Posts Tagged ‘Joe Frazier


Joe Frazier loses battle with liver cancer

The Associated Press Nov 7, 2011 – 11:30 PM ET | Last Updated: Nov 8, 2011 9:17 AM ET

Will Burgess/Reuters

Will Burgess/Reuters

Smokin’ Joe Frazier was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early.

  •  By Dan Gelston
  • PHILADELPHIA — He beat Muhammad Ali in the Fight of the Century, battled him nearly to the death in the Thrilla in Manila. Then Joe Frazier spent the rest of his life trying to fight his way out of Ali’s shadow.

    That was one fight Frazier never could win. He was once a heavyweight champion, and a great one at that. Ali would say as much after Frazier knocked him down in the 15th round en route to becoming the first man to beat Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971.

    But he bore the burden of being Ali’s foil, and he paid the price. Bitter for years about the taunts his former nemesis once threw his way, Frazier only in recent times came to terms with what happened in the past and said he had forgiven Ali for everything he said.

    AFP/Getty Images

    A picture taken on March 8, 1971 shows US heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier (background) keeping his title at the end of the fight called the “match of the century” against his compatriot Muhammad Ali at the Madison Square Garden, in New York

    Frazier, who died Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, will forever be linked to Ali. But no one in boxing would ever dream of anointing Ali as The Greatest unless he, too, was linked to Smokin’ Joe.

    “You can’t mention Ali without mentioning Joe Frazier,” said former AP boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. “He beat Ali, don’t forget that.”

    They fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and once in the morning in a steamy arena in the Philippines. They went 41 rounds together, with neither giving an inch and both giving it their all.

    In their last fight in Manila in 1975, they traded punches with a fervor that seemed unimaginable among heavyweights. Frazier gave almost as good as he got for 14 rounds, then had to be held back by trainer Eddie Futch as he tried to go out for the final round, unable to see.

    “Closest thing to dying that I know of,” Ali said afterward.

    Ali was as merciless with Frazier out of the ring as he was inside it. He called him a gorilla, and mocked him as an Uncle Tom. But he respected him as a fighter, especially after Frazier won a decision to defend his heavyweight title against the then-unbeaten Ali in a fight that was so big Frank Sinatra was shooting pictures at ringside and both fighters earned an astonishing US$2.5-million.

    The night at the Garden 40 years ago remained fresh in Frazier’s mind as he talked about his life, career and relationship with Ali a few months before he died.

    “I can’t go nowhere where it’s not mentioned,” he told The Associated Press. “That was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life.”

    Bob Arum, who once promoted Ali, said he was saddened by Frazier’s passing.

    “He was such an inspirational guy. A decent guy. A man of his word,” Arum said. “I’m torn up by Joe dying at this relatively young age. I can’t say enough about Joe.”

    Frazier’s death was announced in a statement by his family, who asked to be able to grieve privately and said they would announce “our father’s homecoming celebration” as soon as possible.

    Manny Pacquiao learned of it shortly after he arrived in Las Vegas for his fight Saturday night with Juan Manuel Marquez. Like Frazier in his prime, Pacquiao has a powerful left hook that he has used in his remarkable run to stardom.

    REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Files

    Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier (R) talk moments before the 2002 NBA All-Star game at the Philadelphia Convention Center in this February 10, 2002

    “Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador,” Pacquiao said.

    Don King, who promoted the Thrilla in Manila, was described by a spokesman as too upset to talk about Frazier’s death.

    Though slowed in his later years and his speech slurred by the toll of punches taken in the ring, Frazier was still active on the autograph circuit in the months before he died. In September he went to Las Vegas, where he signed autographs in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel-casino shortly before Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight against Victor Ortiz.

    An old friend, Gene Kilroy, visited with him and watched Frazier work the crowd.

    “He was so nice to everybody,” Kilroy said. “He would say to each of them, ‘Joe Frazier, sharp as a razor, what’s your name?’ ”

    Frazier was small for a heavyweight, weighing just 205 pounds when he won the title by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their 1970 fight at Madison Square Garden. But he fought every minute of every round going forward behind a vicious left hook, and there were few fighters who could withstand his constant pressure.

    His reign as heavyweight champion lasted only four fights — including the win over Ali — before he ran into an even more fearsome slugger than himself. George Foreman responded to Frazier’s constant attack by dropping him three times in the first round and three more in the second before their 1973 fight in Jamaica was waved to a close and the world had a new heavyweight champion.

    Two fights later, he met Ali in a rematch of their first fight, only this time the outcome was different. Ali won a 12-round decision, and later that year stopped George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.

