Tuesday, November 8, 2011

IF YOU KNOCKED HIM DOWN, YOU ONLY MADE HIM MAD: Those of us who are sports fans but grew up after the era of Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Muhammad Ali have learned since just how much we missed -- an era in which there was no greater sporting event than a heavyweight boxing bout, no greater rivals than boxing opponents, and no greater title than heavyweight champion.

Frazier, who died today of liver cancer, was defined by his rivalries with the other two champions of his era, but must be remembered in his own right as an Olympic champion; as a native of Beaufort, SC, who rose from nothing to work in a Philadelphia slaughterhouse where, yes, he toughened his punches against frozen sides of beef; a man who gave it all inside the ring, back when boxing rings were worthy of such efforts.  He was 67.


  1. Bill Plaschke:  "Without Joe Frazier there would have been no Mohammad Ali."

    (Suggesting that perhaps he defined his rivals as much as he was defined by his rivalries.)

  2. Or "Muhammad".  I should have checked that.  I didn't.

  3. Adam C.8:08 PM

    Joe Frazier's Gym used to be at North Broad St and Glenwood Ave in North Philly (not too far from other departed North Philly landmarks like Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium and the Baker Bowl).  We used to pass by the site when we'd drive from Center City to visit my in-laws in Abington.  For many years, it stood vacant, but now it's apparently a furniture store - and fans and friends have been stopping by to pay respects.