• Joe Frazier 1944-2011

Lennox lauds 'unique' Frazier

ESPN staff
November 8, 2011
Joe Frazier famously beat Muhammad Ali in 1971 © Getty Images

Joe Frazier: Career in Pictures

Lennox Lewis has paid tribute to a boxing icon in Joe Frazier whose style he feels may never be seen again.

Frazier lost his battle with cancer at the age of 67 and his passing has left boxing with a deep sense of loss.

Smokin' Joe fought during a golden era for heavyweight boxing, forging a great rivalry with Muhammad Ali.

Despite standing below six feet, Frazier was a fearsome sight in the ring and was involved in two of boxing's greatest fights - 'The Fight of the Century' in 1971 when he beat Ali and 'The Thrilla in Manila' in 1975 when Ali exacted revenge in 14 brutal rounds.

He lost just four fights, two to Ali and two to fellow great George Foreman, and his style was thrilling to watch, according to former heavyweight champion Lewis.

"There is some great history in the past, him and Muhammad Ali," Lewis told Sky Sports News. "Without Joe Frazier you would not get the Thrilla in Manila and other great fights that he had.

"Joe Frazier had great heart, he showed it in his fighting ability. He was the first man to really show that ducking style so when Muhammad Ali threw a punch he would always be ducking.

"Muhammad Ali described him as a man that when he was in the ring with him you could almost cheat death.

"It was a deep era, an era filled with great men and strong-willed men and unique boxing styles. It was a part in history when there was a lot heavyweights, whereas now people want to know where all the heavyweights have gone."

The likes of Ali and Foreman towered over Frazier, making his achievements all the more noteworthy. "It was remarkable," Lewis said. "He had a unique style, but he had that great left hook and could take you out. He was a big inspiration for me.

"He was a remarkable man and very few boxers can follow in his footsteps."

As well as being hailed for his skills in the ring, Frazier drew praise for how he carried himself out of the ring. Lewis said: "When you lose an icon like Joe Frazier it is very sad. He was a remarkable man, a strong-willed man, a quiet man. Plus he did a lot of good things for boxing. You did not hear about him doing anything negative and he was always a positive man."

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