‘Smokin’ Joe Frazer dies after short battle with liver cancer
The announcement was only made on Saturday that ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier had been diagnosed with liver cancer four weeks prior and just three days later the boxer’s life has been claimed by the illness.
Philadelphia-native Frazier, who was just 67, faced an impossible battle against the disease after chances to catch it early were missed by previous doctors.
By the time it was diagnosed, Frazier was in stage four.
Frazier won the Olympic gold medal in 1964 before embarking on an illustrious professional career. He claimed the heavyweight title in 1968.
The legend went on to unify the title in 1970 to become the undisputed champion of the world.
Born in Beaufort, Frazier held the title for three years until he met his ultimate foe in George Foreman.
‘Big George’ would be the only man that Frazier would face and not defeat in his sixteen-year career.
JOE FRAZIER vs. ALI
Ultimately though, Frazier will forever be linked in the same breath as the most famous boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.
They fought three famous battles between 1971 and 1975.
The first and the third meeting are recognized as the most memorable, as in ‘The Fight of the Century” in 1971. Frazier became the first man in history to beat Ali.
‘The Greatest’ would eventually say that after their third meeting, it was “the closest he has come to death.”
The pair were far from friends for many years but eventually acknowledged each other’s achievements and held a deep respect for each other in Joe’s final years.
Joe Frazier will always be up with the greatest fighters of all time for me and was still a gentleman outside of the ring. He gave his adoring fans his devoted time for many years before his untimely passing and traveled the world to meet and greet as many as he could.
His down-to-earth nature was endearing to all, and the sport of boxing mourns the sad loss of a great hero and a real champion today.
Our condolences go to Joe’s family at this time of sorrow. WBN will always remember him as a symbol of great times in boxing.