Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies

Former world and Olympic heavyweight champion Joe Frazier has died of cancer at the age of 67.

8 November 2011, 12:00am
Frazier had been receiving hospice care after being diagnosed with the condition just over a month ago.

But a statement from the Frazier family read: "We, the family of the 1964 Olympic boxing heavyweight gold-medallist, former heavyweight boxing champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame member Smokin' Joe Frazier, regret to inform you of his passing.

"He transitioned from this life as 'One of God's Men', on the eve of November 7, 2011 at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We thank you for your prayers for our father and vast outpouring of love and support.

"Respectfully, we request time to grieve privately as a family. Our father's home going celebration will be announced as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding."

Frazier won Olympic gold in 1964 after going to the Games as a replacement for the injured Buster Mathis, who had beaten him in the trials.

He won the professional heavyweight title in 1970 by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round at Madison Square Garden and defended it successfully four times before losing it to George Foreman in 1973.

Frazier is best remembered for his three bouts with Muhammad Ali, the first of which saw him unify the world title when he inflicted Ali's first professional defeat in the 'Fight of the Century' in 1971.

But in two further fights, including the epic 'Thrilla in Manila' in 1975, it was Ali who was victorious.

Frazier retired in 1976 after losing a rematch against Foreman, and aborted an attempted comeback five years later after a draw with the unheralded Jumbo Cummings.

Joe Frazier factfile:

1944: Born January 12 in Beaufort, South Carolina.

1964: Wins Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, beating German Hans Huber in the final. Frazier had been beaten by Buster Mathis in the USA trials and only went to the Games following an injury to Mathis.

1965: Turns professional and beats Woody Goss in his first bout.

1966: Beats Argentina's Oscar Bonavena by unanimous decision at Madison Square Gardens despite being knocked down twice in one round.

1968: Stops Mathis in the 11th round to win the New York State world title

1970: Defeats Jimmy Ellis by fifth-round technical knockout to win the WBA belt vacated when Muhammad Ali was stripped of the title, becoming undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Successfully defends undisputed title against Bob Foster.

1971: March 8 - Beats Ali in the "Fight of the Century", winning a unanimous decision after a shuddering left-hook floored his great opponent for a four-count in the last of 15 rounds.

1973: Loses his title in a brutal defeat to George Foreman, in which Frazier was knocked down six times in two rounds.

1974: Loses a rematch with Ali in 12 rounds.

1975: Renews hostilities with Ali for a final time in the "Thrilla in Manila". Ali won a gruelling fight in 14 rounds but later claimed: "It was the closest I've come to death."

1976: Retires after second defeat to Foreman, with a record of 32 wins and 27 KOs from 36 fights.

1981: A brief comeback yields only a draw with Floyd "Jumbo" Cummings before Frazier retires for good.

1990: Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

2011: November 7 - Dies aged 67 after battle with liver cancer.