Rest in Peace “Smokin” Joe

Growing up in the late 80’s and into the 90’s, I watched the sport of boxing time and time again when some heavy weights would decide to collide in a battle for the World Championship.  While I grew up watching guys like Mike Tyson, and Buster Douglas, there were still some legends in the sport like George Foreman and Evander Holyfield.  Since then I’ve taken the time to watch old footage of some of the classic heavy weight fights, and Joe Frazier was one of the key figures in many of these fights.

As with most everyone, his fights with Muhammad Ali created my appreciation and respect for the past. Thanks to ESPN Classic I was able to see more and more fights.  By doing so I began to realize the boxers of today couldn’t hold a candle to the boxers of yester year like Frazier and Ali.  There was something poetic about watching a fight with Frazier, Ali and even George Foreman.  What determination, grit and courage these guys portrayed.  I would guess no one reading this would even know the name of today’s Heavy Weight World Champion.  I know I don’t.  They just don’t make them like they used to.

Today the news broke – the final bell has rung for Joe Frazier. He is off to the golden ring in the sky. While I was never able to see him fight in real life, I have watched a lot of his fights from his prime on ESPN.  Boxing has lost a legend, and while most fans of today will not understand what guys like Frazier meant to boxing in his prime, they need to take a moment to reflect and see how much the sport has changed from his days of glory.

Unfortunately we are all subject to the ravages of time.  Joe’s time has come and now he is gone.  Rest in Peace “Smokin” Joe Frazier, and thank you for your contributions to boxing history, you will surely be missed.

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