January 11, 2017
Boxing legend and Philadelphia’s all-time greatest fighter (Bernard Hopkins is also right up there with him) Joe Frazier would have been 73 years old tomorrow. Unfortunately, “Smokin’ Joe,” the man who had pushed Muhammad Ali to the brink during a trilogy of epic fights in the 1970s, died of liver cancer at the age of 67 back in 2011.
Apparently, FOX 29 didn’t get the memo.
On Good Day Philadelphia this morning, the station wished Frazier a happy birthday and said that he’d be meeting with friends and supporters at City Hall this evening, even though, you know, he hasn't been with us for over five years:
This is a bad gaffe by the television station — On top of everything else, his birthday isn't even until tomorrow — but anytime is a good time to remember what Joe Frazier accomplished. Specifically, let’s focus on his greatest moment in the boxing ring. In March 1971, Frazier earned a unanimous decision against an undefeated Ali in what was dubbed “The Fight of the Century”:
He would go on to lose the two rematches with Ali, including the legendary “Thrilla in Manila,” often cited as the greatest fight in the sport’s history.
In 2015, a long overdue 12-foot bronze statue of Frazier was unveiled in front of Xfinity Live in South Philly. Whenever fans head to a game at the sports complex today, they are able to see Smokin' Joe throwing his famous left hook:
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