Smokin' Joe Frazier is getting a tribute normally given to presidents, military commanders and members of Congress. The former heavyweight champion died this week at age 67 after a battle with liver cancer, and his body will be lying in state in his adopted home town of Philadelphia.
Fans and boxing lovers will be able to pay their final respects to Joe from 10 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the 76ers and Flyers. Frazier's funeral will be held on Monday morning, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The Sixers had a game scheduled for Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, but that was canceled by the NBA work stoppage.
While Frazier's remains won't be placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, it's still a special occasion. Former House Speaker Henry Clay, who died in 1852, was the first leader to receive the official honor in Washington, D.C. And 31 others, including 11 Presidents, have been given the commendation.
Frazier helped teach Larry Holmes how to fight after he hired the 22-year-old as his sparring partner. Holmes said Smokin' Joe took care of him in those early days. "He hired me and paid me $375 a week and put me in the best hotel and gave me the best food and he picked me up every day to go run," Holmes said.
Frazier's old North Philadelphia gym, where he helped a number of boxers launch their careers, is now a furniture store.
Smokin' Joe is credited with being the inspiration for many of the wild training techniques in the Rocky film series. It was Frazier who ran through Philadelphia and used meat slabs as heavy bags.
NBC 10 reports some in Philadelphia are saying its time to give Joe Frazier a statue somewhere in the City of Brotherly Love -- much like the fictional Rocky received. Detroit has a statue of a fist to commemorate the memory of Joe Louis.
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Smokin' Joe is credited with being the inspiration to this famous scene from Rocky.
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