Joe Frazier – Smokin’ Joe

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Joe Frazier was born in Laurel Bay, South Carolina, on January 12, 1944. “Smoking Joe” Frazier never set out to set the boxing world alight.

He began going to the gym to get himself into shape. However, one thing led to another, and he began competing. He was the youngest of thirteen children. He started his boxing career at age nine, when he rigged up a homemade punching bag of moss and leaves.

Twelve years later, after having married at sixteen, he moved to Philadelphia, where he won the Golden Gloves in 1962, 1963 and 1964. He also won American’s only gold medal in the Boxing at the Tokyo Olympics.

With a group of businessmen from Philadelphia, Cloverlay, Inc, as his sponsors, Frazier launched his professional career on August 16, 1965, with a one-round knockout over Woody Goss. He oiled up ten straight knockouts before meeting Oscar Bonavena on September 21, 1966. Bonavena floored Frazier twice in the second round, but Frazier rallied to win a ten-round decision.

Below is footage of Frazier’s fight against Eddie Machen, in late 1966 the young future heavyweight champion Joe Frazier won by a tenth-round technical knockout. Downed in the first Machen rallied but eventually Frazier’s relentless all action pressure lead to the Ref’s intervention in the last round. Frazier was desperate for the win as he’d just come off a tough battle with Oscar Bonavena.

Joe Frazier Montage
Joe Frazier Montage

After four more victories, three of which were knockouts, Frazier was pitted against Chuvalo on July 19, 1967.

In the fourth round, the tough Canadian was knocked out for the first time in his career.

When Frazier fought Buster Mathis on March 4, 1968, he was determined to clear any hint of tarnish from his Olympic medal. Before Frazier went to Tokyo he had won thirty-eight of forty right, His two losses had been to Mathis in the Olympics trials.

Joe Frazier Smokin'Joe

When Mathis had a broken knuckle, Frazier had the upper hand. “Smokin Joe” flattened Mathis with a left with a left hook in 2:33 of the eleventh round.

Frazier became undisputed world champion on February 16, 1970, when the gong rang for the opening of the fifth round and the W.B.A’s champion, Jimmy Ellis, couldn’t come out. After the first round, in which Ellis held a margin, Frazier dominated the match with a steady and relentless style of strong, heavy pressure.

As the end if the fourth round approached, Frazier bombarded Ellis’s body and head until the Kentuckian sank to that mat for a count of nine, during which the bell rang. Raising himself at the nine.

Ellis managed to get to this corner, when the fifth round gong rang sounded, manager Angelo Dundee motioned to referee Tony Perez that Ellis could not continue.

The first encounter with Ali took place on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden before 20,445 fans plus 1.3 million watching closed-circuit theatre TV. Ali who described his own fighting style as “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was slowed down by Frazier’s constant pounding.

Ali’s strategy was to let Frazier become arm weary while flicking tiring jabs at his opponent, but despite a 6 1/2 inch disadvantage in reach, Frazier managed to get in under Ali’s jab to land countless left hooks to the Ali’s body.

Frazier suffered a swollen jaw and lumps around both eyes, while Ali merely sported a hematoma on the right side of his jaw.

Frazier won unanimously with referee Arthur Mercante giving him eight rounds, six to Ali and Judge Bill Recht awarded eleven to Frazier and four to Ali.

The only knock down occurred in the fifteenth round, when Ali was dropped for the third time in his career but bounced back after the mandatory eight count.

Before facing George Foreman, Frazier fought Terry Daniels in New Orleans on January 15, 1972, then Ron Stander, in Omaha, on May 25, 1972. The odds against his two opponents were 15 to 1 and 20 to 1 respectively. Danis lasted four rounds, Strander, five.

On January 22, 1973, at Kingston, Jamaica, Frazier, a 3-1 favourite, was floored six times by Foreman before referee Arthur Mercante stopped the action at 1:35 of the second round before 36,000 fans. Frazier pressed the attack, but was met by a challenger who moved out a step backward.

