Smokin' Joe Frazier, one of the greatest fighters in boxing history, died at age 67.
I was serving on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam in 1971 when Frazier fought his epic battle against Muhammad Ali. We listened to the fight over the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Most of the guys were for Ali, especially the black guys. I backed Frazier and I took on all bets. I won a good deal of money that day. It was also good that several die-hard Ali fans had to admit that I was right about Frazier.
I later met Joe Frazier at his gym in Philadelphia. I recall that he was gracious and friendly.
Joe Frazier was a great fighter, but more importantly, he seemed to be a good man.
He inspired a good number of young fighters and he was a hero to a good number of fight fans. He will be missed and he will be remembered.
Don Steinberg wrote a good piece on Frazier's life for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mr. Frazier, known as "Smokin' Joe," was small for a heavyweight, just under 6 feet tall, but compensated with a relentless attack in the ring, bobbing and weaving as if his upper body were on a tightly coiled spring, constantly moving forward, and throwing more punches than most heavyweights.
"A kind of motorized Marciano" is how Time magazine described his style in a 1971 cover story before Mr. Frazier's $5 million fight with Muhammad Ali, the first of their three epic battles and the most lucrative boxing match ever at the time.
Fans could watch Mr. Frazier fight for minutes at a time and not see him take one step back.
You can read the rest of the story at Philly.com via the below link: