Tuesday, November 8, 2011

White hair chronicles - Smokin' Joe Frazier, RIP

"Joe Frazier is the greatest fighter of all time, next to me", said Muhammad Ali. Coming from the greatest himself, that is the ultimate testament to the greatness of Joe Frazier.

Frazier and the heavyweights of his time hooked me to the sport. As a little school boy during the golden days of boxing, I was awed by the the size and power of the great fighters.

Ali was confident, brash, charismatic and glib. On the other hand, Frazier's silence could be mistaken for humility. In many ways, his smaller size compared to the giants endeared him to the the fans. He was the silent underdog.

I remember his fights with George Foreman. He was the little man but the favorite in those fights. Frazier won almost of his fights by KO, yet when he tangled with George it was as if he fought four men. He got clobbered with seemingly slow but definitely sledgehammer-like blows.

But Joe will always be associated with the Ali trilogy. The last fight being the Thrilla in Manila. Unlike in these days when people have to cough up hundreds of pesos to see the fights live on Sundays or else endure tons of commercials; fights in Frazier's time were shown live on free TV. And with no commercials, at all.

My father was going to watch the Thrilla live in Araneta. He had bleacher tickets that still cost a princely sum back then. The fight was held on a school day. I was in a government run school and we were still under martial law. Many students were also anxious about the fight, and to our surprise the usually uptight school authorities allowed us to watch the fight. They even provided a small TV.


It was great back and forth fight, richly deserving to be dubbed the fight of the century. Great result for boxing. But bad result for Joe Frazier. RIP, Smokin' Joe.

3 comments:

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  2. Just watched a documentary about him last night on HBO.

    ReplyDelete
  3. you know that in any sport there is a big legend that changed everything that was known or seen at that time and that is what Mohamed Ali did and my eyes will never ever see anyone like him

    ReplyDelete

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