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Former Heavyweight Champ Joe Frazier Passes Away at Age of 67

 Evening Standard, Getty Images
Evening Standard, Getty Images

Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier passed away late Monday night at the age of 67 after a brief battle with liver cancer.

Frazier’s career will forever be linked to Muhammad Ali, as the two fought three epic battle’s culminating with the “Thrilla in Manillia” in 1975 when Frazier’s trainer kept the fighter from answering the bell in the final round because he couldn’t see.

Ali said after the fight it was the, “closest thing to dying that I know of.”

Frazier needed a vicious left hook to put Muhammad Ali on the canvas in the 15th round of their 1971 fight, when he became the first man to beat Ali in the Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden.

“That was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life,” Frazier said.

The two fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and the iconic Thirllia in Manila bout in the Philippines. They went a total of 41 rounds toe-to-toe with neither man giving an inch.

Frazier was small for a heavyweight, weighing just 205 pounds when he won the title by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their 1970 fight at Madison Square Garden.

His reign as heavyweight champion lasted only four fights—including the win over Ali—before he ran into an even more fearsome slugger than himself. George Foreman responded to Frazier’s constant attack by dropping him three times in the first round and three more in the second before their 1973 fight in Jamaica was waved to a close and the world had a new heavyweight champion.

Two fights later, he and Ali met in a rematch of their first fight, only this time the outcome was different. Ali won a 12-round decision, and later that year stopped George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.

Frazier was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

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