A right to the jaw by Foreman achieved the first knockdown midway into the first round. Frazier got up, exchanged a few punches, and was down again from a series of rights to the head.

Also Read:  The Case For Rocky Marciano

Again Frazier rose quickly, but obviously dazed, and he was decked a third time as the bell ended the round. As set down by the rules, counting did not end with the bell, but was continued until Frazier struggled up at the count of three.

Frazier opened round two with a rushing attack and a left hook to the head, but was a short rally. Foreman, who weighed 217 pounds to Frazier’s 214 pounds, sent the champion to the mat for the fourth time with a left-right to the jaw.

Up at the count of two, Frazier was dropped by two left hooks. Again Frazier struggled up but then went down for the last time from a series of punches.

Frazier gamely got to his feet, but referee Arthur Mercante looked at his glazed eyes and reeling figure and signalled that there was a new champion.

After the George Foreman bout, Joe Frazier went on to fight Joe Bugner in London on July 2, 1973 whom he beat in twelve rounds and then on January 28, 1974.

Frazier vs Ali Montage
Frazier vs Ali Montage

Frazier and Ali fought again at Madison Square Garden in front of 20,746, who paid a live gate of $1,053,688 and a theatre-TV audience that paid £25,000,000.

The closed-circuit TV audience reached 10,000,000. The gross revenue for the fight, including foreign film rights, etc, came to $25,000,000.

In their previous fight, Frazier went straight in to his opponent while Ali sidestepped and countered. Frazier scored decisively and often to the body.

Ali hit only to Joe’s head, but more often and with more power than previously.

The most controversial moment of the fight occurred in the second round when referee Tony Perez stopped the fight, thinking he had heard the bell ring.

It was a crucial time.

Frazier ad Ali in a corner, but Ali spun and jabbed out of trouble and hit Frazier solidly on his puffing cheekbone.

After taking a long left hook to the chin, Ali came back to confuse and hurt Frazier with lefts and chopping rights to the head.

It was at this point the referee stepped in; stalling the only opportunity Ali had to finish his man.

The seventh was Frazier’s big round. The first of several good left hooks connected thirty seconds into the round, stunning Ali.

Ali was off his toes, flatfooted, as Frazier again carried the action in the eighth. Although Ali was tired, he rallied to outpunch Frazier for the last nine minutes and was awarded a unanimous decision for the twelve rounds by referee Tony Perez and judges Tony Castellano and Jack Gordon.

1975 was, once again, a year of rematches for Frazier, but this time they involved more overseas travel. He met Jimmy Ellis, the man from whom he had originally taken the WBA title, in Melbourne, Australia, knocking him out in nine rounds.

Muhammad Ali & Joe Frazier
Muhammad Ali & Joe Frazier

That win made him once again the number-one challenger for the world crown, now held by Ali after an eighth-round knockout of George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle”.

Ali and Frazier met for the third and final time in Quezon City (a district within the metropolitan area of Manila), the Philippines, on October 1, 1975: the “Thrilla in Manila”.

Ali took every opportunity to mock Frazier, again calling him The Gorilla, and generally trying to irritate him.

The fight for Ali’s title, which was attended by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, caused another media frenzy and was seen lives around the world.

Also Read:  Who In The World Is Arnold Cream?

Joe Frazier with Muhammad Ali
Joe Frazier with Muhammad Ali

It was far more action-filled than the previous encounter (there was no belt at stake in the second fight), and was a punishing display that ended when Eddie Futch stopped the fight before the 15th and final round with Frazier sitting on his stool.

In 1976, Frazier fought and again lost to George Foreman, this time by fifth-round knockout, and retired.

In 1981, Frazier attempted a comeback that lasted only one fight, drawing in 10 rounds with Floyd “Jumbo” Cummings in Chicago, Illinois. He then retired for good.

Joe Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer in September 2011. Within a few weeks, the cancer metastasized. By November 2011, he was under hospice care. He died on November 7, 2011.