    There had to be a third fight, though, and what a fight it was. With Ali’s heavyweight title at stake, the two met in Manila in a fight that will long be seared in boxing history.

    Frazier went after Ali round after round, landing his left hook with regularity as he made Ali backpedal around the ring. But Ali responded with left jabs and right hands that found their mark again and again. Even the intense heat inside the arena couldn’t stop the two as they fought every minute of every round with neither willing to concede the other one second of the round.

    “They told me Joe Frazier was through,” Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.

    “They lied,” Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.

    Finally, though, Frazier simply couldn’t see and Futch would not let him go out for the 15th round. Ali won the fight while on his stool, exhausted and contemplating himself whether to go on.

    It was one of the greatest fights ever, but it took a toll. Frazier would fight only two more times, getting knocked out in a rematch with Foreman eight months later before coming back in 1981 for an ill advised fight with Jumbo Cummings.

    “They should have both retired after the Manila fight,” Schuyler said. “They left every bit of talent they had in the ring that day.”

    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. He was a top amateur for several years, and became the only American fighter to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo despite fighting in the final bout with an injured left thumb.

    “Joe Frazier should be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a real man,” Arum told the AP in a telephone interview Monday night. “He’s a guy that stood up for himself. He didn’t compromise and always gave 100% in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn’t give 100%.”

    After turning pro in 1965, Frazier quickly became known for his punching power, stopping his first 11 opponents. Within three years he was fighting world-class opposition and, in 1970, beat Ellis to win the heavyweight title that he would hold for more than two years.

    It was his fights with Ali, though, that would define Frazier. Though Ali was gracious in defeat in the first fight, he was as vicious with his words as he was with his punches in promoting all three fights — and he never missed a chance to get a jab in at Frazier.

    Frazier, who in his later years would have financial trouble and end up running a gym in his adopted hometown of Philadelphia, took the jabs personally. He felt Ali made fun of him by calling him names and said things that were not true just to get under his skin. Those feelings were only magnified as Ali went from being an icon in the ring to one of the most beloved people in the world.

    After a trembling Ali it the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta, Frazier was asked by a reporter what he thought about it.

    “They should have thrown him in,” Frazier responded.

    He mellowed, though, in recent years, preferring to remember the good from his fights with Ali rather than the bad. Just before the 40th anniversary of his win over Ali earlier this year — a day Frazier celebrated with parties in New York — he said he no longer felt any bitterness toward Ali.

    “I forgive him,” Frazier said. “He’s in a bad way.”

    For you Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali needs go to



Muhammad Ali the Great pay respect to Joe Frazier

PHILADELPHIA —  With his championship belt and a pair of gloves draped over his casket, Joe Frazier was going one more round.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson asked mourners to rise, put their hands together and for one last time “show your love” for the former heavyweight champion.

Muhammad Ali obliged.

Wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, a frail and trembling Ali rose from his seat and vigorously clapped for “Smokin’ Joe,” the fighter who handed Ali his first loss.

Ali was among the nearly 4,000 people who packed the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church for a two-hour “joyful celebration” of Frazier’s life. He died last week of liver cancer; he was 67. Also attending were former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and promoter Don King.

His body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, Ali was accompanied by members of his family and wife, Lonnie, who rubbed his back while he was seated and held his hands as he entered and left the church.

Jackson delivered a stirring eulogy, describing Frazier as someone who “came from segregation, degradation and disgrace to amazing grace.”

“Tell them Rocky was not a champion. Joe Frazier was,” he said, referring to the hometown character from the boxing movie, “Rocky,” and whose statue stands at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Tell them Rocky is fictitious, Joe was reality. Rocky’s fists are frozen in stone. Joe’s fists are smokin’. Rocky never faced Ali or Holmes or Foreman. Rocky never tasted his own blood. Champions are made in the ring not in the movies. There deserves to be a statue of Joe Frazier in downtown Philadelphia.”

Mike Tyson, a catch in his voice, sent a videotaped message of condolence as did real estate magnate Donald Trump and actor Mickey Rourke.  Fellow Philadelphia fighter, longtime middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, also attended. The Rev. Al Sharpton was forced to cancel Monday morning.

“We made history together,” said King, who promoted Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman, who was knocked out in the eighth round. “We tried to make America better.”

King, wearing an U.S. flag scarf and clutching a mini-flag, walked over to shake Ali’s hand before the funeral; Holmes greeted “The Greatest” when the service ended — with a 10-bell salute, boxing’s traditional 10-count farewell to its own.

Thousands of mourners turned out Friday and Saturday for a public memorial viewing at the Wells Fargo Center.

