EXPIRED: 11/07/11 – Joe Frazier, 67, the son of a bootlegger beat Muhammed Ali on points in boxing’s so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ in 1971, Ali’s first professional defeat.
But in further fights, including the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ four years later, it was Ali who won. The pair were never friends. Ali called Frazier an ‘Uncle Tom’. Frazier wanted to throw Ali into the fire at the Olympics. The rivalry was half the fun of watching two World Heavyweight Champion’s duke it out.
But Ali, now suffering from Parkinson’s, was over-the-top cruel. And Frazier was just down home nice. It was just the show, done to promote the fights.
But then it got real. In September of this year Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer. It was quick and the former World Heavyweight Champ was down for the count.