Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Smokin' Joe Frazier dead at 67

Legendary former heavyweight champion Smokin' Joe Frazier passed away Monday after a short battle with liver cancer. He was 67 years old.

Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. He fought Muhammad Ali in three classic heavyweight fights, winning once in waht was called the Fight of the Century and losing twice.

However, the  most memorable fight for Frazier came in 1975 against Ali in what was called the "Thrilla in Manila." In that October 1 bout, Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, stepped in to stop the fight after the 14th round with Ali clearly ahead on points.

Frazier's next fight, in June of the following year, ended in a fifth-round technical knockout loss to George Foreman. That would be the final fight for Frazier, until he attempted a brief comeback try in December 1981 when he had a 10-round draw against Floyd "Jumbo" Cummings.

A member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame, Frazier finished his professional career with a record of 32-4-1 with 27 knockouts. He also won a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

The first fight against Ali was a classic, at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Frazier won a spectacular 15-round decision for the WBA and WBC championship. Ali then won a 12-round unanimous decision over Frazier in 1974.

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