Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Joe Frazier Was a Great Fighter and a Great Champion 35

Posted on November 08, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in the "Fight of the Century" in 1971.

The boxing world lost one of its greatest champions Monday night with the death of former Heavyweight Champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier at the age of 67 following a brief battle with cancer.

Though he is probably best known for losses in the ring to Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, Frazier did defeat Ali in the “Fight of the Century” and was a key figure in what could be considered the greatest era in modern boxing history.

In the 1970s, being the Heavyweight Champion of the World was as important a title as any in sports. From humble beginning, Frazier went on to proudly hold the undisputed title for nearly three years.

Born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, Frazier moved to New York in 1959 and soon became one of the top amateur fighters in the Northeast. He won the Middle Atlantic Golden Gloves heavyweight championship three straight years from 1962-64 and was the only American boxer to win a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

When Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight crown in 1967, Frazier was among several boxers who stepped into the mix. Read the rest of this entry →

40 Years Ago: The Fight of the Century 6

Posted on March 08, 2011 by Dean Hybl
Frazier knocked Ali down for only the third time in his career in the final round of their first meeting.

Frazier knocked Ali down for only the third time in his career in the final round of their first meeting.

Considering that the sport of boxing is known for using hype to try and turn the most mundane match into a “must see moment”, you might question the validity of a fight dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” However, when undefeated heavyweights Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali met in the ring for the first time at Madison Square Garden 40 years ago today, on March 8, 1971, there was little question that this was a special night and an important moment in the history of boxing.

Perhaps not since the second Louis-Schmeling fight more than 30 years earlier had a heavyweight fight been as anticipated.

The fight matched the controversial Ali, who had been stripped of the Heavyweight Title after refusing induction into the military, against the man who had ultimately taken his place as the Heavyweight Champion.

The 29-year-old Ali entered the fight with a career record of 31-0 (25 knockouts), including two victories in tune-ups since being reinstated after a three and a half year layoff from the sport.

The 27-year-old Frazier was in his prime with a 26-0 record, including 23 wins by knockout.

This battle of titans brought out many of the stars of the day, including Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Dustin Hoffman, Diana Ross and Woody Allen. Just to ensure they were close to the action, Sinatra served as a photographer for Life magazine and Lancaster served as a “color commentator” on the television broadcast. Read the rest of this entry →

35 Years Ago: The Thrilla in Manila 0

Posted on October 01, 2010 by Dean Hybl

The Thrilla in Manila marked the completion of boxing's greatest trilogy.

It was 35 years ago, October 1, 1975, that one of the great rivalries in sports history reached its climax with the third and final meeting between two of the great heavyweight boxers of their era. For both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, the “Thrilla in Manila” was a defining moment in their careers.

For Ali, the victory secured his place as one of the great boxers of all-time. While for Frazier, the loss ensured that he would never be recognized as the top fighter of his era. Another loss a year later to George Foreman ended his tenure among the boxing champions.

Whether it was hype or real, the two men didn’t seem to like each other very much. Ali was constantly needling Frazier, an obvious attempt to get into his head. The two men once fought on the set of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and represented vast differences in African American society of the 1970s.

But in the ring, they were both warriors and their three fights were among the greatest in boxing history.

Below are some great YouTube videos that capture the buildup and the boxing from the “Thrilla in Manila.”

Read the rest of this entry →

Ali vs. Frazier, Part I: The Fight of the Century 13

Posted on March 08, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Frazier knocked Ali down for only the third time in his career in the final round of their first meeting.

Frazier knocked Ali down for only the third time in his career in the final round of their first meeting.

Considering that the sport of boxing is known for using hype to try and turn the most mundane match into a “must see moment”, you might question the validity of a fight dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” However, when undefeated heavyweights Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali met in the ring for the first time at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971 there was little question that this was a special night and an important moment in the history of boxing.

Perhaps not since the second Louis-Schmeling fight more than 30 years earlier had a heavyweight fight been as anticipated.

The fight matched the controversial Ali, who had been stripped of the Heavyweight Title after refusing induction into the military, against the man who had ultimately taken his place as the Heavyweight Champion.

The 29-year-old Ali entered the fight with a career record of 31-0 (25 knockouts), including two victories in tune-ups since being reinstated after a three and a half year layoff from the sport.

The 27-year-old Frazier was in his prime with a 26-0 record, including 23 wins by knockout.

This battle of titans brought out many of the stars of the day, including Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Dustin Hoffman, Diana Ross and Woody Allen. Just to ensure they were close to the action, Sinatra served as a photographer for Life magazine and Lancaster served as a “color commentator” on the television broadcast. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    Cold Stone Franchise
  • Current Poll

    Who Should Be the NBA MVP?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top