NPR reporter Tom Goldman writes, "A "sledgehammer left hook" that put Muhammad Ali on the canvas in 1971 pretty much tells the story of Joe Frazier's career."
"It was as crushing and symbolic" as any of Frazier's punches over his long career, Tom said on Morning Edition. "It put his bitter rival, Muhammad Ali, on his 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' keister at Madison Square Garden in what came to be known as the "Fight of the Century."
But where did Frazier's dangerous left hook come from? Joe was born into a poor sharecropping family in South Carolina. When Frazier was about 8 years old, he "fashioned a punching bag out of a burlap sack stuffed with rags and corn cobs and Spanish moss. By Frazier's own estimation, he slugged that thing for the next six or seven years d@mn near every day."
Frazier's longtime friend Abraham Brown describes their youth in the documentary "Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears." The two would put on gloves and go at it. Brown says Frazier, "like to fight; he always liked to fight. It was in him."
Goldman describes Frazier's distinctive fighting style as "bending at the waste, ducking under the opponents punches, all the while moving forward, relentlessly forward, looking to throw those punches, fearsome punches. Literally."
Boxing champion Larry Holmes, once Frazier's sparring partner admitted he was "scared as hell to work with Joe Frazier and to get hit by Joe Frazier." Joe broke Larry's ribs during one sparring session.
Frazier is gone now, the great boxing champion lost his last battle to liver cancer.
Do what you were made to do.
- "It [boxing] is in him," said Frazier's childhood friend.
- In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Lidell observed, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. "
- The jarring left hook that won Frazier an Olympic gold medal and ultimately felled Ali was formed by years of hitting that burlap sack nearly every day.
- Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the 4 minute mile once said, "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."
Pursue your passion.
- Goldman's description of Frazier in the ring, "all the while moving forward, relentlessly forward."
- Keep moving towards your goal, relentless pursuit!
- As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
Posted in his Philadelphia gym, the Official Joe Frazier Creed reads,
"We sacrifice because when we give something up, something will come back; we are disciplined because without discipline there is nothing."
Weird Facts about Smokin' Joe (Yahoo)
Boxer Joe Frazier, Who Beat Ali In The 'Fight Of The Century,' Has Died