Smokin Joe
Smokin Joe

RIP Smokin’ Joe!  We lift our hats to you!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out of luck this summer as they were entirely restricted from attending any professional or semi-pro live games. Watching on television or live stream wasn’t much better. Most of the MLB season was cancelled including the pre-season, the much anticipated Iowa Field of Dreams game, Puerto Rico series, London Series and All...

IPL: Mumbai Indians Lose Season Opener

Mumbai Indians lost an Indian Premier League (IPL) opener for the 8th successive year following a 5-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings. Having lost the first game of the season in the last 7 years, Mumbai might have thought this was their time, as they were on a 5-game winning run against CSK. However, ex Mumbai Indians player Ambati Rayudu and South African superstars Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi ensured that it didn’t...

When Did Formula One Begin?

If you ask virtually anyone the world over a simple question – “What is Formula One” they will probably get the answer correct.  It’s a car race!  Even though that might be a very simple reply (a better answer would be it’s the highest class of international single-seater auto-racing!) there is another question that will probably stump them.  That question is “When did Formula One begin?”. In order to answer the question properly we need...

Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars

After nearly two months of play in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, one more team, either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Dallas Stars will have their bubble burst as the other emerges as the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals champions. The Stars won two games against the Lightning in the regular season, each in overtime (4-3 on December 19; 3-2 on January 27) The Lightning representing the Eastern Conference made it to the...

The Cleveland Browns Are Looking Up

The Cleveland Browns have a team that had a ton of questions this year. They came into the game against the Bengals unsure of how they were going to get their offense going. While the Bengals aren't at all a good defense, it's still hard to play those divisional games and win. The AFC North is known for brutally cold weather that makes it nearly impossible to stay sharp, yet they were sharp offensively....

The Case For Rocky Marciano

You wouldn't think, not even for a second, that you would have to defend a world champion boxer who retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KO's), but if it's Rocky Marciano we're talking about then yep, he needs to be defended. It's ridiculous, but true. Marciano seems to have as many naysayers as he does fans. "He was too small", "He never fought anybody in their prime", "He'd get killed today"; etc....

Fantasy Basketball: The Best Draft Pick Techniques You Should Know

Image Source Fantasy Basketball gives everyone the anticipation that keeps you up at night just to draft the ultimate fantasy basketball line-up. Your ultimate goal is to dominate any opponent all season. Sadly, not everyone has the skills and experience to win. Remember that if you are considering joining a fantasy basketball league, you need to consider some factors. Successful players and experts choose more than their favorite team or a player's value. Even if you...

2020 NBA Western Conference Finals: A Victor Emerges

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will meet for the second time in the NBA Western Conference Finals. The Lakers managed to breeze through Portland and Houston in the first two rounds, while Denver has proven themselves to be true underdogs, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Utah and the L.A. Clippers. Will the Lakers blow past the Nuggets, or will Denver pull off another unimaginable moment in the playoffs?   Point Guard:...

Why Did the Clippers Fail in the NBA Playoffs?

Lets make one thing clear; the Nuggets won that series because they were a better team than the Clippers. They outplayed the Clippers in the NBA playoffs, plain and simple. Yes the Clippers did underperform, it was due to the Nuggets were elite. They were one of the hottest teams in the bubble and they've gotten it done. Jamal Murray has developed into an elite scorer, the Joker has kept up his elite play, and...

Leinster VS Ulster: Pro 14 Champions Final 2020

The annual Pro 14 tournament was wrapped up as the final whistle blew at The Aviva Stadium in Dublin this past weekend. Leinster reigned in as the Pro 14 Champions 2020 against an enthusiastic Ulster team, winning 27-5, to become the first side ever to win three consecutive Pro 14 titles. The Dublin side held their remarkable reputation as the most successful provincial Irish rugby sides following their victory on Saturday, and have once again...

Social Connect


Trending Now

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x