Saturday, November 5, 2011

Smokin' Joe Has Cancer

"Ali always said I would be nothing without him, but who would he have been without me?"

Joe Frazier

Smokin' Joe Frazier has liver cancer, so they say.

It was diagnosed a few weeks ago.

I don't have any medical training. I don't even know what type of liver cancer Frazier has. But I know that people rarely survive such diseases.

I'm hoping for the best for Smokin' Joe. I was a fan of Muhammad Ali when I was growing up, but I always admired Joe Frazier.

And his contemporaries literally feared him. George Foreman may have been the most powerful fighter on the planet when I was a teenager, but, more than 15 years after Foreman took the heavyweight title from Frazier in two rounds, he confessed to Johnny Carson that Frazier was "the toughest guy I'd ever seen."

Frazier was tough, no doubt about it. If anyone can beat liver cancer through sheer force of will, it's Joe Frazier. He was always scrappy. He stood 5'11½" in the ring, but he looked short when he was up against Ali (6'3"), Foreman (6'4"), even Jimmy Ellis (6'1").

If you look at tape of his fights, he looks like someone's little brother trying to persuade people he was one of the big kids.

He always stood tall, though, physical appearances notwithstanding.

Good luck, Joe.

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