Island News

Smoking Joe Frazier

BY AJAY BHAI AMRIT Joe Frazier was born in January 1944 and was the 12th child born to Rubin and Dolly Frazier in South Carolina. He grew up working on
05 Feb 2012 10:07

BY AJAY BHAI AMRIT

Joe Frazier was born in January 1944 and was the 12th child born to Rubin and Dolly Frazier in South Carolina.
He grew up working on a farm and at a young age, his uncle noticed that Joe had potential to be a boxer with his stocky build and good work ethic.
Frazier was inspired by his uncle taking interest in him and complementing him and the next day made a make shift heavy bag and filled it with rags, bits of corn cobs and anything he could find.
For the next few years, a day wouldn’t go by when Joe wouldn’t practice and work out on the heavy bag.
Seeing little future in South Carolina, at the tender age of fifteen, Joe left his home with little fanfare to seek work in the big city.
He made his way to New York and worked for Coca Cola as a manual labourer.
During this time, Joe was making his mark as an amateur heavyweight boxer and finally after all his hard work in the amateur ranks, he was rewarded by winning the pinnacle of all amateur prizes the Olympic Heavyweight gold medal in Tokyo in 1964.
Joe Frazier turned professional the very next year and his rise was swift to the top of the heavyweight ladder.
He was of a short squat type build around five feet 11 inches tall, very much in the Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano build and like them could generate tremendous power from his hooks and uppercuts. Also his fighting weight was only around 95 kilos as a boxer.
Because of to Muhammad Ali’s forced suspension from boxing by the US government, Joe Frazier picked up the title, but everybody knew that only a fight with Ali would settle who the true champion was.
After Muhammad Ali overturned the US government’s decision and returned to the ring, the Frazier V Ali mega fight was made in March 1971.
The fight was so huge and attracted so much media attention it was simply billed as “The Fight of the Century”.
When the ring introductions were made for all the celebrities who had come to witness this mega event the M.C. just said “I won’t introduce any of the famous people here tonight, as you are all here.”
This fight was the greatest fight in Frazier’s ring history and he managed to overcome the odds and win a close decision to take the title. This basically was the beginning of the end and Frazier went on to be blasted out by George Foreman not once but twice and Muhammad Ali was to inflict two further defeats to Joe including the phenomenal ” Thrilla In Manilla” fight  that finished him as a force in the heavyweight division.
Joe was only beaten by these two fighters during his whole eleven year boxing career and Ali, Foreman and Frazier are all listed in every bodies top ten heavyweight boxers of all time. So really there is no shame in being beaten by these two phenomenal athletes.
I first met Joe in 1988 as a teenager in Atlantic City where we were both at the Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks fight.
I was shocked to see how small he was but after closer inspection could see he was a hard sculpted man with that core strength that separates the men from the boys.
Joe was not one for beating around the bush and was quickly recalling his great fights.
During our hour long conversation, he told me George Foreman was the hardest puncher he had ever faced.
He told me the toughest man he had ever faced was the legendry George Chuvalo who had 93 heavyweight fights and never hit the deck and Ali was probably “The Man” as he put it.
I only met Joe Frazier that one time, but just like all the great champions he left a vivid memory in my mind.
Joe Frazier, Olympic heavyweight champion as an amateur, Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World as a professional, he lost to only 2 opponents during his eleven year boxing career and is named in virtually every bodies top ten list of heavyweight greats.
A true legend God bless his soul. January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011.
Next week, we pay a special tribute to probably the greatest boxing trainer of all time, this man trained legendary fighters like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman & Sugar Ray Leonard to name a few and his name was Angelo Dundee who just died on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at the age of 90.



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