Smokin' Joe Frazier (January 12, 1944 November 7, 2011)
The boxing community lost one of the all-time greats on Monday night when former Heavyweight Champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier succumbed to a bout against liver cancer with his family by his side. Known as the Fighter’s Fighter, the 1964 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist backed down from no one, and his fearless demeanor made him one of the most respected fighters in the history of the sport. Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in 1971’s “Fight of the Century,” marking the first bout in one of the most monumental trilogies boxing ever saw. The series concluded in 1975’s “Thrilla in Manila” when Frazier’s corner forced a stoppage after the 14th round, despite a refusal from the Philadelphia native.
As the shock waves continue to spread throughout the boxing community, below are reactions from just a few people in the game of boxing who were affected by his passing. Rest in peace, Smokin’ Joe.
"The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones." – Muhammad Ali
“Smokin’ Joe Frazier was the embodiment of what a great heavyweight champion and person should be. He was a great gladiator. When Smokin’ Joe came to the ring, you knew you had someone who was coming to fight. I was proud to have known and promoted him, and I was honored to call him a friend.” – Promoter Don King
"Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend." – Former Heavyweight Champion George Foreman via Twitter
"Frazier and Ali were quintessential the apex of pedigree fighting in which each man would not give an inch until they were dead." – Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson via Twitter
"Joe Frazier should be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a real man. He's a guy that stood up for himself. He didn't compromise and always gave 100 percent in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn't give 100 percent." – Top Rank CEO Bob Arum
“He definitely was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing. I'm so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It's very sad for boxing today." – Former Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis
"He had great discipline and a strong will to win. Joe Frazier is an icon, and he will always be remembered that way. My condolences to the entire Frazier family. It's a very sad day in Philadelphia and all over the world." – WBC Light Heavyweight Champion and Philadelphia native Bernard Hopkins
“My Condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. #TheMoneyTeam will pay for his Funeral services.” – WBC Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather via Twitter
"Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador." – WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao