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ALI, FOREMAN, WORLD BOXING PAY TRIBUTE TO FRAZIER

By NBF News
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The biggest names from boxing have paid tribute to Joe Frazier after the former heavyweight champion lost his battle to cancer.

Frazier, who won the Olympic and world heavyweight title, died at 67 – just a month after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Frazier will be best remembered for his trilogy with Muhammad Ali, while he also fought George Foreman during a golden era for the heavyweights.

And following news of his death at his home in Philadelphia, a number of boxing's top names have hailed the impact Frazier had on the sport.

Muhammad Ali: 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.

Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend.
Lennox Lewis: I am extremely saddened at the news of the passing away of the former world heavyweight champion, Smokin' Joe Frazier. He made history in the greatest era ever of heavyweight boxing and his contributions to the sport are profound and immeasurable. My deepest sympathies go out to the Frazier family during this time of loss and grief and I would like them to know that they are in my prayers. He will be missed but never forgotten. May he rest in peace.

Floyd Mayweather: RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family. We lost an all-time great tonight. My condolence go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier.

Manny Pacquiao: Joe Frazier was a great champion in boxing and a great ambassador of the sport. My prayers go out to his family.

Vitali Klitschko: He was a huge fighter, huge champion, huge personality. I didn't have a chance to see his fights live because in 1971, I was just born, when Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali. In the Soviet Union professional boxing was forbidden but we studied and listened about this fighter a lot, and after that we had a chance to see the fights. It was a great lesson for all new generations. I didn't have a chance to meet him personally but I listened about him so much and that's why he will always be in the memory of the new generations. He was a great fighter and for me and my brother I want to say sorry for the whole of boxing because he died and together with him died a big era of great champions.

Joe Bugner: Joe Frazier was relentless. Here was a man about 5ft 10, he weighed about a stone lighter than myself, but he was so courageous and ferocious, you had to literally hit him with a sledgehammer to put him away. In 1973, I was 23 years old. I became a man after that fight because I realised you can't go through a career like boxing without seeing and feeling the power of the greats. I happened to have the privilege of fighting Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali and a few others but those two, to me, were the greatest. Joe took everything away I thought I had and made me realise I needed more, if I was going to succeed, I needed a lot more. I'm so proud I fought him and I'm so proud he came to my birthday last year. It hit me like a lightning bolt when I heard he died.

Bernard Hopkins: There's no way in the world you should come to Philadelphia and not recognise 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 realise we had a super special person among 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.

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

Frank Warren: He was part of that era of the best heavyweights there have ever been. The trilogy of fights that he had with Muhammad Ali, the tough fight he had with George Foreman and the good wins on the way – he was one of the most exciting heavyweights ever. People talk about Mike Tyson at the age of 21 – Joe Frazier, when he was a young fella, was every bit (as good as), if not better than, Mike Tyson.

Bob Arum: 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 per cent in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn't give 100 per cent.

'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.

'Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador.' - Boxer Manny Pacquiao.

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

'Joe Frazier you were an icon and pioneer for people like me. Inspiring and loved. Your presence will be missed.' - tennis star, Serena Williams, posted on her Twitter account.

'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.

'Whenever an athlete of that stature, that kind of bearing, passes away, it pains you.

The sad thing about that fight was both Ali and Frazier suffered so much that their careers went down. Ali himself said it was almost like dying.' - Philippines commentator Ronnie Nathanielsz, who called the Thrilla in Manila.