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50 Interesting Facts About ‘Smokin’ Joe’ - The Late Joe Frazier

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Joe Frazier was an American professional boxer known for his durability, strength, punching power and relentless attack. He was the undisputed heavyweight champion from U.S.A. Here are 50 facts about the boxer:

Joe Frazier during Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story New York City Premiere at Beekman Theater in New York City, New York, United States.
(Photo : Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic) Joe Frazier during Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story New York City Premiere at Beekman Theater in New York City, New York, United States.
  1. Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe,” was the undisputed heavyweight champion, with a career that lasted from 1965 to 1976.
  2. He got his nickname from his trainer. He would say “Go out there goddammit and make smoke come from those gloves.”
  3. He was born on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.A. He was the 12th child of Dolly Alston-Frazier and Rubin. His full name is Joseph William ‘Joe’ Frazier.
  4. He was close to his father, a farmer working as sharecroppers. He was affectionately called “Billie Boy.”
  5. His parents were peasants and to supplement their income, his mother sold drinks to those who came to their house to watch boxing matches on T.V.
  6. As young boy, Frazier liked red peas, rice, turnip, greens served with cornbread. He had a craving for seafood and fond of stewed crabs.
    American boxing champion Joe Frazier, 4th March 1971.
    (Photo : Chris Smith/Popperfoto/Getty Images) American boxing champion Joe Frazier, 4th March 1971.
  7. He as a stocky build young boy was looked upon by his classmate to take care of big bullies who bothered them.
  8. He’s uncle felt that, he would one day be another Joe Louis. His uncle’s comments impressed him and he took to boxing in his backyard. He would wrap his hands in a necktie or stockings and go about punching a heavy bag.
  9. He as 15 years old was courageous enough to stand up against his white land lord. His boss by name Jim Bellamy threatened him of whipping him with his belt. He asked him to use it for keeping his pant up.
  10. He in order to make a trip to New York worked in the local Coca-Cola plant and later was hired as work crew in building houses for marines.
  11. Frazier in 1959, as 15 years old set out to Philadelphia to make a living on his own. He found work hard to come by and he started stealing cars and sold them to junkyard in Brooklyn.
  12. Frazier’s passion for boxing didn’t subside. Working in a slaughterhouse of Cross Brothers Meat Packers Inc, he would often land punches on beef stored in a refrigerated room. This act inspired Sylvester Stallone for his film ‘Rocky.’
    Joe Frazier trains in a gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    (Photo : The Ring Magazine/Getty Images) Joe Frazier trains in a gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  13. In 1960, he considered boxing as a career option. He met Hammond E. Dugent, director of 23rd Police Athletic League. In 1961 he was trained to be a boxer by Yank Durham. He was rough and undisciplined, but full of unpolished talent.
  14. In 1962, he won the Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship consecutively for three years. Durham, helped him to shortened his punches and added power to his devastating left hook. His left hand developed power by pulling big cross saw with his left hand, working with his father.
  15. He failed to make the 1964 U.S Olympic Boxing Team losing to Buster Mathis in the Olympic team trials. He felt, he was undone by the referee penalizing two points for legitimized body punch in round of three.
  16. Initially He went to 1964 Olympics, Tokyo as a sparring partner for the whole team. He made the team after Mathis was injured.
  17. He, en-route to final knocked out George Oywello of Uganda, Athol McQueen of Australia and VadimYemelyanov of Soviet Union. He won the heavyweight boxing gold defeating Hans Huber of Germany on points in the final. He fought with injured left thumb.
  18. In 1965, he turned professional with the help of local businessman including Larry Merchant, the Television journalist associated with boxing. He started to train full time under Durham as chief trainer and manager.
    Joe Frazier lands a punch on Muhammad Ali during their heavyweigh fight in Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971 in New York City. Frazier defeated Ali in 15 rounds.
    (Photo : B Bennett/Getty Images) Joe Frazier lands a punch on Muhammad Ali during their heavyweigh fight in Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971 in New York City. Frazier defeated Ali in 15 rounds.
  19. He as a professional, won three fights all by knockouts. Later that year he injured his left eye during training.
  20. In 1966, he moved to Los Angeles to train along with Eddie Futch, the most respected trainer in boxing. In Los Angeles, he won his first three fights against, Al Jones, Eddie Machen and George Johnson.
  21. Futch helped him modify his action to overcome his height disadvantage. He adopted bob-and-weave defensive style making him difficult for taller opponents.
  22. Frazier on September, 1967 had a close call against Oscar Bonavena. He was floored twice in the second round before managing to win on decision in 12 rounds. Frazier would have lost if floored for the third time in the same round.
  23. In 1967, he had won all six of his fights. He beat the Canadian George Chuvalo by Technical Knockout. Chuvalo has the reputation of not being floored in his entire career.
  24. He had appeared on the cover of popular boxing magazine, ‘Ring Magazine’ in 1967. He by then had won 14 bouts and was portrayed as the possible contender for World Heavy Champion, Muhammad Ali.
  25. He defeated Buster Mathis by knockout in the 11 round and was declared ‘World Champion’ by the state of New York. The ‘New York State Athletic Commission’ had held the bout after Ali was stripped of his title due to draft evasion charges.
