“Smoking” Joe Frazier has passed away last night after being diagnosed with liver cancer about a month ago. He was 67 years old and passed away in Philadelphia surrounded by his family.
Joe Frazier was a former heavyweight boxing champ and fought Muhammad Ali three times in the 70’s, defeating him once in 1971 making it Ali’s first defeat ever. Their last battle was dubbed the legendary “Thrilla in Manilla” in 1975.
Frazier’s family issued this brief statement:
“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.”
Muhammad Ali, 69, also 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,” stated Ali.
When news of Frazier’s liver cancer broke last months, Muhammad Ali sent this statement to CBS, “Joe is a fighter and a champion and I am praying he is fighting now.”
Depsite once being competitors, these two men support each other fully. Ali also added that he was keeping Frazier’s family in his “daily prayers” and adds, “Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I’m one of them.”
After last nights news, star boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather offered to pay for Frazier’s funeral.
“My condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier,” said Mayweather in a tweet, “#TheMoneyTeam will pay for his funeral services.”
In all of Frazier’s career he won 32 fights, 27 of those by knockouts. He lost four times (twice to Ali and also to George Forman – yes the guy with the grill) and another fight ended in a draw.
When Frazier started fighting he was considered the real-life Rocky. He was a working class hero. He worked at a slaughterhouse for money in his hardknocks hometown of Philadelphia. (Sylverster Stallone used this as the inspiration for using a side of beef as a heavy bag in the film “Rocky.”)
Frazier turned pro on 1965 and made his was to 11 knockout victories. Three years later and his record was 21-0.
He retired in 1977 but went back for one fight in 1981 that ended in a draw. At 41-years old he returned to the ring to box a much younger opponent.
In the 80’s he opened a gym in North Philadelphia.