Boxing greats, family say goodbye to Joe Frazier

MT. AIRY - November 14, 2011

Funeral services for Frazier were held Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Mt. Airy. Smokin' Joe lost his fight with liver cancer, one week ago.

Muhammed Ali and famed boxing promoter Don King were among those who arrived to honor Frazier's life and legacy.

King, says Frazier, known for his skill in the ring, didn't get enough credit for his involvement in the civil rights movement.

"He was fighting for a blow against segregation, a blow against discrimination, a blow against those who were downtrodden, underprivileged and denied," said King.

Former Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes spoke with pride about the time he was sparring with Frazier before one of his epic fights against Ali.

'Smokin' Joe delivered a body blow so fierce, it cracked one of Holmes' ribs.

"That was like a badge for me, a medal of honor to get hit by Joe Frazier," said Holmes.

Current Light Heavyweight Champion and Philadelphia native Bernard Hopkins says he was touched by the huge turnout at the service.

"To get half of the respect and half of the crowd, then you've done something not only in your own family but amongst other families and that's what Joe represented to Philadelphia," said Hopkins.

Meantime, Ali's wife Khalilah says, today's service brought back a lot of old memories.

"It was like a flashback in the history of my life, seeing all of these great people, Joe Frazier and his beautiful family," she said.

For Letrice Frazier, the person many refer to as a boxing icon, she proudly refers to as "grandpa."

"He was amazing. He always was there when you needed him. He just walked me down the aisle in April. I'm glad I got that honor," said Frazier.

Smokin' Joe will go down in history as one of the great champions of heavyweight boxing's golden era.

Frazier's family says they will remember him as a loving man who adored his family and the city he called his home, the City of Philadelphia.

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