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Ali and Frazer were bitter rivals that hated one another

Posted by Betonline team on 6/7/2016 2:54:32 AM
Ali and Frazer were bitter rivals that hated one another

The best thing about Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier is they found peace before both men died.

This was the greatest boxing rivalry in history. It is a rivalry that matched Michigan-Ohio State, Alabama-Auburn, and the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. They hated one another and probably shortened each other’s lives in the ring.

Frazier died of liver cancer in 2011 while Ali died recently following respiratory complications. This rivalry was about race, patriotism, anger and trying to achieve the top pecking order in the heavyweight division.

Ali threw haymakers on Frazer before they even got into the ring. They fought in the “Fight of the Century” and the “Thrilla in Manila.” Ali won two of the battles and Frazier won the first one. It was nasty and vicious mostly because of Ali.

Ali portrayed Frazier as an Uncle Time and puppet for the white man. He told the world that Frazier stunk, was a gorilla and sub-human. They might have been words of hype to pump up ticket sales, but Ali broke an unwritten rule. He humiliated another black man during a time where American whites filled their minds with stereotypes of blacks. “Joe Frazier is an Uncle Tom, he works for the enemy,” Ali once said.

“He thought he would weaken me when it came time to face him in the ring,” Frazier wrote in his 1996 biography. “Well, he was wrong. It didn’t weaken me; it awakened me to what a cheap son of a bitch he was.”

Frazier was the son of a South Carolina sharecropper, who experienced deep seeded racism in his life. Yet, Ali portrayed him as a puppet for the white man. Black America bought into it.

During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ali lit the torch during the opening ceremonies. He shook with the torch because of the effects of Parkinson’s disease. It was a touching scene and most of the people in the stadium that night watched with a number of emotions. Frazier did not.

“They should have thrown him in,” Frazier reportedly told a reporter.

Frazier still called him Clay, after his birth name of Cassius Clay, for a few years.

The three fights were vicious. Frazier moved forward, bobbing and weaving while throwing vicious uppercuts and body blows. He hurt Ali in all three fights. But Ali kept Frazier at bay with superior footwork and jabs.

They were polar opposites. Frazer was rough around the edges and did not articulate himself well. In the ring, he was strong, raw and vicious. Ali was the pretty boy of boxing. He not only proclaimed himself the greatest but the prettiest boxer in history.

Ali screamed. Frazier smiled and built up anger.

White America mostly rooted for Frazier. Blacks rooted for Ali.

Go back and look at the tapes of their fights. These were not boxing matches. They were acts of war. Ali lost the middle rounds of his third fight with Frazier and needed to rally to win. He called it the closest thing to death that he ever experienced.

However, age and maturity eventually overcome even the toughest of warriors. Ali and Frazier had kind words to say about one another before Frazier’s death. Ali even paid tribute at Frazier’s funeral.

They buried the hatchet but not before creating the biggest rivalry in all of boxing and probably all of sports.


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