[Read by Bill Andrew Quinn]
When boxing was bold, bright, and glamorous and the fights were the hottest sporting events of the year, Joe Frazier was king as the Heavyweight Champion of the World. From 1970 to 1973 he reigned. With a career record of 32-4-1 with twenty-seven knockouts and an Olympic gold medal, Frazier leaves little question that he was one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Well-known, loved, and revered as a gentleman and a fierce competitor in the ring, Joe Frazier speaks his mind in Smokin' Joe about growing up poor and fighting in the first $2.5 million bout; about the early days of his friendship with Muhammad Ali and how their relationship changed; and about the often corrupt world of boxing and what really went on inside and outside the ring.
Personable, good-natured, and funny, Frazier's story is a real delight.
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JOE FRAZIER (1944– - 2011), also known as “Smokin Joe, was a professional boxer. During his twenty-one year career, he earned an Olympic gold medal in 1964 and was named World Heavyweight Champion in 1970. He only lost to two fighters: Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. An inductee of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, he is considered one of the ten greatest heavyweights of all time.
PHIL BERGER (1943–-2001) was a sportswriter, author, and screenwriter. A former boxing reporter for The New York Times, he wrote more than a dozen books about basketball and boxing, including Forever Showtime: The Checkered Life of Pistol Pete Maravich, Miracle on 33rd Street: The New York Knickerbockers Championship Season, and Punch Lines: Berger on Boxing.
Frazier was born in 1944 in rural South Carolina, one of 13 children of a father who also boasted of 13 other kids born out of wedlock. Unable to adjust to life in the South, Frazier went to New York City at age 15 and then to Philadelphia, where eventually a syndicate of businessmen backed him in the ring. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 and, after Muhammad Ali was stripped of his title as heavyweight champion for refusing military induction during the Vietnam War, Frazier was named champion in 1970. The following year, he defeated the reinstated Ali and reigned until 1973, when he lost his title to George Foreman. Once a friend of Ali, he became an enemy after a steady barrage of insults from "The Louisville Lip," and it's noteworthy that he always refers to Ali in these pages as Cassius Clay (his pre-Muslim name). Frazier has never ceased to work, nor has he lost faith in the American dream, so his autobiography, written with prize-winning boxing journalist Berger, may prove inspirational to young people. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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