‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier Passes at 67
I still remember when he beat Muhammad Ali in the Fight of the Century, battled him nearly to the death in the Thrilla in Manila. Then Joe Frazier spent the rest of his life trying to fight his way out of Ali’s shadow. That was one fight Frazier never could win. And now he has lost his battle with liver cancer.
Joe Frazier may not have reached the status of contemporaries like Muhammad Ali but he was once a heavyweight champion, and a great one at that. Ali would say as much after Frazier knocked him down in the 15th round en route to becoming the first man to beat Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971.
But he bore the burden of being Ali’s foil, and he paid the price. Bitter for years about the taunts his former nemesis once threw his way, Frazier only in recent times came to terms with what happened in the past and said he had forgiven Ali for everything he said.
Joe Frazier died Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67.