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RIP Joe Frazier
November 8, 2011 5:52 AM   Subscribe

We Love You Joe. Smokin' Joe Frazier has lost his last fight, against liver cancer, at the age of 67. He was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali, in 1971, and held the World Heavyweight Title between 1970 and 1973. He won 32 of his 37 professional fights, his only defeats coming against Ali and Foreman. He was one of the greats.
posted by joannemullen (76 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by jquinby at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by Smart Dalek at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by Trurl at 5:57 AM on November 8, 2011


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Don't get weary, Joe Frazier.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:57 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:03 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by shakespeherian at 6:04 AM on November 8, 2011


Down goes Frazier. RIP, Champ.

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posted by KingEdRa at 6:07 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by lampshade at 6:11 AM on November 8, 2011


End of an era when boxers had style, flair, and that certain "something".

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posted by stormpooper at 6:14 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sad. Frazier was a great champ.

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posted by Saxon Kane at 6:17 AM on November 8, 2011


Safe journey, champ.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:18 AM on November 8, 2011


Damn, I really loathe the "lost their battle to cancer" cliche. It's not used for any other type of death. No lost their battle to a heart attack. No lost their battle to old age. No lost their battle to diabetes. Why do people who get cancer have to be labeled losers at death? It pisses me off!

And it seems just wrong to say Frazier lost his last battle. He of the long list of battles and that devastating left hook. Frazier's actual last fight was a draw, with Jumbo Cummings.

RIP Smokin' Joe.
posted by nickyskye at 6:20 AM on November 8, 2011 [29 favorites]


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posted by drezdn at 6:22 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by jiroczech at 6:27 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by parmanparman at 6:28 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by ignignokt at 6:34 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by bz at 6:37 AM on November 8, 2011


The length of the obits on the radio this morning, both NPR newscast and BBC News Hour are another demonstration of how big boxing used to be and how small it's become.
posted by Jahaza at 6:41 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ali - after the brutal Thrilla in Manila:
Joe Frazier, I'll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I'm gonna tell ya, that's one helluva man, and God bless him.

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posted by adamvasco at 6:52 AM on November 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


. It's hard to remember how big boxing was when I was a kid. Ali, Frazier and Foreman were all huge popular stars in a way that boxers probably never will be again.
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


adamvasco, thank you so much for that quote. It really brings a lot together for me.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2011


If he'd just made it (and, I suppose, been healthy enough) a few more days, I'd have been pointing a camera at him at Fight Night 2011. Ah well. I've done that show for several years, and even the other legends loved and respected him.

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posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 6:58 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


And yet, Don King lives.


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posted by Trochanter at 6:59 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by dismas at 7:01 AM on November 8, 2011


From a time when boxers were boxers. Still remember being up in the early hours sometime in the mid 1970s, when the farmer's wife from across the way, who lived in a cottage without TV or probably running water at the time, sat watching Ali fight after an invitation from my Dad. It's all a load of theatrics and bollocks now.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:01 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by PHINC at 7:06 AM on November 8, 2011


> The length of the obits on the radio this morning, both NPR newscast and BBC News Hour are another demonstration of how big boxing used to be and how small it's become.

This is close to the end of an era. When Ali goes it really will be over with. When Ali fought Frazier the heavyweight boxing champ was like the All Pro NFL Quarterback, and that fight was like the Super Bowl. If you go back just a little further, big time sports in America were:

baseball
boxing
horse racing.

I know the name of the Kentucky Derby and no other horse races and the only two boxers I know are Pacjiao (whose name I cannot confidently spell) and Mayweather. The main reason I know them is apparently none of the egotistical entrepeneurs financing the sport can organize the tens of millions of dollars needed to get them to actually fight one another which causes much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the sports press which I happily consume. I have no idea what was the last actual boxing match I paid attention to.

Rest in peace Mister Frazier.

Where have you gone Joe Dimagio a nation turns its lonely eyes to you? < - different Joe, similar sentiment. (Nostalgia.)
posted by bukvich at 7:13 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Joe Frazier was a good man. I wish he had whooped the loud mouthed Ali in Manila. Thinking back to those days is quite the trip down memory lane. The world was so much different then. So was I.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:15 AM on November 8, 2011


Dave Anderson in the NYTimes on Joe Frazier. It is a good read.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:21 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I smoke on the mic like Smokin' Joe Frazier

Word to Joe Frazier, got to do what pays ya

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posted by box at 7:24 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


They don't make 'em like Joe Frazier any more.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:26 AM on November 8, 2011


('Uncertain Times' is back after a short hiatus!)
posted by growabrain at 7:31 AM on November 8, 2011


May God bless and keep you always, Joe.

