When the most well-known call of your career involves you being on the losing end, it probably doesn’t sounds like the most ringing endorsement. But when Howard Cosell made his passionate “down goes Frazier” call on January 22, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica when George Foreman knocked out Joe Frazier to snatch away the heavyweight title, it was with complete shock. Because Smokin’ Joe was just that good.
Smokin’ Joe would’ve turned 73 today, passing away on November 7, 2011 from complications from liver cancer.
In his 37-fight career, Frazier only had four losses, two to Foreman and two to Muhammad Ali. Twenty-seven of those wins were by knockout and five were by decision, including the time he beat Ali in their first fight in 1971.
You may just remember it from the “Rocky” movies, but throwing in the towel can happen it real life too, as Frazier showed when he dominated Jimmy Ellis on February 16, 1970 and caused his trainer to throw in the towel after a devastating left hook in the fourth round.
On June 2, 1969, Frazier defended his New York State title against Jerry Quarry and sent the 24-year-old packing in the seventh round after Quarry’s eye was swollen so bad that the ref had to call it. The fight was named Ring Magazine’s Fight of The Year.
And you can’t celebrate the legendary career of Joe Frazier without looking back on some of his greatest knockouts.