Smokin Joe Frazier
Claim to Fame: Boxer
DOB: January 12, 1944
Date of Death: November 7, 2011
Diabetes Type: 2
Born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, Joseph William Frazier had a normal childhood. He began his professional boxing career in 1958 at age 14, training with former middleweight boxer Yank Durham and veteran trainer Willie Reddish. During his amateur career, Frazier was one of the best heavyweights in America. He made it to the Tokyo Olympic Games as a replacement boxer and ended up winning the gold medal, launching him into his professional career.
After Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight title in 1967 because of his refusal to fight in Vietnam, the New York State Athletic Commission hosted a match between Frazier and Buster Mathis, and the winner was to be the new heavyweight champion. Frazier knocked out his opponent in 11 rounds.
In 1970, Ali was reinstated, and it wasn’t long before the two faced off. They fought in Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. “The Fight of the Century” ended after 15 rounds when Frazier scored a decision over Ali. Frazier faced Ali again two more times, suffering defeat each time.
Frazier retired in 1976, and came back for a short period in 1981 before retiring for good with an overall record of 32 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, with 27 wins by knockout. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, and in his later years owned and managed a gym in Philadelphia that trains young boxers. Frazier also helped train his sons and daughter who had chosen boxing as a career.
In late September of 2011, Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer which quickly metastasized, forcing Frazier to be admitted into hospice care. The former heaveyweight died on November 7, 2011.
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