Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RIP Smoking Joe Frazier

Philly's Genuine Rocky

Associated Press Report:
Joe Frazier died at 67 after a brief battle with liver cancer. He and Ali will be linked forever, both heavyweight champions and bitter enemies in the boxing ring who squared off in three epic fights from 1971-75.

Muhammad Ali:
"The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration," Ali said in a short statement. "My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones."

George Foreman:
"Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend," former heavyweight champion George Foreman, who stopped Frazier to win the title, posted to his Twitter account.

Fellow Philadelphian Boxer Bernard Hopkins said it best:
"There's no way in the world you should come to Philadelphia and not recognize who Joe Frazier is. It's the perfect time to build the biggest statue in appreciation for all the heart and love he gave to Philadelphia," Hopkins said. "It's just to say how we regret when it's not there to touch and see. We didn't realize we had a super special person amongst us that we all in a way took for granted. I said this when he was living, I say this now. That's the only thing."

As a young kid, I idolized Muhammad Ali. He was iconic, larger than life and very entertaining - in fact, 30 years after his boxing retirement, Ali's shadow still looms over the boxing community. However, as a middle-aged adult, I had grown to appreciate Joe Frazier and see him as a stand up guy, great champion and a great ambassador for my hometown Philadelphia and the sport of boxing.

From a child born into poverty in South Carolina, to an Olympic champion representing his adopted hometown and to a man with a devastating left hook that helped him retain his Heavyweight championship belt against Ali in the Fight of the Century, Joe Frazier walked like a proud self-made man never backing down and always giving 100%.

Well done, Champ. You gave us many Thrilla's.

Best line:
When Ali taunted Frazier during their first fight in New York's Madison Square Garden by telling Frazier he (Ali) was God and there was no way Frazier could whup him. Frazier retorted, "Well God, you're going to get your Ass beat tonight. Frazier backed it up with an Unanimous decision.

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