Tributes to Frazier: 'Joe was just relentless. He had so much courage and such ferocity'
Wednesday 09 November 2011
The two men who helped Joe Frazier define the greatest era of heavyweight boxing paid heartfelt tribute to him after his death yesterday. Frazier, the former undisputed world heavyweight champion, had been fighting liver cancer and his family confirmed he had passed away, at the age of 67.
The 1964 Olympic heavyweight champion is best remembered for his fights with fellow boxing legends Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. In what is the most storied era in the sport's history, it was Ali, Foreman and Frazier who were its pre-eminent stars.
"The world has lost a great champion," Ali said. "I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones."
Foreman tweeted his reaction to the news, saying: "Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend."
Joe Bugner, another star of the heavyweight division in the 1970s, lost to Frazier five months after being beaten by Ali in 1973. "Joe Frazier was relentless," Bugner told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Here was a man about 5ft 10, he weighed about a stone lighter than myself, but he was so courageous and ferocious, you had to literally hit him with a sledgehammer to put him away.
"In 1973 I was 23 years old. I became a man after that fight because I realised you can't go through a career like boxing without seeing and feeling the power of the greats. I had the privilege of fighting Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Those two to me were the greatest.
"Joe took everything away I thought I had and made me realise I needed more, if I was going to succeed. It hit me like a lightning bolt when I heard he died."
British former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis added: "He was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing. I'm so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It's very sad for boxing today."
Vitali Klitschko, WBC champion, said Frazier's legacy resonated down the generations: "He was a huge fighter, huge champion, huge personality." More stars of the sport took to Twitter, with Floyd Mayweather writing: "RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family." Oscar De La Hoya wrote: "I will miss you my friend. R.I.P. Joe frazier."
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Sir Alex Ferguson: 'I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles...' but Manchester United boss wouldn't change it
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The IT Support Engineer is needed to ass...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It's an exciting time for this ...