Frazier beat Ali, knocking him down and taking a decision in the Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the “Thrilla in Manila” bout.

Frazier was embittered for years by Ali’s taunts and name-calling, though he recently said he had forgiven him.

Their epic trilogy was recalled not only by speakers at the service but those who sent letters to be read at the ceremony. Rourke got the biggest laugh when he joked about Ali getting knocked down by Frazier — with Ali’s friends and family laughing the loudest.

Smokin’ Joe was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including the devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. That’s what he used to drop Ali in the 15th round of their epic bout at MSG.

While that fight is celebrated in boxing lore, Ali and Frazier put on an even better show in their third fight, held in a sweltering arena in Manila as part of Ali’s world tour of fights in 1975. Nearly blinded by Ali’s punches, Frazier still wanted to go out for the 15th round, but was held back by trainer Eddie Futch. The bout, Ali would later say, was the closest thing to death he could imagine.

Frazier won the heavyweight title in 1970 by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their fight at Madison Square Garden. Frazier defended it successfully four times before George Foreman knocked him down six times in the first two rounds to take the title from him in 1973.

Frazier would never be heavyweight champion again.


Joe Frazier viewing at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly on Friday (10AM – 5PM) & Saturday (10AM – 1PM).

Joe Frazier

In addition to the Monday service for Frazier, apparently he will also “lie in state” at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly on Friday (10AM – 5PM) & Saturday (10AM – 1PM).

Here’s the article excerpt:
“Legendary heavyweight boxer Smokin’ Joe Frazier died Monday after a bout with liver cancer. He was 67.
On Wednesday Frazier’s family released funeral details.
Smokin’ Joe’s body will be lying in state at the Wells Fargo Center Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“This will be an opportunity for his many fans, supporters and boxing lovers from around the world to pay their final respects to Joe Frazier,” his family said in a release.”
Thanks, Henry Hascup
For your Joe Frazier Memorabilia needs please visit our website:

Francisco Rodriguez the boxer no longer with us.

R.I.P. – Francisco Rodriguez


FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ PASSES AWAY FROM HEAD INJURY FOLLOWING CLASSIC BOUT IN PHILLY is saddened to report that 122 lb fighter, Francisco Rodriguez passed away on Sunday evening from injuries that he suffered on Friday night in his thrilling USBA title bout with Teon Kennedy.

Rodriguez of Chicago and Kennedy fought one of the most memorable fights in recent memory in Philadelphia with Kennedy winning via tenth round stoppage.

Rodriguez sat on his stool for approximately five minutes before being unresponsive and then slumping over before being placed on a stretcher and having oxygen applied immediately.

He was then rushed to Hahnemann Hospital in Center City Philadelphia where emergency surgery was performed to relieve pressure on the brain.

He was placed in Intensive Care and never regained consciousness until his passing on Sunday.

Rodriguez, 25 years old, had a record of 14-3 with eight knockouts was born in Guadalajara, Mexico is survived by a wife and five month old daughter sends condolences out to the Rodriguez family

Profile by Julia Borcherts

Francisco Rodriguez, the amateur standout with a 76-6 record who has been consistently ranked in USA Boxing’s Top Ten since his first Golden Gloves appearance at age 15, will make his professional debut in front of a hometown audience at the Aragon Rumble in Chicago on January 14.

The event, which is co-sponsored by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. will feature the first American appearance by super-bantamweight Ricardo “Piolo” Castillo, 12-2 (6 KO’s) of Mexicali, Mexico in a 10-rounder against WBO Latino Champion Edle Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13 KO’s) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo. The Co-Main event features Chicago middleweights “Macho” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9 KO’s) against “Marvelous” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2 KO’s), of One In A Million, Inc. In addition to Rodriguez, the undercard will also feature Chicago favorites Frankie Tafoya, Ottu Hollifield, Rita Figueroa and Carlos Molina. The main and co-main events will be broadcast on Telefutura.

Rodriguez, a 20-year-old bantamweight, earned a spot at the 2004 National Olympic Trials by winning the Eastern Trials earlier in the year. After he was eliminated in the quarterfinals at the National Trials, he debated about whether to continue boxing as an amateur and compete for a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team or to begin boxing professionally. He also considered giving up boxing entirely.

“It was kind of a long struggle,” Rodriguez says of the decision to continue his boxing career. “It took me about nine months to decide that I was going to turn pro. After the trials, I came home and I was kind of depressed at the decision I got at the last fight. But then I started working out a little bit more and I told my Dad, ‘you know what, I’m going to do a pro fight and see how it goes.’ He’s really been supportive and he knows it’s a big step so he gave me all the pointers he had as a professional. So that’s a really big help.”

