claimed the title, Joe Frazier. Both men were undefeated and both men had legions of fans, and it didn’t take long for the prefight happenings to get ugly and for a lifelong feud to be born.

Frazier dealt with the ridicule from the media and public, considered the “white man’s champion,” with Ali manipulating the people onto his side. He was considered the man coming back for what was rightfully his and despite the fact that Frazier was responsible for his return, he treated Smokin’ Joe quite poorly.

Ali and Frazier had a war to remember, and it would be Smokin’ Joe that would come out on top via 15 round unanimous decision, landing a booming left hook that would put “The Greatest” on his back, bringing the point home that he was the rightful champion. Frazier’s greatest moment was that night, arguably, but that was only the first chapter of the story with Ali, which became and still is one of the most interesting tales this sport has to tell.

Frazier fought in the golden era of heavyweights, facing Ali, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Ellis, and George Foreman on two occasions. His style may have been the blueprint for the creation of Mike Tyson, and his heart in the ring is something that will be spoken of by boxing fans for years to come.

HBO recently made a documentary called “Thrilla in Manila,” a reference to the third encounter between Ali and Frazier, a fight that was so brutal that neither man was the same at its conclusion. The documentary, for the first time, showed the Ali-Frazier feud from the side of Smokin’ Joe. The playfulness of Ali was often mixed with incredible cruelty with no regard for the opponent’s reputation or family. The psychological wounds that Frazier had ran deep, and rightfully so. He lived in relative poverty after conquering the world, but despite his lack of funds, he is still one of the best heavyweight champions ever to lace the gloves.

The bad news came in that Smokin’ Joe passed away from liver cancer. The reaction from the media and the world of boxing was amazing and shows just how much this fighter meant to the world and how much respect we have all grown to have for him.

I will remember Smokin’ Joe for his courage in the ring and a little bit of sadness for the cruelty that not only Ali placed upon him, but the world as well. He deserved more than he received but, in the end, the love from the public and the memories that we all have are enough to keep him alive forever. He will be missed. RIP Frazier.

Note from CEO/Publisher: “Joe Frazier’s legacy, of course is his ring accomplishments, in a time when the heavyweight division and boxing as a sport, were highly respected. However, meeting and talking with Joe, back in 2001, at Fight Night in DC, is a memory I will always cherish. You gave every ounce of your very soul in life. Rest in Peace Champ.” – “Bad” Brad Berkwitt

Joe Frazier
Nickname: “Smokin”
Division: Heavyweight
Profressional Record: 32-4-1, 27 KO’s

Date Opponent Location Result

1981-12-03 Floyd Cummings Chicago, US D MD 10

1976-06-15 George Foreman Uniondale, US L TKO 5
NABF Heavyweight Title

1975-10-01 Muhammad Ali Quezon City, PH L RTD 14
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title
1975-03-02 Jimmy Ellis Melbourne, AU W TKO 9

1974-06-17 Jerry Quarry New York, US W TKO 5
1974-01-28 Muhammad Ali New York, US L UD 12
NABF Heavyweight Title

1973-07-02 Joe Bugner Kensington, UK W PTS 12
1973-01-22 George Foreman Kingston, JM L TKO 2
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title

1972-05-25 Ron Stander Omaha, US W TKO 5
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title
1972-01-15 Terry Daniels New Orleans, US W TKO 4
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title

1971-03-08 Muhammad Ali New York, US W UD 15
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title

1970-11-18 Bob Foster Detroit, US W KO 2
WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title
1970-02-16 Jimmy Ellis New York, US W TKO 5
vacant WBC Heavyweight Title
WBA World Heavyweight Title
NYSAC World Heavyweight Title

1969-06-23 Jerry Quarry New York, US W TKO 7
NYSAC World Heavyweight Title
1969-04-22 Dave Zyglewicz Houston, US W KO 1
NYSAC World Heavyweight Title

1968-12-10 Oscar Natalio Bonavena Philadelphia, US W UD 15
NYSAC World Heavyweight Title
1968-06-24 Manuel Ramos New York, US W TKO 2
NYSAC World Heavyweight Title
1968-03-04 Buster Mathis New York, US W TKO 11
vacant NYSAC World Heavyweight Title

1967-12-18 Marion Connor Boston, US W TKO 3
1967-10-17 Tony Doyle Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1967-07-19 George Chuvalo New York, US W TKO 4
1967-05-04 George Johnson Los Angeles, US W UD 10
1967-04-11 Jefferson Davis Miami Beach, US W TKO 5
1967-02-21 Doug Jones Philadelphia, US W KO 6

1966-11-21 Eddie Machen Los Angeles, US W TKO 10
1966-09-21 Oscar Natalio Bonavena New York, US W MD 10
1966-07-25 Billy Daniels Philadelphia, US W RTD 6
1966-05-26 Memphis Al Jones Los Angeles, US W KO 1
1966-05-19 Chuck Leslie Los Angeles, US W KO 3
1966-04-28 Don Smith Pittsburgh, US W KO 3
1966-04-04 Charley Polite Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1966-03-04 Dick Wipperman New York, US W TKO 5
1966-01-17 Mel Turnbow Philadelphia, US W KO 1

1965-11-11 Abe Davis Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1965-09-28 Ray Staples Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1965-09-20 Mike Bruce Philadelphia, US W TKO 3
1965-08-16 Woody Goss Philadelphia, US W TKO 1

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