Champions (not quite) Forever: Ali, Frazier, Norton and the sadness of their final fights

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

It’s proven so, so hard for a number of great fighters to exit the sport on a win. So often we’ve seen legends battle on for too long; taking that ‘fight too many.’ Sadly it happened to at least three of the immortal heavyweights featured in the now 30 year old “Champions Forever” video tribute (still a fantastic watch a full three decades on).

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45 years ago today: “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

A long 45 years ago today, a young and undefeated fighter from Texas named George Foreman met a near 3-1 betting favourite in the form of the likewise unbeaten “Smokin’” Joe Frazier, as the Philadelphia warrior attempted to defend his world title for a fifth time.The two punchers met in Kingston, Jamaica in a bout dubbed “The Sunshine Showdown,” and those fans who witnessed the fight saw a shockingly violent affair, where the 24-year-old challenger with the 37-0 record utterly annihilated the 29-0 world ruler.

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“Smokin’” Joe Frazier’s daughter launches petition for Philly street to be named after him

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

Muhammad Ali has a street named after him, so too does the flamboyant promoter who earned millions from the epic battles Ali and his fiercest rival, “Smokin’” Joe Frazier thrilled the entire world with. And now, in what seems only fitting, only fair, former heavyweight king Frazier could soon have a street named after him.

As per a piece on Yahoo! Sport, Joe’s daughter, Weatta Frazier Collins has started a petition to re-name Glenwood Avenue in downtown Philadelphia as Joe Frazier Boulevard. Already the petition has almost 6,000 signatures – 5,800 in all.

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“Smokin’” Joe as Clubber Lang! It almost happened says Sly Stallone

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier’s loss became Laurence Tureaud’s gain. According to Sylvester Stallone, the legendary former heavyweight king was all set to take the part of Clubber Lang in the third installment of the fantastic “Rocky” series, only for “Smokin’” Joe to suffer a flashback in pre-movie sparring with Sly, hitting him with a shot that opened up a nasty cut, requiring six stitches.

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Joe Frazier still not getting enough respect – TV news channel wishes him happy 73rd birthday?!?

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

Heavyweight legend Joe Frazier would have been 73 years old today, January 12. Yet, sadly, as we all know, “Smoke” passed away in November of 2011 after a battle with cancer. As we all know? Well, the folks at Fox Philly certainly don’t appear to know that Joe has been dead for over five years, not if their morning broadcast from earlier today is anything to go by.

The female host wished Joe a happy birthday, informing viewers how:

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Five years ago today…… boxing lost a true heavyweight great

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

Imagine how highly heavyweight warrior Joe Frazier would be rated today if he had retired after he had, as he himself put it, “closed the butterfly’s lips” in March of 1971. Often in boxing, it’s crucial, legacy-wise, how a fighter leaves the sport. Too often a once indestructible fighting machine becomes a mere mortal due to the passing of years and the number of hard fights endured.

But heavyweight legend Joe Frazier – who sadly passed away five years ago today – was never going to call it a day after scoring the biggest, most impressive win of his entire career. It was of course March of ’71 when Frazier met Muhammad Ali in a Fight of The Century that lived up to ALL the hype and its lofty billing, and Joe, then aged 27 and at his blistering, unstoppable peak at 26-0 as a pro had truly conquered the world. Why – how – could he possibly walk away?”Smokin’” Joe had plenty of fight left in him, even if the titanic battle with Ali had taken its toll.

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Joe Frazier statue to be unveiled at @XFINITYlive on Sept 12

Philadelphia, PA (September 1, 2015) – XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is set to unveil a new 12-foot bronze statue commemorating Joe Frazier, one of the most iconic Philadelphia athletes in history, during a free, open-to-the-public ceremony at XFINITY Live! on Saturday, September 12 at 1 p.m. XFINITY Live! and Joe Hand Promotions were the lead contributors for this memorial.

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Tonight on HBO2 – Ali-Frazier I: One Nation… Divisible

Recognized as sports television’s best storyteller and the leading TV platform for boxing, HBO Sports presents five of its acclaimed boxing documentaries on consecutive Thursday evenings this summer on HBO2. Featuring HBO Sports’ trademark blend of unseen archival footage, home movies, revealing interviews and unique storytelling, the festival launches June 26 with the powerful ALI-FRAZIER I: ONE NATION… DIVISIBLE and concludes with the celebrated 2013 presentation LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD.

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What If A Fight That Never Happened Actually Did Happen? Joe Frazier Vs Ken Norton

Joe Frazier - Joe Frazier

There are some fights that were possible but they never happened. In the case of Joe Frazier verses Ken Norton a little bit of alternative revisionist history is needed to set the stage for the fight to have happened. The following, of course, is fiction and it is my take on how such a fight may have transpired.

It is May 1974 and former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier is in training to fight fellow highly ranked contender Jerry Quarry who had defeated up and coming contenders Earnie Shavers and Ron Lyle the previous year. Frazier, who was fresh off a loss to fellow ex champion Muhammad Ali, knew a win over Quarry would solidify another heavyweight title shot against the man who had brutally taken his title from him, George Foreman. But as luck would have it Quarry, who was prone to cuts, was cut while training and the injury was severe enough to sideline him for the next couple of months. Frazier was told by several promoters and by representatives of the major sanctioning bodies that he had to beat a top ranked contender in order to be considered for another title shot. But the problem was that if Quarry, who fit the bill, was not available, and both Lyle and Shavers who had already been beaten by Quarry had slipped in the rankings, who was available for Frazier to fight?

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