Joe Frazier, best known for his unforgettable fights with Muhammad Ali, has passed away from liver cancer at age 67, his family confirms. Last week, it was reported that Frazier had entered hospice care. He died in the evening hours of Monday, Nov. 7, reports the New York Times.
Born in South Carolina on Jan. 12, 1944, Frazier was the son of a bootlegger and was frequently sent to jail for carrying liquor. He dropped out of school at 13 and trained for boxing on his own, using burlap sacks. He was working at a slaughterhouse in Philadelphia when he was discovered by trainer Yank Durham, who convinced him to go pro in 1965.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier ended his career with 32 wins, 27 of them by knockouts. He was famous for “The Fight of The Century” in March 1971, which he won against Ali. Three years later, Ali beat Frazier in another Madison Square Garden fight. Perhaps the most remembered fight in boxing history was their October 1975 round in Manila, which Ali won when Frazier, with one eye swollen shut and the other blurred by cataracts, could not enter the 15th round.
Since then, the men have forgiven each other. When Frazier’s liver cancer became public, Ali released a statement: “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.”