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posted by magstheaxe at 7:36 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by hangingbyathread at 7:45 AM on November 8, 2011


You can watch the Thrilla in Manila on YouTube.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:53 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Sphinx at 7:56 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by lord_wolf at 7:57 AM on November 8, 2011


Dennis Alcapone - Joe Frazier
posted by box at 8:06 AM on November 8, 2011


Damn, I really loathe the "lost their battle to cancer" cliche. It's not used for any other type of death. No lost their battle to a heart attack. No lost their battle to old age. No lost their battle to diabetes. Why do people who get cancer have to be labeled losers at death? It pisses me off!

And it seems just wrong to say Frazier lost his last battle. He of the long list of battles and that devastating left hook. Frazier's actual last fight was a draw, with Jumbo Cummings.


Thank you, Nicky. I resent this inevitable framing, too. The only battle you can say Joe Frazier "lost" was the battle every single one of us has with mortality, whether we die of cancer or not.

I like to think that Joe Frazier won his battle to move on to higher things.
posted by scody at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


I saw this in the news this morning and it ruined my day. Joe Frazier is dead. Long live the champ.

Joe Frazier (Bill Bruford)
posted by three blind mice at 8:18 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Renoroc at 8:18 AM on November 8, 2011


I grew up near Frazier and knew a few of his kids, as well as his late daughter-in-law. This was in the '70s, when Frazier was both larger than life and a local fixture in his hometown Philadelphia. But while he could've taken on the role of aloof international celebrity or menacing badass, he always seemed more approachable and connected. You'd see him getting the garbage cans, or clowning around at an appearance somewhere. He kind of embodied the champion that the region longed for in its "major" sports, while keeping it light. He sang with a group called The Knockouts, mugged for the cameras, and was an endearing character. But when he got into the ring, he was Smokin' Joe...all business & almost never taking a step back. Ducking & swinging. Devastating hook. A childhood hero who made heroes seem human. A man's man, yet a sweetheart, and one of the last of the truly great prizefighters.

RIP, Joe!
posted by VicNebulous at 8:31 AM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by Flood at 8:31 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by bjgeiger at 8:33 AM on November 8, 2011


Keep punching, Joe.
posted by item at 8:42 AM on November 8, 2011


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I learned of him as a child from "Webster's dictionary defines excellence as 'the state or condition of being excellent.'"
posted by Earthtopus at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2011


Great documentary about Joe: The Thrilla in Manila on Youtube. A great insight into a great man who was overshadowed by Ali. If his trainer had let him stand up for the 15th round he probably would have won the fight. Or gotten himself killed. What a fight.
posted by auto-correct at 9:04 AM on November 8, 2011


"Joe, they told me you was all washed up".
"They told you wrong, pretty boy."

In this era of boxing, where the heavyweight champ wins boring fights behind a long jab, the best fighters in the world often refuse to fight each other, and when they do it's to a limited audience on PPV, it's really something to look back at the golden age of heavyweights. The best of Frazier's career was before my time, but I used to have the Thrilla in Manila on a worn out old VHS tape. What a fight. Both men left everything they had in that ring.

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posted by IanMorr at 9:07 AM on November 8, 2011



Thanks for being one of the greats, and a childhood hero, here's a ten-count for ya champ:
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posted by OHenryPacey at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]



Damn, I really loathe the "lost their battle to cancer" cliche. It's not used for any other type of death. No lost their battle to a heart attack. No lost their battle to old age. No lost their battle to diabetes. Why do people who get cancer have to be labeled losers at death? It pisses me off!


It also sort of frames people whose cancer is in remission or successfully treated, those who "won," or "beat cancer" as, more virtuous or stronger or something. It's weird
posted by Pax at 9:43 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2011


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And yet, Don King lives.

TANJ.
posted by DigDoug at 9:57 AM on November 8, 2011


Well, the Onion has made me laugh in spite of myself again. They put on this headline on their Facebook page (but not their main site):

SPORTSWIRE: Ali wins Ali-Frazier IV.

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posted by mreleganza at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also sort of frames people whose cancer is in remission or successfully treated, those who "won," or "beat cancer" as, more virtuous or stronger or something.

Or perhaps it gives people a way to frame the incredibly shitty, worst-experience-of-their-lives they are going through. Complain about the metaphor after you suffer through it. I watched my Mom's body barf up a bound of black gelatinous blood after her mind had finally shut off-- if that wasn't a battle, I'd like to know what metaphor you'd be comfortable with everyone using so we don't offend you.

FFS. As always, congrats to Metafilter for giving me something to strive for, because I want a life so happy and easy that one has time to bitch and moan about the metaphors we use to deal with the shittier aspects of life.

posted by yerfatma at 10:22 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by Gelatin at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2011


My father was a fight fan and it rubbed off one me; it was one of the few areas where we ever really bonded. The third Frazier/Ali fight will always be a highlight in my life. It was easily one of the greatest displays of athletic fortitude ever. And I still say that Frazier would have won if Eddie Futch hadn't thrown in the towel.

