Joe Frazier, the legend from the boxing ring, 5 times champion; now lay in his casket in Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Philadelphia. Frazier’s gloves and championship belt were also laid there with him in the casket.
A crowd of 4000 people came to attend Frazier’s funeral. The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, fellow Philadelphia fighter and longtime middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins and promoter Don King also turned up for the funeral.
Thousands of grievers came to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday for the public memorial for Frazier. Ali, who is considered to be one of the greatest boxers in history came to give his condolences for the loss. Ali has great respect for Frazier, who gave Ali the first loss of his career.
Notorious former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, business tycoon Donald Trump and actor Mickey Rourke sent in the videotaped messages of sympathy.
"We made history together," said King. "We tried to make America better."
Rev. Jesse Jackson had a moving eulogy for Frazier. Jackson told the grievers how Frazier had turned from dust to gold and became a loved icon.
"Tell them Rocky was not a champion. Joe Frazier was," Jackson said, in reference to the hometown character from the boxing movie "Rocky". Rocky also has a statue that stands at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Tell them Rocky is fictitious, Joe was reality. Rocky's fists are frozen in stone. Joe's fists are smokin'. Rocky never faced Ali or Holmes or (George) Foreman. Rocky never tasted his own blood. Champions are made in the ring not in the movies. There deserves to be a statue of Joe Frazier in downtown Philadelphia."
Frazier, who is famously known as Smokin’ Joe for his fast and hard fists was known for his fearlessness in the right. Frazier was also the father of a number of moves that are used in the ring today. Frazier also defeated Mohammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” at the Madison Square Garden about 15 years ago.
The “Fight of the Century” is the Bible of Boxing Lore, however the fight at Manila in 1975 during Ali’s world tour is another fight that can’t be forgotten. It seemed like both fighters, Ali and Frazier were willing to die or win the match before the 15th Round ended.
The brutal rubber match became known as the “Thrilla in Manila” where Ali blinded Frazier with his speed and sharp tongue. The match eventually was stopped by trainer Eddie Futch who feared serious a serious injury would occur. Both boxers were at the pinnacle of boxing in that era.