Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Joe Frazier
From 1970 to 1973, ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier ruled the boxing world as the undisputed heavyweight champion, making him the baddest man on the planet at that time. Typically the ‘Fighter of The Week’ series has featured nak muay, so we decided to change things up a little and honour a man who is remembered as one of the greatest boxers in history.
Best known for his classic rivalry and trilogy with Muhammad Ali, at 5’11” Frazier was shorter than his contemporaries but was able to counter the lack in height and reach with an unparalleled athleticism and an otherworldly punching power. He was electric to watch inside the ring, and broke the sweet science of boxing down to its crudest elements. He was not afraid to get hit 5 times in order to hit his opponent once. Sometimes one punch was all Frazier needed.
That Left Hook!
One of Fraziers’ weapons was his signature lead hook. He put every ounce of weight and strength behind it, throwing it with impunity. When Frazier threw the hook, it would often leave him off balance if he missed, exposing his back to his opponent. But when it landed, it typically knocked opponents off their feet, and they would rarely get back up.
Fraziers ability to land the heavy hook with precision came from his forward pressure and his dependence on beautiful head movement; bobbing and weaving his way inside. He was comfortable in the pocket, and would ram his head into his opponent’s sternum, or shoulder bump them off balance to set up his most prized punch. His upper body movement also helped set up the punch because unlike traditional boxers who bent at the knees to dip under punches, Frazier bent at the waist, and then he would roll his body into position to land a KO punch.
Frazier’s most famous left hook may have been the one that dropped Ali in the 15th round during their first encounter, billed ‘The Fight of The Century’ on March 8th 1971 inside Madison Square Garden. Frazier would hand the undefeated Ali his first loss.
Frazier retired in 1976 with a professional record of 32-4-1 (27 wins by KO). He won a gold medal at the 1964 games in Tokyo. His 4 losses came from Ali (2x) and Foreman (2x). Sadly Frazier passed away on November 7th, 2011, a few months after being diagnosed with cancer. He embodied the hard-nosed spirit of the Philadelphia boxing scene. He was the original Rocky, working in a slaughterhouse and running in the streets of Philly. There are few boxers today who embrace the fighting spirit that Frazier had, and few ever will. He was a rare breed.
Born in South Carolina on January 12, 1944, he would have celebrated his 74th birthday this year.
Frazier vs Ali I – The Fight of The Century
Frazier vs Ali III – The Thrilla in Manilla. October 1st 1975
Check out our previous Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week featuring Dany Bill
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Written by Ryan McKinnon, Lanna MMA Team Member and host of The Bloody Ballet Podcast, a weekly Muay Thai show that can be found at The Bloody Ballet