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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Joe Frazier, the son of a South Carolina sharecropper who punched meat in a Philadelphia slaughterhouse before Rocky, won Olympic gold, and beat an undefeated Muhammad Ali to become one of the all-time heavyweight greats, died on Monday, his family said in a statement. He was 67.
Mr. Frazier, whose liver cancer was diagnosed about a month ago, spent his last days living under hospice care in a Center City apartment.
Mr. Frazier, known as “Smokin’ Joe,” was small for a heavyweight, just under 6 feet tall, but compensated with a relentless attack in the ring, bobbing and weaving as if his upper body were on a tightly coiled spring, constantly moving forward, and throwing more punches than most heavyweights.
“A kind of motorized Marciano” is how Time magazine described his style in a 1971 cover story before Mr. Frazier’s $5 million fight with Muhammad Ali, the first of their three epic battles and the most lucrative boxing match ever at the time.
Fans could watch Mr. Frazier fight for minutes at a time and not see him take one step back.