Saturday 12 November 2011

Joe Frazier - A true boxing legend

On Wednesday night, I was watching a re-run on ESPN, of the classic first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971.

It was being shown in tribute following the death of Frazier earlier this week.

The name Joe Frazier is just a legendary name within the history of boxing. His status is even greater as his peak coincided during a truly golden age of boxing in the 1960s and early 70s.

If this wasn't the case how do you explain the amount of news coverage his death has received.

Watching the fight, what struck me, is just how far boxing and heavyweight boxing has fallen in terms of sporting significance and popularity.

Not so long ago, to be heavyweight champion of the world meant you were arguably the biggest sports star on the planet, but not anymore. The way boxing is today, it's unlikely it will ever reclaim its former status.

As much as he was a great boxer what really defined Frazier was his rivalries with George Foreman but more significantly Muhammad Ali.

Within all great rivalries you need a clash of styles and personalities and you had that with Ali and Frazier. Ali and the charisma, the charm and the talk.

Frazier had none of this. He was more of your no frills, down to earth, everyman. Dare I say it 'Ordinary Joe'. Having read and heard the comments from boxing experts on Frazier's skill and bravery as a fighter, I've now got an even greater respect for what he achieved, and what he means to boxing history.

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