Joe Frazier Bio: The Life and Career of Smokin' Joe

Joe Frazier was born on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina. The twelfth child of a farmer, he became infatuated with boxing early on and trained himself on a makeshift punching bag. Eventually, he was seriously injured in an event that caused him to land on his left arm. With his wound made to heal on its own due to financial troubles, Frazier’s arm became permanently cocked, and would play a key role in his ascension to becoming a Heavyweight champion. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look at the life and career of Joe Frazier.
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Joe Frazier Bio: The Life and Career of Smokin’ Joe

This American World heavyweight boxer is best known as “Smokin’ Joe”, and remembered for his longtime rivalry with Muhammad Ali. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Joe Frazier.

Joe Frazier was born on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina. The twelfth child of a farmer, he became infatuated with boxing early on. This was due to his father having bought a black and white television to watch fights.

Training himself on a makeshift punching bag, a young Frazier became seriously injured in an event that caused him to land on his left arm. With his wound made to heal on its own due to financial troubles, Frazier’s arm became permanently cocked.

Following this at only 15 years old, he left to go live with his brother in New York City. Chasing his dream of becoming a boxer, Frazier won several amateur heavyweight championships between 1962 and 1964, with his only loss coming at the hands of fellow amateur Buster Mathis.

Despite his Olympic Dreams being dashed, Frazier’s decision to sign on as Mathis’ replacement paid off when the athlete became injured. Using his left hook like a heat-seeking missile, Frazier took the opportunity to wipe out the competition.

After winning America’s only 1964 gold boxing medal, he went pro. In his first professional fight, the athlete defeated Woody Goss in the first round by technical knockout. He then won three more fights, all within the first three rounds.

By 1966, his career had skyrocketed and he recruited Eddie Futch as his assistant trainer. With his help, the boxer adopted a bob-and-weave defensive style, in order to protect himself from taller opponents.

In 1967, Frazier achieved fourteen wins, and appeared on the cover of Ring Magazine. At that time he met Mohammed Ali, who told him that he would never stand a chance in the arena. Unfortunately, a fight wouldn’t materialize as Ali was stripped of his title for refusing to be drafted into the military during the Vietnam War.

Instead, Frazier was placed in a bout against his old rival Buster Mathis, winning the unofficial title of “World Champion” after 11 rounds in an event held by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Following Ali’s eventual reinstatement, the two met in Madison Square Garden on March 8th, 1971 for what was dubbed “The Fight of the Century.”

During the build-up for the event, Ali labeled Frazier a champion of the white establishment. Due to this, the two went at it for 15 brutal rounds, with Frazier claiming victory by the decision of the judges.

Despite this milestone, the champion soon lost his 29-0 undefeated record to George Forman in 1973, before facing Ali once again in ‘74, losing by a 12-Round decision.

On October 1st, 1975 the two faced off in the Philippines for a third confrontation, known as the “Thrilla in Manila.” After 14 rounds for the heavyweight championship, Ali won by technical knockout.

Due to this, and another loss against George Forman, Frazier decided to hang up his gloves in 1976. Meanwhile, he made a cameo in the film “Rocky”, before unsuccessfully staging a comeback attempt in 1981.

In the years that followed, Frazier owned and operated a gym in Philadelphia, training local athletes, before being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. The retired athlete even trained his own daughter, Jackie-Frazier-Lyde to become his successor, and she went on to fight against Ali’s own daughter, continuing the longtime feud.

Meanwhile, Frazier made various media appearances, such as appearing as himself two episodes of the Simpsons and in the long-running Fight Night video game series.

Sadly, on November 7th 2011, Joe Fraizer passed away due to liver cancer. However, he has subsequently been re-affirmed as a legendary fighter and pillar of the sport, leaving behind a legacy of 32 wins, 73 percent of which were by technical knockout, a ratio that none of his rivals had ever surpassed.
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