Joe Frazier, known in the boxing ring as "Smokin' Joe," died Monday night at the age of 67. Frazier is best known for his left hook, which he made legendary throughout his rise to fame in the 1960s and '70s.
Joe Frazier's most famous fight was his 1971 bout against Muhammad Ali at New York's Madison Square Garden. According to Joe Frazier's official website, Frazier and Ali were both paid an unprecedented $2.5 million dollars for the fight and Frazier put on an amazing performance. "In the 15th round, Frazier landed perhaps the most famous left hook in history, catching Ali on the jaw and dropping the former champ for a four count. At the end of 15 grueling rounds, Frazier got the nod from all three judges and left the ring as the undisputed champ." Frazier became know as the first boxer to defeat Muhammad Ali.
Frazier's one-time opponent, Muhammad Ali was saddened to hear the news of Joe Frazier's death. Ali expressed his grief in a statement, "The world has lost a great champion. My thoughts go out to his family."
Frazier's family also released a statement, "We the family of Smokin' Joe Frazier, regret to inform you of his passing. He transitioned from this life as 'One of God's Men,' on the eve of Nov. 7, 2011 at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
Beyond his status as a prizefighter, Joe Frazier was also an Olympic athlete. Although he initially lost his bid to the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, injured American Buster Mathis was sidelined and Frazier replaced him for the United States. Frazier went on to defeat Russia in the semi-finals and Germany in the finals to take home a gold medal.
Sadly, Joe Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer in late September 2011 and moved to a hospice in early November 2011. While the funeral will likely be a private affair, boxer and celebrity Floyd "Money" Mayweather offered to pay for Frazier's funeral costs. Mayweather tweeted, "My condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. #TheMoneyTeam will pay for his funeral services.
Photo courtesy of Wenn.com
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