Smokin’ Joe Frazier Has Liver Cancer, In Hospice Care

Truly sad news, this man is a true legend…

Former heavyweight boxing champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier has liver cancer.   He is now under hospice care.

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Philadelphia, PA...
Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr



Maybe Joe Frazier didn’t hit the status of other champs like Muhammad Ali, but he put a HUGE hurt on some of the world’s best in a career full of highlights.


The 67-year-old boxer was diagnosed with liver cancer four or five weeks ago, Frazier’s personal friend and business manager said on Saturday. Leslie Wolff said doctors have not yet told Frazier how long he has to live.

”We have medical experts looking into the all the options that are out there,” Wolff said. ”There are very few. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop looking.”

Wolff, who has been Frazier’s manager for seven years, said the boxer had been in out and out of the hospital since early October and receiving hospice treatment the last week.

”We appreciate every prayer we can get,” Wolff said. ”I’ve got everybody praying for him. We”ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope for a miracle.”

Frazier was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali, knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the epic ”Thrilla in Manila” bout.  Allegedly,Frazier had been bitter for many years about the way Ali treated him back then.   Recently though, he said he had forgiven Ali for repeatedly taunting him.

Smokin’ Joe was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. TRULY magical!  It was that same left hook that dropped Ali in the 15th round of their ”Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in 1971 to seal a win in a bout where each fighter earned an unheard of $2.5 million.  (Back then, that was a TON of money!)

As HUGE as that fight was, Ali and Frazier put on an even better show in their third fight, held in a sweltering arena in Manila as part of Ali’s world tour of fights in 1975.  Frazier still wanted to go out for the 15th round of the fight but was held back by trainer Eddie Futch in a bout Ali would later say was the closest thing to death he could imagine.  Frazier was nearly blinded by Ali’s punches, but he would NOT go down voluntarily.

Frazier had won the heavyweight title in 1970 by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their fight at Madison Square Garden. Smokin’ Joe defended it successfully four times before George Foreman knocked him down six times in the first two rounds to take the title from him in 1973.  Unfortunately, Frazier would never be heavyweight champion again.

In the recent past, Frazier had been doing regular autograph appearances, including one in Las Vegas the weekend of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in September.

”I was very sad to hear the news. It’s a tragedy,” leading British promoter Frank Warren said. ”He’s one of the greatest fighters of his generation and one of the best heavyweights in history. It’s a sad thing and I know everyone in boxing will be wishing him well.”

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