Younger folks can't possibly understand the pantheon that was Frazier/Foreman/Ali. Add in guys like Norton, Shavers, Lyle and Holmes and you can see what a big deal it was to rule the heavyweight division back in the day.

RIP, Mr. Frazier. Thanks for the memories.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2011


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posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2011


> And I still say that Frazier would have won if Eddie Futch hadn't thrown in the towel.

I think the manager threw in the towel because Frazier was in mortal peril. That is what I have always read anyway.
posted by bukvich at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2011


Or perhaps it gives people a way to frame the incredibly shitty, worst-experience-of-their-lives they are going through. Complain about the metaphor after you suffer through it. I watched my Mom's body barf up a bound of black gelatinous blood after her mind had finally shut off-- if that wasn't a battle, I'd like to know what metaphor you'd be comfortable with everyone using so we don't offend you.

FFS. As always, congrats to Metafilter for giving me something to strive for, because I want a life so happy and easy that one has time to bitch and moan about the metaphors we use to deal with the shittier aspects of life.


I've gone through it twice, thanks, so I know all about what a struggle it is, and I still hate the "winner/loser" metaphor and I know a ton of fellow cancer patients who feel the same way, too. I don't even have to go check one of the cancer discussion boards I hang out with now and then to know that someone started a "WTF, Joe Frazier DIDN'T LOSE" thread out of frustration and anger.

It's not that we feel our lives are so happy and easy that we're entitled to bitch and moan about a metaphor. It's that we feel that having lived through the struggle ourselves, we're entitled not to be called "winners" or "losers" however that struggle happens to end up.

posted by scody at 11:08 AM on November 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


yerfatma, I'm sorry about your mom.

I wasn't "offended" and I didn't say I was. I can't speak for Nickyskye and Scody, but I always just found it odd, even as my dad was "winning his battle" against cancer. On the contrary, I just always felt a little sad that people who die of cancer are framed as "losers," where those who are successfully treated have "won."
posted by Pax at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


(or what Scody said).
posted by Pax at 11:13 AM on November 8, 2011


yerfatma you are out of order here. I suggest you listen to,and find out a little more about nickyskye and scody who are both speaking from personal experience and not as observers.
posted by adamvasco at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2011


It's that we feel that having lived through the struggle ourselves, we're entitled not to be called "winners" or "losers" however that struggle happens to end up.

But it is a waste of time to insist on a metaphor or characterization that works for everyone. People have different experiences and deal with them in different ways; I don't see why it has to be a zero-sum situation, where applying a word to one person's situation implicitly defines everyone else's. Insisting that someone else describe their situation in a manner that suits you cheapens both sides and reduces everyone to pigeons for holes.

yerfatma you are out of order here

Oh do let me go re-read Robert's Rules of Order. I didn't realize I needed to know the whole backstory of everyone you like before I could comment.
posted by yerfatma at 11:57 AM on November 8, 2011


But it is a waste of time to insist on a metaphor or characterization that works for everyone. People have different experiences and deal with them in different ways; I don't see why it has to be a zero-sum situation, where applying a word to one person's situation implicitly defines everyone else's. Insisting that someone else describe their situation in a manner that suits you cheapens both sides and reduces everyone to pigeons for holes.

You can argue for the win/lose metaphor all you want; you may feel it suits your mother's situation (about which I'm genuinely sorry) very well. But plenty of people who have lived through the experience of cancer (and plenty of people who are still living having watched their loved ones die from cancer) find it deeply offensive to be characterized as "winners" or "losers," based on the outcome of our disease, in a way that's rarely applied to people with other diseases. If you think Joe Frazier's a loser, feel free. If my cancer comes back (or if I win the bonus round and get a third form of cancer) and I eventually die from it, you can consider me a loser all you want. We'll just have to disagree on that score.
posted by scody at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize I needed to know the whole backstory of everyone you like before I could comment. As this is primarily a thread about Joe Frazer please go away.
posted by adamvasco at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


>FFS. As always, congrats to Metafilter for giving me something to strive for, because I want a life so happy and easy that one has time to bitch and moan about the metaphors we use to deal with the shittier aspects of life.

*rolls eyes. Takes a breath.

Death and dying are inevitable for every living creature (except, apparently, for the Turriptosis nutricula, that mind boggling, immortal jellyfish). There is no right time to die or a perfect death. That's a storybook fantasy. There are painful deaths, sudden deaths, less painful deaths, deaths in sleep or awake. Life force by its nature strives for life. Death is always an interruption of the flow of life.

I feel entitled to bitch and moan, thank you very much, about what I think is an abuse of the phrase "lost their battle to cancer" because I think it adds insult and indignity to the acts of dying and death, a pathetic judgement of loser on the person who supposedly "lost" and makes cancer The Winner. The cliche is not used for other types of death, only for cancer.

