Death of Joe Frazier Fighting Legend: Boxing World Tributes
Many are shocked and saddened today to hear about the death of Joe Frazier, boxing legend. A boxer at one of the most prominent times in the sport’s history, he became world-famous, particularly for his three fights against Muhammad Ali. Frazier died last night at the age of 67 after the last fight of his life against liver cancer. Tributes are being paid by the boxing world.
The trilogy of fights with Ali saw Frazier become the first man to beat Ali when he knocked him down in the Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden, New York in 1971. This was the first of the pair’s infamous fights with the second in New York City and the last in Manila in the Philippines. This legendary fight became known as the Thrilla in Manila and saw both boxers slug it out in a fight that went down in boxing history. Frazier’s death was announced in a statement from his family, who asked for privacy and said details of their “father’s homecoming celebration” would come soon.
Muhammad Ali responded to Frazier’s death with a statement saying, “I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones,” according to an Associated Press report on ABC News. Meanwhile boxer Manny Pacquiao arrived in Las Vegas for his Saturday night fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. On learning of Frazier’s death Pacquiao said, “Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador.” A previous promoter for Frazier, Bob Arum said, “He was such an inspirational guy. A decent guy. A man of his word. I’m torn up by Joe dying at this relatively young age. I can’t say enough about Joe.” Don King, who promoted the Thrilla in Manila fight was said to be too upset to talk about Frazier’s death.
Longtime middleweight boxer Bernard Hopkins said, “I saw him at one of my car washes a few weeks ago. He was in a car, just hollering at us, ‘They’re trying to get me!’ That was his hi. I’m glad I got to see him in the last couple of months. At the end of the day, I respect the man. I believe at the end of his life, he was fighting to get that respect.” In 1976 after being beaten by George Foreman, Joe Frazier retired (before attempting a comeback later). Foreman has tweeted, ”Goodnight Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend,” according to Sky Sports. Former heavyweight champion, Britain’s Lennox Lewis also paid tribute saying, “Without him, other boxing heroes wouldn’t be great because they tested their talent against him. He definitely was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing. I’m so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It’s a very sad day for boxing.”
Floyd Mayweather passed on his thoughts via Twitter saying, “RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family. We lost an all time great tonight. My Condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. #TheMoneyTeam will pay for his Funeral services.” Other Twitter tributes came from Oscar De La Hoya with, “I will miss you my friend. R.I.P. Joe frazier,” and also Shane Mosley who tweeted, “Joe Frazier one of the greatest heavy weight champion (sic) ever. RIP.”
One of the Klitschko boxing brothers Vitali, paid tribute to Frazier on behalf of them both saying, “I didn’t have a chance to meet him personally but I listened about him so much and that’s why he will be always in the memory of the new generations. He was a great fighter and for me and my brother I want to say sorry for the whole of boxing because he died and together with him died a big era of great champions.” We’d like to hear your thoughts on the passing of Joe Frazier. If you have any tributes you wish to share about him please leave your comments below.
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