Sugar Ray Leonard: “Joe, without question, was the epitome of the ultimate fighter, the warrior and the champion. They don’t make them like them like they used to. He fought everybody. I remember Joe and Muhammad Ali. Joe dropping Muhammad Ali was not just a shock to Muhammad, but a shock to the world.
“I don’t know if I told many people, but when I first started boxing, I emulated Joe Frazier with my style. I have fond memories and a lot of love and respect for Joe. I had a chance to meet Joe Frazier through Janks Morton, my trainer.
“I went to Joe’s trainign camp in Philly back in the early 1970s when I was just an amateur boxer. But Janks showed us the next level, and we could understand at the time that the next level, embodied by Joe Frazier, was far away from us. We had to work hard because Joe was a machine.
“Whenever Joe fought, for boxing fans, you knew that there was going to be excitement. You never saw him hold back. He was never out of shape. He was never thinking about the damage or the counter punches. Joe was just a true fighter in every sense of the word.
“So when I heard about Joe’s passing, it really saddened me beyond belief. It’s such a shocking loss. I send my condolences to his family and his friends.”
HBO’s Larry Merchant: “When a bunch of civc leaders got together in Philadelphia and put a fund together to help Joe after he won the Olympic gold medal, they sold 80 shares for $250 a share that enabled him to quit his job. I bought one of those shares. So it was almost as if I had grown up with Joe.
“He and I had kind of a personal relationship. “I knew Joe Frazier from Day One as a professional fighter, so it’s sad. Nobody ever had anything bad to say about Joe Frazier as a professional fighter, in or out of the ring. Joe Frazier’s legacy is always going to be tied up with Ali and on their fights and their being polar opposites as personalities and fighters.
“But as much as he held Ali in contempt for the way that Ali rediculed him, after their third fight, Frazier had nothing but good things to say about Ali and his courage.”
Manny Pacquiao, RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound: “Boxing has lost a great champion, and the sport has lost a great ambassador.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer: “When he beat Ali, I was 10 years old, living in Switzerland. It was like 3 a.m. there, and, given the time difference, too late for me to be watching. But I had to sneak out of my room and watch the television without volume so that I didn’t wake my parents.
“I was just captivated by the pictures coming through from the United States. It was one of those fights that really captured my love for boxing, and which made me a lifelong boxing fan. Little did I know that I would end up years later in the sport of boxing.
“So that was definitely an inspiration for me, and it was one which I will never forget. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime events that you don’t forget where you were when you watched it. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
“It is a terrible loss for everyone both in boxing and for everybody in sports, but first and foremost, his family. Joe Frazier was an iconic figure and a personality larger than life, and he will very much be missed.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
photo by Craig Bennett