Today was a lousy day at work, and it worsens with news on the death of Smoking Joe Frazier, one of my hottest favourite character in boxing. Joe was what I called a blue collar , honest , no frills fighter.
I always have a soft spot for small heavyweights like Joe, Rocky Marciano, David Tua, Floyd Patterson,Mike Tyson etc.( I leave that to further discussion )
Being small and having a short reach is a serious disadvantage, you have to eat some jabs and hits before you can unload your ammunition. I remember Joe at times need to take 3 punches before he can unlease his deadly left hook, Most of his opponents are much bigger and taller than him. Yet his record stands as 32 wins , 27 by KO and only 4 loses, only 2 men has managed to beat him, Ali and George Foreman. My first encounter with Joe was when he was an unknown fighting against Canadian George Chuvalo, who have went 15 rounds with Ali, and has never been stopped.
Joe scored a TKO in the 4th round. That year was July 1967.
Of course the fight of the century on March 1971 against Ali was an eventful and unforgettable occassion for me personally.
The fight was telecast live by TV Malaysia, a first in S'pore and Malaysia. but it was a schooling day at Ponggol VI. what I did was hide in the store room with a few classmates and listen to the radio broadcast, again radio Malaysia where you have great sports commentators like VijayaNathan, Lee Pak Kong, Vincent Fernandez and Reggie Augustine.
Anyway it was so eventful and I cheered the loudest when Joe scored a knockdown on round 15.
That same evening we watched the recorded telecast, oh boy, life was that simple in those days.
I have always supported Ali when he fights someone else, but Joe Frazier was and will always be my man,
Everyone knows the movie Rocky, with Stallone punching a carcass in the abbatoir, well that is friction, Joe Frazier is the real thing, he works in the abbatoir and they actually get the idea from there, yet refusing to give credit where it is due. However the most sickening fact is in the city of
Philadelphia, a statue of that fictitious character, Rocky balboa was erected, definitely Joe deserved better treatment than that.
Well life is always full of ironies and paradox, but this one takes the cake.
Rest in peace, Smoking Joe Frazier, thank you very much for your tremendous contributions to the sport of boxing. You are a true great and as far as I am concerned, an IMMORTAL.
R.I.P. Joe Frazier.