In some very sad news this morning, former heavy champion Joe Frazier, 67, dies after a brief battle with liver cancer; he was diagnosed back in September.
Frazier, best known for his win against boxing champ and long time nemesis, Mohammad Ali, in their 1971 fight in Madison Square Garden, was affectionately called “Smokin’ Joe” by many. Although the two went on to fight two more times where Ali regained his title as heavy championship title, it was there 1975 fight in Manila that remains a staple in both their careers. The two men fought nearly to death for 14 rounds before Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, refused to let him back in the ring. Frazier’s eye was swollen shut and he was unable to see. Ali on the other hand could barely stand. He said afterwards that that fight was the ”closest thing to dying that I know of.”
In a brief statement his family announced his passing only asking they be given privacy as they grieve at this time.
Ali who issued his own statement says, ”I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”
May he rest in peace.