"I don't want to knock my opponent out. I want to hit him, step away and watch him hurt" - Joe Frazier
Smokin' Joe Frazier passed away this evening after a battle with liver cancer. Born on January 12, 1944, Frazier would win an Olympic gold medal in 1964 and would win the world heavyweight championship during his spectacular professional career. Smokin' Joe is likely best remembered for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali.
It's hard to write one of these articles on a site like this and not speak with any personal feelings. Frazier was always something of a larger than life figure in my head. One of the reasons I got into combat sports was my great grandfather telling me stories of the greats. Specifically he loved to talk about Muhammad Ali, including the stories of the Ali/Frazier battles. It built Frazier into a titan in a young man's mind.
As I grew up and actually saw footage of Frazier boxing, it was clear what a monster he was in the ring. His skills as a boxer often get overlooked, and it's not hard to understand why. Frazier had a left hook that melted his foes when it landed.
Frazier was one of the best the sport of boxing has ever seen and rather than be depressed over his passing, I suggest we all take a few minutes to remember him on top of the world:
Rest in peace, Smokin' Joe.