R.I.P. "Smoking" Joe. One hell of a career, much more than the battles with Ali... Champion, hall of famer... The "Thrilla In Manilla"... What a career...
Joe passed away from liver cancer tonight at the age of 67. Boxing owes Joe just as much as it owes Ali. RIP Joe, I wasn't old enough to see your fights when they happened, but years later they're still on and your impact on the sport is still felt.
Smokin Joe. Those fights with Ali were all time greats.
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This aggression will not stand, man!
Most people didn't see Joe Frazier fight because, in those days, your only options were to attend the event in person or buy a theatre ticket for a "closed circuit" telecast (an early forerunner of pay-per-view where you had to go to a theatre or an indoor arena and watch the fight on giant projection screens).
Perhaps a few weeks later, you could see highlights on ABC Wide World of Sports on a Saturday afternoon if there wasn't something more interesting to watch than a sporting event where you already knew the outcome.
So, it's only in retrospect and after the fact that most realize Frazier's gritty and punishment-absorbing boxing style and the courage it took to stand in and take the withering blows of the likes of Ali and Foreman and dish out punishment in return.
The back story that many don't realize is how Frazier had many fans and foes based on where you stood about the Vietnam War, the role of Black America and the issue of Islam in a changing America. Frazier was the unwitting representative of the status quo. Ali represented opinions which, at the time, were very unpopular and controversial - particularly to whites.
Frazier never asked to be a symbol of anything. He was just a boxer. But Ali was so polarizing that Frazier's victory in 1971 was seen as far more than a boxing match to many Americans.
I miss the old Mile High Stadium.
He also marched against Vietnam and was a 60's era leftist. He just hated show-offs!
“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." C.S. Lewis
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