  26. Frazier defended his NYSAC title in 1969 at Texas beating Dave Zyglewich in the first round knockout. Then he stopped Jerry Quarry in the seventh round using the defensive skill of slip, bob and weave. The fight was ‘Fight of the Year’ by Ring Magazine.
  27. On February, 1970, he fought Jimmy Ellis at Madison Square Garden for the title of WBA Heavyweight Champion, relinquished by Muhammad Ali. Frazier knocked down Ellis in the 4th round with frightening display of power.
  28. On March 08, 1971, he fought Ali at Madison Square Garden. The fight was dubbed as the ‘Fight of the Century,’ by the press and pre-fight publicity. Frazier won the fight unanimously by round of 15. He was the first man to beat Ali in the ring.
  29. His trainer Furch devised a strategy. They noticed that Ali was off guard whenever he throws a right hand uppercut. Frazier was asked to throw his left hook precisely at that moment. The Strategy worked and Ali was staggered in the 11 round and was felled by the round of 15.
  30. The win over Ali on March 08 catapulted him in to stardom. He purchased a 368 acre, where he had grown up. He was also the first African-American to address Carolina Legislature.
    American boxing champion Joe Frazier (left), 4th March 1971.
    (Photo : Chris Smith/Popperfoto/Getty Images) American boxing champion Joe Frazier (left), 4th March 1971.
  31. He fought Terry Daniels and Ron Stander in 1972 to defend his World Heavyweight title. He beat both by knockout within rounds of five.
  32. On January 22, 1973, Frazier took on the towering George Forman in Kingston, Jamaica. He was knocked down couple of minutes in to first round and by second round referee stopped the fight. He was undefeated for 29 fights until then.
  33. After August 30, 1973, when Durham died, he hired Futch as full time head trainer cum manager.
  34. On January 28, 1974 a non-title fight was arranged with Ali in New York City. He lost fight the 12 rounds fight on points.
  35. He again established himself by March 1975 by defeating Jerry Quarry in the fifth round before taking on Jimmy Ellis in Melbourne, Australia. He knocked him out in nine rounds.
    American boxers Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) (left) and Joe Frazier (1944 - 2011) face off in the ring at Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines, October 1, 1975. Referee Carlos Padilla is visible in center. The bout, billed as 'the Thrilla in Manila,' was the third time the men had fought and this time, Ali emerged victorious.
    (Photo : Lawrence Schiller/Polaris Communications/Getty Images) American boxers Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) (left) and Joe Frazier (1944 - 2011) face off in the ring at Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines, October 1, 1975. Referee Carlos Padilla is visible in center. The bout, billed as 'the Thrilla in Manila,' was the third time the men had fought and this time, Ali emerged victorious.
  36. He was ready to take on Ali in the ring billed as ‘Thirilla in Manila.’ The bout was planned on October 1, 1975 in Quezon City, Philippines. Both fought with neither willing to concede. They fought every minute every round, before trainer Futch stopped the fight at the 15th round, with Frazier’s left eye closed and swollen right eye with cut.
  37. Ali on being interviewed by Reg Gutteridge, felt Frazier was much tougher and rougher and his third fight with Frazier was his best performance. Ali felt that it was the ‘closest thing to dying that he knew of.’
  38. He met George Foreman for the rematch on June 15, 1976 billed as ‘Battle of Gladiators.’ He was unlike his usual more restrained. He was floored by foreman and the fight was stopped in fifth round.
  39. After the fight with Foreman, he announced his retirement at the age of 32, only to come back shortly in 1981.
  40. He attempted a comeback in a fight with Floyd ‘Jumbo’ Cummings in Chicago, Illinois. It was a draw at the end of ten rounds. The fight drew criticism from the media. Frazier retired once and for all.
  41. He won 73 percent of his fight by knockout. He has a 32 win record against 4 loss and one draw. He was inducted in to International Boxing Hall of Fame.
  42. He created a musical band group called ‘Joe Frazier and the Knockouts,’ recording number of songs. He toured all over Europe and USA
  43. In 1984, he appeared as a special referee for the ‘NWA World Heavyweight Championship’ match between Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. He also appeared in the sports documentary ‘Champion Forever’ along with Ali, Foreman, Norton and Holmes.
  44. He made an appearance in the episode of ‘The Simpsons,’ and also in the famed movie ‘Rocky.’
  45. In March 1996, he released his autobiography ‘Smokin Joe, and also a book on boxing, it’s history, rules and technique, ‘Box like a Pros.’
    Joe Frazier, the former Heavyweight Champion of the World poses for a portrait at his boxing gym on March 18, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    (Photo : Al Bello/Getty Images) Joe Frazier, the former Heavyweight Champion of the World poses for a portrait at his boxing gym on March 18, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  46. Frazier’s animosity towards Ali was evident reacting to Ali’s battle with Parkinson’s syndrome, was divine retribution for his behavior. Ali had called Frazier a white man’s hope, Gorilla, ugly and dumb.
  47. The International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) rates Frazier among the ten greatest heavyweight boxers of all times.
  48. He owned and managed a boxing gym in Philadelphia, which he put up for sale in 2009 after he was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. According to report in media, Frazier has lost a fortune due to his own generosity and naivete.
  49. He was diagnosed with cancer in September 2011. It was in advanced stage and was under hospice care. He breathed his lost on November 07, 2011. He was buried in Ivy Hill cemetery. Funeral was attended by friend and family.
  50. Ali on death of Frazier said that “The World has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration.”

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