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:
“the Philadelphia legend is celebrating his 73rd birthday today – happy birthday, Joe. Also giving back to the community, he is going to be meeting with friends and supporters at City Hall this evening at six o’clock to honour championship youth boxing teams and coaches.”
Wow. How can a mistake like this happen on a big news show? Imagine if news of Muhammad Ali’s birthday – next week, January 17th, when The Greatest would have turned 75 – got reported in such a way that it implied he was still alive! All these years later and “Smokin’” Joe is still not getting the full respect he deserves.
Frazier sadly passed away at the age of just 67, his incredible ring achievements living on forever. So how can a reputable TV station make such a blunder? How could the two announcers (the second one, a male, added how Frazier “really IS a legend, such a force”) not know such a great, great fighter had died years ago?
Joe was born in Beaufort, South Carolina on January 12, 1944, later relocating with his family to Philadelphia. Turning pro in August of 1965, having captured an Olympic gold medal the previous year in Tokyo, the 5’11” tank smashed his way to the very top of the heavyweight division.
Joe’s three fights with Muhammad Ali will simply never be forgotten (at least not by most people they won’t!).
Retiring in 1981 with a 32-4-1(27) record – having been beaten by just two men: Ali and George Foreman – Frazier ruled as king from 1968 to 1973.