Boxing great Joseph “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier is seriously ill with liver cancer and has checked into a hospice, his manager tells CNN. The former heavyweight champion was diagnosed just four or five weeks ago.
In his time in the ring, Frazier went up against greats like George Foreman and Oscar Bonevena, but none of his fights were so famous as his three bouts against “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali. The two faced off at Madison Square Garden in “Fight of the Century” in 1971. Frazier bested Ali in the 15th round with a thunderous left hook. It was Ali’s first professional defeat.
Ali won a 1974 rematch, and then the two faced off in the infamous “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975, which was so brutal the fight was stopped in the 14th round and Ali declared the victor.
Upon hearing the news of Frazier’s being put into hospice care, Ali said in a statement, “The news about Joe is hard to believe and even harder to accept. Joe
is a fighter and a champion and I am praying he is fighting now. My
family and I are keeping Joe and his family in our daily prayers. Joe
has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I’m one of them. “