Ali’s greatest foe, Joe, no more

Joseph William ‘Joe’ Frazier aka Smokin' Joe, the former heavyweight champion and the first man to defeat Muhammad Ali, died on Monday after a brief fight with liver cancer. He was 67.

During his career, he had defeated the likes of Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, Buster Mathis, Eddie Machen, Doug Jones, George Chuvalo and Jimmy Ellis in 1960s to become an undisputed heavyweight champion in 1970. He won the Olympic heavyweight boxing gold medal for the United States in 1964 in Tokyo. And in ‘Fight of the Century’ in 1971, he defeated Muhammad Ali (his first defeat) by winning a 15-round bout at New York's Madison Square Garden.

In 1973, he lost his title to George Foreman and in his second fight with Ali in 1974 at Madison Square Garden, Joe lost to him in a 12-round decision. His last world title challenge came in 1975, but in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ match, the third and final encounter with Ali, Joe was beaten. He was rated among the ten greatest heavyweights of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

Joe was born on January 12, 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was a Capricorn with ruling number 3. This number is governed by the Planet Jupiter. Being a Capricorn, he was diligent, conscientious, hardworking and cautious, seldom allowing any sort of permissiveness. He endured hardship well and was very tolerant battling briefly but bravely with liver cancer.

He was highly ambitious and would work his way up with patience and hard work - exactly like the mountain goat that represents his zodiac sign. He was admired for his sense of duty, his selflessness in service and devotion.

In Frazier, we have lost a champion as Muhammad Ali says, “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration.”

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