> "words are not just sounds that we make, or inanimate objects to toss around, but words carry emotions, memories and evoke feelings." The use of language is worth thinking about and maybe especially when summing up a person's existence, like at the time of their death, ie in an obituary.

Have you ever seen people die of other things than cancer? Like the agony and gasping of a deadly heart attack or death by a sub-arachnoid brain bleed with the person screaming in head-splitting agony? There are endless horrible ways to die eg death by cirrhosis, where the person pukes bile until they die, death by burning, drowning, MRSA, intestinal parasites. All those people struggle to live too. But none of THOSE people are said to have "lost the battle" to whatever the cause of their death.

As it happens I'm a person dealing with 3 types of cancer, 2 supposedly in remission, one of which is recurring, is that "winning" and "losing" at the same time? And when I kek, I do not want to be said to have "lost the battle".

It could be said - in a simple and more respectfully- that Joe Frazier died after being diagnosed and treated for late stage liver cancer. In this small way I want to defend him too, because, as a boxer, losing a battle would have been especially significant.
posted by nickyskye at 1:03 PM on November 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


[Not that it's necessarily an open-and-shut thing here, but to the extent that folks want to have a conversation about the cancer metaphor thing more than a conversation about Frazier's life and death, there's a Metatalk thread about it.]
posted by cortex at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2011



Lived on a small farm in a small town east of San Francisco. Father was a boxing fan who ended up leaving it in the early 80's as he was upset at what it had become. Back then the fights weren't shown live on TV and if they were closed circuit it was local as there was no cable. Only the big fights were shown on TV about 2-3 weeks after the fact, usually on ABC Wide World of Sports. They began to be shown live in the mid-Seventies though I don't think any Ali-Frazier fights were.

I think the fight was on a Saturday night as I remember reading in the Sunday S.F. Chronicle the result. I was 8 yo and even at that age Frazier's win resonated. Unexpected and huge.

And then there was this
. Enjoy!
posted by goalyeehah at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nickyskye... what a fantastic comment.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:33 PM on November 8, 2011


Thanks flapjax. Enjoyed this BBC Joe Frazier obit, full of poignant details, like:

Frazier, one of 13 children born to South Carolina sharecroppers, began boxing on his father's farm, where an accident involving the family hog left his arm crooked and therefore permanently cocked to deliver what would become his fabled left hook.


In addition, Frazier, who had helped Ali financially during the latter's exile from boxing, was repaid for his kindness with a string of hurtful barbs, including the accusation he was "dumb", "ugly" and, most hurtful of all, an "Uncle Tom".

By that time Frazier, who fought much of his career unable to see out of his left eye, was almost blind.

In 2001, his daughter Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde fought Ali's daughter Laila and lost on a decision.

In recent years, Frazier's health began to fail and he fell on hard times. He was living above his eponymous gym in his adopted home-town before he was forced to sell it in 2009.
posted by nickyskye at 5:52 PM on November 8, 2011


My Dad is big boxing fan and I inherited my fandom of Frazier from him.

RIP, Smokin' Joe.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 PM on November 8, 2011


I was born the year after Ali vs. Frazier I. I grew up with a father who was a die-hard Ali fan and picked up a little of the obsession myself. Ali the legend is built from many things, but the prime reason why he's the greatest is that when he fought he fought giants in the sport. Liston, Frazier, Foreman; heck the US government and Superman went up against him. But I don't think anyone ever got under Ali's skin like Frazier.

Long after their time in the ring, Frazier continued to express rather bitter sentiments about Ali, sentiments which apparently had softened recently. Nevertheless, I believe that regardless of the rancor they recognized that neither would be as great without the other.

RIP Smokin' Joe.
posted by ooga_booga at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2011


Fun Joe Frazier leaves Muhammad Ali speechless in This is Your Life video.
posted by nickyskye at 7:52 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's rather depressing that there's a statue of fictional boxing champion Rocky Balboa in Philly, but none for real-life boxing champion Joe Frazier. I don't live there anymore, but I hope my Philly peeps get on that ASAP.

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posted by tonycpsu at 8:58 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's rather depressing that there's a statue of fictional boxing champion Rocky Balboa in Philly, but none for real-life boxing champion Joe Frazier. I don't live there anymore, but I hope my Philly peeps get on that ASAP.

There's actually a piece on that in Philadelphia Inquirer this morning -- former champ and Easton native Larry Holmes complaining, in rather colorful fashion, about the absurdity of a Rocky statue...and how Philadelphia never gave Joe the recognition or respect he deserved. I couldn't agree more.
posted by VicNebulous at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ken Burns better make his Boxing Documentary, and fast.
posted by judson at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


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