Great article on the bitter rivalry between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali:
Joe Frazier hasn’t fought Muhammad Ali in 32 years but he spars with him every day. They are both old men now, broken by difficult lives and too many years spent fighting for their paychecks. They have paid dearly for the prizes they won with the biggest price extracted from each by the other.
Although both would be diminished as fighters if they had never crossed paths, for Frazier neither time nor shared infirmities have softened his heart. He always has been a hard man and there is no harder place inside him than the spot still occupied by Ali. It’s a large spot where the bruises remain even after all these years.
That’s why there was always only one picture of boxing’s greatest legend hanging in Frazier’s Gym at 2917 North Broad St. in a rundown section of Philadelphia that few tourists visit. It was the one of Ali flat on his back, Frazier standing over him with both pain and triumph on his face.
That’s how Frazier wants to be remembered — in that moment after he sent Ali to the floor in Round 15, the final round of the first fight of their tragic trilogy. The rest he’d just as soon forget. Or rewrite. Ali taunted and tortured Frazier outside the ring far more than he did inside it, and he did a lot of damage inside it to Frazier. He marginalized him in a way
I tend to idolize Ali — he was a man of great character who stood up for his beliefs. But, I should remember the good with the bad. His treatment of Frazier was deplorable.