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Joe Frazier

Frazier, Joe (William Joseph Frazier), 1944–2011, African-American boxer, b. Beaufort, S.C. Known for a brawling style and devastating left hook, "Smokin' Joe" won Olympic gold in 1964 and turned professional the next year. In 1970 he became the undisputed heavyweight champion after knocking out Jimmy Ellis. The following year he defeated Muhammad Ali in a 15-round decision in a championship bout billed as "The Fight of the Century." It was Ali's first defeat, and marked the beginning of their rivalry. After losing the championship to George Foreman in 1973, Frazier lost a nontitle 12-round decision to Ali in 1974, and then lost to Ali by a technical knockout in the brutal 1975 "Thrilla in Manila" championship bout. He retired in 1976 following another loss to Foreman.

See his autobiography (with P. Berger, 1996).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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