Through longtime family friend and attorney Jim Foley, the Rodriguez family contacted Chicago promoter Dominic Pesoli at 8 Count Productions, who was pleased to arrange Francisco’s professional debut.

“Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials,” Pesoli notes, “and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“He has great skills,” Foley agrees. “And with the power I’ve seen, he’s going to make the shift from amateur to pro very easily; especially under the training of his father.”

Rodriguez’s father, Evaristo, a prizefighter from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico who also fought in Chicago, began bringing Francisco, the youngest of his three sons, to the gym while he was still a baby.

“I first remember coming to the gym when I was about five years old,” Francisco says. “But (Chicago Park District Boxing Director) George Hernandez told me, ‘I remember when you couldn’t even walk and you were in the gym, trying to hit the bag in your Dad’s arms.’ I couldn’t even walk yet and so my Dad had to carry me, and I was already trying to hit the bag.”

Evaristo began training his two older sons, Alejandro and Evaristo, Jr (Tito)., who both competed in the Golden Gloves. Alejandro had good skills but was prone to nosebleeds. Tito, who won the National Golden Gloves Championship at age 17 and then retired from boxing, is widely considered to be one of the best boxers to ever have fought out of Chicago. But Evaristo, Sr. did not have high boxing hopes for Francisco.

“His potential as a kid was not good,” Evaristo Sr. says with a grin. “He wouldn’t really like to train. He always wanted to stay home and play. But as he got older, he started getting into the gym a little more.”

Francisco agrees that he wasn’t all that interested in disciplined routine as a child, and that his father didn’t take him seriously when his interest in boxing returned at age 12 after his brother Evaristo won the National Golden Gloves Championship.

“My Dad didn’t really want to put that much attention into me anymore because of all the years I’d slacked off at the gym and just played with the stuff,” he remembers. “But then he started noticing that I really wanted to do it and that I was putting more effort into it. And then at the age of 13, I fought at the Maywood Tournament of Champions. I fought two years in a row and I won both years at 106#.”

Evaristo began Francisco’s training in earnest, working out of Chicago’s Eckhart Park Boxing Club on Chicago’s near-northwest side. Francisco quickly developed into a well-respected up-and-coming young fighter in the local amateur ranks. At age 15, he jumped straight into the top-level Open Division in his first appearance at the Golden Gloves, which was also his first fight at 112#. He won the City title, which earned him a spot on the Chicago team along with Eckhart Park teammates Juan Antonio Gonzalez and brothers Jimmy and Jorge Gonzalez, as well as Tafoya and Hollifield. Rodriguez, the youngest member of that team, fought his way to several winning decisions over older and more experienced competitors and earned a 3rd place finish.

He returned to the Golden Gloves in 2001, at age 16, and won the National Championship in Las Vegas. He took his First Place trophy back to Chicago and finished his junior year at Kelyvn Park High School, where he graduated in 2002. All in all, he has won five Golden Gloves Championships and is the most recent Chicago boxer to have won a National title. He is also the first Chicagoan to have won at the national level since his brother Evaristo in 1997.

“I fought at 112# for five or six years, but now, I can’t do it any more,” says Rodriguez, who was unable to compete in the National Golden Gloves this year because he could not make the weight limit after winning the Chicago title. “I feel much stronger at 120 or 118,” he continues.

And he’s putting that strength to good use, training with his father at JABB Gym and also at Seward Park, where his brother Evaristo, Jr. is the boxing coach.

“His strong points as a professional will be that he works out a lot and he likes to stay in shape,” says Evaristo, Sr. “And he has a unique style—he has a lot of speed, which is common in his weight class, but he’s also beginning to develop good power, which is unusual in a lighter boxer.”

Francisco agrees that conditioning has been an important part of his training, even more so as a professional than as an amateur. With the absence of protective headgear, the punches are harder and it’s crucial to remain alert and invigorated for longer periods of time.

“Right now, I get up at 7 in the morning and go run for 45 minutes to an hour,” Francisco says. “I go home, rest and then go to the gym. I’m in the gym for 2 _ to 3 hours – sparring, hitting the bags, jumping rope, working on my stomach. I get a good workout.”

He also expects to quickly progress to longer fights if his career begins well.

“I would like to do three fights at four rounds and then move up to six-rounders,” Francisco says. “At my weight, there’s not a lot of fighters, so it’s kind of a fast-paced weight class. In 2 or 2 _ years I could be at the top of my career. But we’ll just take one fight at a time and see how things go.”

Our Hearts go out to his family and friends, and May God be with all during this horrible time.

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