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4 Must-See Highlights Of Joe Frazier, The First Boxer To Defeat Muhammad Ali

4 Must-See Highlights Of Joe Frazier, The First Boxer To Defeat Muhammad Ali

He was named the heavyweight champion 53 years ago today!

Boxer Joe Frazier was born Billy Joe Frazier on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina, reports. The son of sharecroppers, he quit school as a teen and moved to New York with an older brother to find work. Pressed for money, he left behind his short life of petty crime to pursue his previous passion of boxing. As a kid, he often dreamed of being like Joe Louis, starting his burgeoning career punching sides of refrigerated beef while working at a slaughterhouse in Philadelphia. 

Those once imagined dreams soon became a reality and Frazier began boxing in 1961, quickly finding success and winning a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The following year, he went pro, earning an 11-0 record in under a year. But it was Frazier’s defeat of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali that would catapult him to superstardom. 



An activist, Ali had been stripped of his heavyweight title in 1967 after refusing to be drafted to the Army. As a result, Frazier was crowned the heavyweight champion in ‘68. Two years later, in 1970, Ali successfully sued to get his boxing license reinstated, setting the foundation for what would be dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” On March 8, 1971, Frazier and Ali suited up in the ring at New York’s Madison Square Garden to a packed house. Despite Frazier’s lighter weight and shorter stature, he clenched the victory, delivering Ali’s first professional defeat and making history. 



Frazier would eventually lose his title in 1974 to George Foreman, before facing Ali again in 1975 at a match in the Philippines dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila.” The match lasted 14 rounds, Ali coming out victorious and the fight considered one of the greatest fights in boxing history. Frazier would subsequently retire in 1976 at the age of 32, shifting to a career managing his son and daughter. He passed away on November 7, 2011 from liver cancer, cemented in history as one of the greatest to ever do it. 

In honor of Smokin’ Joe, here are 4 must-see highlights from the champ’s historic career:


10 Joe Frazier Greatest Knockouts

Smokin’ Joe Frazier Career Highlights

Left Hook Legend: The Rise of Smokin’ Joe Frazier


Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier, The Trilogy


Rest in peace to the late, great, Joe Frazier!

4 must-see highlights of Joe Frazier, the first boxer to defeat Muhammad Ali. Photo Courtesy of Associated Press