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King, Arum, Tyson, Pacquiao, Lewis, Praise Joe Frazier

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA.—Legendary promoter Don King, who promoted Joe Frazier in the finale of Frazier’s phenomenal trilogy with Muhammad Ali, 1975’s “Thrilla in Manila,” made the following statement from his South Florida home after learning last night of the death of his longtime friend:

“Smokin’ Joe Frazier was the embodiment of what a great heavyweight champion and person should be.  He was a great gladiator.  When Smokin’ Joe came to the ring, you knew you had someone who was coming to fight.  I was proud to have known and promoted him, and I was honored to call him a friend.

“The courage Smokin' Joe showed in "The Thrilla in Manila"—answering every Ali onslaught with an equally withering response—will remain in the hearts and minds of boxing fans around the globe forever.  It was one of the most dramatic fights in history.  Although the warrior inside Smokin' Joe wanted to answer the bell for the 15th and final round, his chief second and friend Eddie Futch acted as more than a corner man to step in and refuse to let him continue, so he could live to fight another day and smoke 'em some more.

“One cannot underestimate the contribution Smokin' Joe and Ali made to progress and change by creating the space, through their talent, for black men to be seen, visible and relevant.  The Thrilla in Manila helped make America better.

“Not only was he a great fighter but also a great man. He lived as he fought with courage and commitment at a time when African Americans in all spheres of life were engaged in a struggle for emancipation and respect.  Smokin' Joe brought honor, dignity and pride for his people, the AMERICAN people, and brought the nation together as only sports can do.” 

OTHER REACTIONS IN THE SPORT

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"The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones." — Muhammad Ali, who had three epic fights against Frazier.

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"Joe took everything away I thought I had and made me realize I needed more, if I was going to succeed I needed a lot more." — former British heavyweight Joe Bugner, who lost to both Ali and Frazier in 1973.

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"He definitely was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing. I'm so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It's very sad for boxing today." — former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

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"Frazier and Ali were quintessential the apex of pedigree fighting in which each man would not give an inch until they were dead." — former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, posted to his Twitter account.

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"He proved himself in the first fight to be a great, great man and a great, great warrior. The third fight was the greatest fight in the history of boxing. Ever. The greatest fight ever. I still remember leaving the coliseum in Manilla and going outside. The sun was so high in the sky beating down on us. It was almost eerie. It was unworldly what we had just seen. Two men fighting one of the great wars of all time. It's something I will never forget for all the years I have left." — promoter Bob Arum, on Frazier and his fights with Ali.

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"Joe Frazier was the quintessential Philadelphia boxer. He represented the heart and soul of boxing in our great city. In the ring and in the neighborhoods, he carried himself with dignity and courage. He was a true ambassador for our city." — Mayor Michael Nutter.

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"About two or three years ago, everybody is asking me why I was fighting. Joe Frazier said you fight as long as you feel you can do it and win with dignity. That was in Joe Hand's Gym while I was in Philly. I told him I could and that I was in great shape. He walked out of the place. I remember that. Those few minutes were like an hour. You've got to listen to him and listen to him clearly." — WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins.

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"Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend." — former heavyweight champion George Foreman, posted to his Twitter account.

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"Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador." — champion boxer Manny Pacquiao.

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"RIP to the great champ and 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist "Smokin" Joe Frazier. You will be missed." — USA Boxing, posted to its Twitter account.

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"Joe Frazier you were a icon and pioneer for people like me. Inspiring and loved. Your presence will be missed." — tennis star Serena Williams, posted to her Twitter account.

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"Joe Frazier should be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a real man. He's a guy that stood up for himself. He didn't compromise and always gave 100 percent in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn't give 100 percent." — Arum.

"There's no way in the world you should come to Philadelphia and not recognize who Joe Frazier is. It's the perfect time to build the biggest statue in appreciation for all the heart and love he gave to Philadelphia. It's just to say how we regret when it's not there to touch and see. We didn't realize we had a super special person amongst us that we all in a way took for granted. I said this when he was living, I say this now. That's the only thing." — Hopkins.

Tags: Don King image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Money Shot on 11-08-2011

Good words by Don K. I agree with all his sentiments.

Comment by junior gong on 11-08-2011

Great tribute from Don King.

Comment by paulf on 11-08-2011

Don sure has a way with words, doesn't he?

Comment by komandante on 11-08-2011

As a person Joe is greater than Ali, thanks for giving us the 'Thrilla in Manila' I was there..:usa:

Comment by Check_hooks on 11-08-2011

Real recognize real. Frazier was a ATG and a warrior. R.I.P.

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