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Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies at 67

Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies at 67

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One of boxing’s greats, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, has died at the age of 67. Frazier, known for having one of the most ferocious punches in the game, died after developing liver cancer.

Frazier will forever be linked with Muhammad Ali – defeating him at Madison Square Garden in 1971 in what was called “the Fight of the Century” – and then giving Ali all he could handle (but coming up short) in the legendary “Thriller in Manila”.

Frazier would take up boxing in his youth, and go on to win a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, before turning pro in 1965. He would become the heavyweight champion of the world in 1970, defeating Jimmy Ellis. He would hold the title until 1973, losing it to George Foreman in Jamaica.

But most will remember Frazier for his bouts with Ali. He would be the first man to defeat Ali, going toe to toe with ‘the Greatest’ for 15 rounds in their first meeting in 1971. A second fight would follow, but it was the final bout, in 1975, that would forever define the two men.

The boxing match would become a legend – the ‘Thriller in Manila’. Many didn’t give Frazier much of a chance, but Smokin’ Joe would battle Ali (now the world champ) like no one before. The bout would come to an end after the 14th round, when Frazier’s trainer called the fight after it was apparent that Frazier could barely see any more. Ali, exhausted and almost ready to drop, won the match sitting in his corner.

Frazier would only fight a few more times after the Manila bout, retiring in 1976. He returned to the ring for a single match in 1981, before hanging up his gloves for good.

He is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

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