Boxing Legend Joe Frazier Loses Battle With Cancer

FILE - In this March 8, 1971, file photo, boxer Joe Frazier, left, hits Muhammad Ali during the 15th round of their heavyweight title fight at New York's Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo, File)

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By Ian Philbrick

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion
who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in
his shadow, has died after a brief final fight with liver cancer. He was 67.

The family issued a release confirming the boxer's death on Monday night.

Frazier, who took on Ali in three momentous fights in the 1970s, including the epic "Thrilla in Manilla," had been under home hospice care after being diagnosed just weeks ago with the cancer that took his life, a family friend said. Until then, Frazier had been doing regular autograph appearances, including one in Las Vegas in September.

Smokin' Joe was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. It was the left hook that dropped Ali in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden in 1971 to seal a win in the so-called "Fight of the Century."

Though he beat Ali in that fight, Frazier lost the final two face-offs.

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