Dougie’s Friday mailbag
IN MEMORY OF JOE FRAZIER
Short and sweet on this one. Just a few thoughts on the loss of Joe Frazier.
I am old enough that I was able to see Joe fight several times on TV.
He gave his all every time in the ring. It was a pleasure to watch him work. His career was one big highlight reel. (Go to YouTube to see his dramatic KOs of Bob Foster, and Jimmy Ellis as well as his wars with Jerry Quarry.)
In his prime he stood just under 6 feet and weighed about 210 lbs. In this era of BIG heavyweights who stand 6’5 and weigh in at 250+ I am sure that everyone of those guys thanks God everyday that they don’t have to look across the ring and see Joe Frazier standing in the other corner. He was a good man. RIP Joe. You earned it. — David, Nashville
You said it best, David, “he gave his all every time in the ring.” And he did so during the two decades when the heavyweight division was deeper than it ever had been or probably ever will be — the 1960s and 1970s.
Frazier was taking the fight to bona-fide top-10 contenders Oscar Bonavena and George Chuvalo, as well as seasoned former title challengers Eddie Machen and Doug Jones, within the first two years of his career.
His relentless pressure, bone-cracking power, and underrated speed (of hand and foot) was usually enough to overwhelm even the toughest veterans, but even when they put it back on Frazier — as Bonavena did — Smokin’ Joe never stopped steamin’. That’s what made him special. His boxing legacy was basically secured with his victory over Muhammad Ali in their epic first fight, but I was always just as impressed with his losing performances against George Foreman.
Why? Because he kept getting up every time he was smashed to the canvas by his bigger, younger, fresher, stronger and more powerful adversary.
I didn’t appreciate Frazier in the 1970s. I became aware of the sport through Ali, when the ultimate showman was well into his second championship reign (’77-’79). Frazier was already history by then. But I became aware of him as I evolved into a hardcore fan in the late 1980s. I watched videos of his fights, particularly his trilogy with Ali, and quickly gained the same level of respect for Frazier as I held for “The Greatest.”
Frazier wasn’t the personality and worldwide social figure that Ali was, but he was every bit the competitor and even more of a fighter.
R.I.P. SMOKIN JOE
What’s up Dougie,
I want to send out my condolences to Joe Frazier’s family. I was a Frazier guy whenever the Frazier-Ali conversation came up. He was the type of fighter that would come to fight. He had one of the most wicked left hooks I’ve ever seen. I think that it’s unfair for him to be called an Uncle Tom. He was great for the sport and a great warrior. He will be missed. He would have whooped most of the modern day heavyweights and he wasn’t even as big as them even at his time! RIP, ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier! What do you think, Dougie? — Miguel, LBC
I agree with everything you said Miguel, and despite being eight inches shorter and 40-50 pounds lighter, I think the prime Frazier had the pace, power and style to beat both Klitschko brothers. But even if it turned out that he didn’t, at least we know he wouldn’t pull a David Haye.
Frazier was a real fighter, which means he was more than willing to go down swinging. God rest his warrior’s soul.
Just had a thought. While I agree with most that Manny Pacquiao will probably win handily on Saturday. It seems to me that if Marquez somehow pulls out a win, or lets say a stunning knockout, doesn’t that elevate his all time status somewhere in the neighborhood of Julio Caesar Chavez? Sure wouldn’t be a bad way to wind down his hall of fame career don’t you think? It’s a scenario I don’t seem to hear many boxing scribes talking about. Your Thoughts? Thanks. — Kerry Stanovsky
Marquez’s legacy will be enhanced if he’s merely competitive with Pacquiao, which I think is a likely scenario. If Marquez actually wins, he will instantly gain a level of popularity in Mexico that surpasses that of his two countrymen peers, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. If Marquez somehow knocks Pacquiao out, Mexican fans (and Floyd Mayweather followers) will forever be grateful to him. His status will be elevated to iconic levels, but not quite as high as Chavez was at the peak of his popularity in the early 1990s.