by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Mohammed Ali was most famous for bragging. He would intimidate his opponents and say, “I fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” But when he faced Joe Fraizer, aka Somokin Joe, the tables turned as Fraizer taunted Ali.
Frazier famously wrote of Ali in his autobiography: “A white lawyer kept him out of jail. And he’s going to Uncle Tom me. THEE Greatest, he called himself. Well, he wasn’t The Greatest, and he certainly wasn’t THEE Greatest. It became my mission to show him the error of his foolish pride. Beat it into him.”
It wasn’t an empty threat. At the Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971, in what was dubbed the ‘Fight of the Century’, Frazier took out Ali in the 15th round with a left hook sending him sprawling to the canvas. Frazier, who had previously remained unbeaten won a unanimous decision and handed Ali the first defeat of his pro career.
Frazier went on to successfully defend his title against Terry Daniels and Ron Stander before he lost it to George Foreman in 1973. Foreman knocked Frazier down six times in the first two rounds before the fight was stopped.