Smokin Joe Frazier passed away today. He was the first American heavyweight to win an olympic gold medal (1964). He'd also won Golden Gloves championships in 1962, 1963 and 1964.
He became Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion in 1970 with a knockout of WBA champion Jimmy Ellis.
His signature punch was a crushing left hook that came out of nowhere like a heat seeking missile. Legend Muhammad Ali would go down after tasting that left hook with his jaw. Frazier would go on to win a unanimous decision. That was the first meeting in 1971. They'd meet two more times in the 70's, and as the saying goes;the rest is history.
Without Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali would've just been another flash in the pan fighter. Frazier and Ali made each other great, that's what great competitors do. Ali might've marketed himself as "The Greatest," but if you ask many from that early 70's era of boxing, Joe Frazier was the Champion most feared for his punching power in the ring.
The Bell Tolls 10 Times for a Worthy Champion
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7