Posted November 8, 2011 by DJ Enuff in Sports

Tribute to ‘Smokin’ Joe, passes at 67

@SportsBata ..nuff said

HOF Smokin Joe Frazier AKA Smoke passed away quietly into the night after suffering from severe liver cancer. Born in Beaufort, S.C., on Jan. 12, 1944, Frazier took up boxing early after watching weekly fights on the black-and-white television on his family’s small farm. – espn He grew up one of twelve children on a plantation in South Carolina. He became a fighter in Philly at 16, while working in slaughterhouse. He had short stubby arms, and took more shots than he landed, but had a vicious left hook, and the heart of a champion. He was the only American to win a gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (fighting with a broken left thumb).

In 1968, he became the Heavyweight champion (a year after Ali was stripped of his belt for not going to vietnam), and he defended the belt proudly until 1973. He became a legend in NY holding down MSG (and the belt) for a couple years over; romping formidable Jerry Quarry and unifying the belt in 1970 at the hands of Jimmy Ellis. He was the first boxer to defeat (Muhammad) Ali, in their first fight in March 1971 at MSG labeled, “The Fight of the Century”. He lost the next two gruelling battles to Ali. In the third match in the Phillipines labeled, “Thrilla in Manila”, Ali and Frazier each took a beating, but Frazier had to concede in the 15th round due to his eye almost falling out of its socket. “Closest thing to dying that I know of,” Ali said afterward – espn At that time, Ali labeled Frazier, ‘Uncle Tom’, and compared him to a gorilla, and Frazier kept calling Ali by his real name, Cassius Clay.

Later on in life, Ali and Frazier changed tones, and became good friends. Ali even sent a prayer out two days ago for his lifelong rival and good friend. Ali “The Greatest” would have never been w/o Smokin Joe to fight in the ring. R.I.P. Smokin Joe AKA Smoke, much respect and love.. heart of a champion!

“I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration,” Ali said in a statement. “My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.” – espn