November 7, 2011

Boxing Legend Joe Frazier Dies

By - Kris Fletcher

Joe Frazier, the man who handed Muhammad Ali his first career loss, died Monday after a brief battle with liver cancer. He was 67.

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Frazier had been under home hospice care after being diagnosed with the cancer just weeks ago. Prior to then, he had been doing regular autograph appearances, including one in Las Vegas back in September.

Smokin' Joe was a ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his contests early. It was that left hook which dropped Ali in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden to seal a victory in the ''Fight of the Century'' in 1971.

While that bout is celebrated in boxing lore, Ali and Frazier put on an even better show during their third fight, held in a sweltering arena in Manila in 1975. Nearly blinded by the damage inflicted from Ali's punches, Frazier still attempted to go out for the 15th round, but was held back by trainer Eddie Futch.

Ali would later say the experience was the closest thing to death he could possibly imagine.

Frazier won the heavyweight title in 1970 by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the 5th round of their bout at Madison Square Garden. He successfully defended the title four times before an undefeated George Foreman beat him in 1973.

Frazier would never be champion again.

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