Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Boxing great 'Smokin'' Joe Frazier dead at 67

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 8th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

He was called the quintessential Philadelphia boxer by Mayor Michael Nutter. More importantly, he gave a cocky and headstrong Mohammad Ali his first taste of defeat in 1971's "Fight of the Century." Boxing great Smokin' Joe Frazier has died at the age of 67, one month after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For many, Frazier personified the gritty working-class style of his hometown of Philadelphia. "You could hear him coming, snorting and grunting and puffing, like a steam engine climbing a steep grade," Bill Lyon once wrote in a Philadelphia Inquirer column.

"He was swarming and unrelenting, and he prided himself that he never took a backward step, and he reduced the Sweet Science to this brutal bit of elemental math: 'I'll let you hit me five times if you'll let me hit you just once.'"

Frazier's family issued a brief statement concerning his death. "We The Family of ... Smokin' Joe Frazier, regret to inform you of his passing," the statement said. "He transitioned from this life as 'One of God's Men,' on the eve of November 7, 2011 at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

Frazier was perhaps best known for his three legendary fights against Ali that helped seal his legend.

Frazier beat Ali at 1971's "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden. In the 15th round, Frazier landed perhaps the most famous left hook in history, catching Ali on the jaw and dropping the former champ for a four-count. Frazier left the ring as the undisputed champ and handed Ali his first professional loss.

However, Ali won a 12-round decision in a January 1974 rematch, setting the stage for the classic "Thrilla in Manila" just outside the Philippine capital in 1975.

Ali took the early rounds, but Frazier rebounded before losing the last five rounds. By the end of the 14th, Frazier's eyes were nearly swollen shut, and his corner stopped the bout.

His former boxing opponent Muhammad Ali has said in a statement that the "world has lost a great champion.

"I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones," Ali's statement said.

Frazier firs made his name by winning a gold medal for the United States at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said Frazier was "one of the greatest boxers of all time" and "was an Olympic champion and an American icon."

Frazier used his righteous left hook with impunity during his professional career, retiring in 1976 with a 32-4-1 record, staging one last comeback fight in 1981.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)