Remembering Smokin’ Joe Frazier

Posted November 8th, 2011 at 3:11 pm (UTC-4)
4 comments

Sonny & Smokin' Joe Frazier

Smokin’ Joe Frazier will be remembered as one of the great boxing champions of all time, a stocky fighter who overcame bigger opponents with tremendous heart and a tremendous left hook. Frazier died November 7 at a hospice in Philadelphia after a short fight with liver cancer. He was 67.

I’ll also remember Smokin’ Joe for his visit to our Voice of

VOA's Rod Thomas

America headquarters in 2004, a visit he clearly enjoyed, because a few months later he invited me and my VOA colleagues Rod Thomas and Dwayne Collins to visit him at his boxing gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Marvis & Joe Frazier, 1981 Sports Illustrated cover

I brought along my two sons, Jesse and Alex, for the trip to Philly. I wanted them to get a chance to meet a boxing legend. Joining us at Joe Frazier’s Gym was his 51-year-old son, Marvis, who Smokin’ Joe once trained during his own prizefighting career.

After retiring from boxing, Marvis became a minister, and he told us, “My father was my motivation. The word of God says, ‘The glory of children are their fathers.’ I love my father more than anything in the world. My father has a special place in my heart.”

Smokin’ Joe Frazier also has a special place in the hearts of boxing fans, who remember his three epic fights against Muhammad Ali. Their bout on October 1, 1975, in the Philippines, was nicknamed “The Thrilla In Manila,” and it’s regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight bouts in history.

Muhammad Ali would describe his victory in Manila as his toughest ever fight, saying, “it’s the closest I’ve ever come to death.” Ali’s longtime trainer, Angelo Dundee, told me the two fighters needed each other to cement their legacies. “Boxers blend with each other,” said Dundee. “The perfect blend was Frazier. Whenever you threw those two guys (Ali and Frazier) into a situation, there had to be excitement.”

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

4 responses to “Remembering Smokin’ Joe Frazier”

  1. MHubbard says:

    I cannot stop crying because Joe Frazier died. I am a 42 year old male who grew up in the 70s where all of the real champs existed. Needless to say when Frazier died its like an era died with him. But separating him from Ali, I think we lost a great champion and a even better person. Joe Frazier was and is a role model to me.

  2. Sonny Young says:

    “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.” – Muhammad Ali

  3. Sonny Young says:

    “Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend.” – George Foreman

  4. Ali was my hero,but without “Smokin Joe” there’d be no Muhammad Ali. The boxing world has

    lost a warrior.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.

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