smokin' joe

Joe Frazier died. "Smokin' Joe" was one of the great heavyweight boxing champions (back in the day when those kind of things were undisputed, or even mattered). In the ring, he was a stalking monster with loaded doom in his left hand.

You'll hear a lot of nice things about Joe today, but what you won't hear a lot about is how much he hated Muhammad Ali. *Hated*. He could just as easily have hated George Foreman, who both took away his title and ended his career (and was a bit of beast himself back then, instead of the genial George we have today), but no -- Joe saved up all his venom for Ali.

Frazier fought Ali three times, beating him once (with a trip to the hospital for good measure). In real terms, they beat each other senseless -- Ali called their Thrilla in Manilla "the closest you can be to death".

Why all the hard feelings? Ali liked to describe Frazier with words like ignorant, gorilla and Uncle Tom.

So Frazier went into the ring trying to kill him.

Years later, he wouldn't even defer to call him Muhammad Ali; he called him Cassius Clay instead. When Ali lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta, Frazier told a reporter that he would like to throw Ali into the fire. Which would have make him Smokin' Ali, I guess.

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The winner of the calendar draw is Sheri. Yay, Sheri!

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