Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali: a timeline of trash-talk

Nov 8, 2011

Smokin' Joe and the Louisville Lip never saw eye to eye, which was great for everyone else

ONE of boxing's greats, 'Smokin' Joe Frazier, died last night from liver cancer at the age of 67. He will be remembered best for his thrilling bouts with Muhammad Ali in the early 1970s.

The two fighters did not get on, and their rivalry became legendary. They took part in three historic bouts, starting with the 'Fight of the Century' (above) in 1971, won by Frazier, to the 'Thriller in Manila' four years later, but outside the ring their battle was equally ferocious. Although their relations were to mellow a little, there was no love lost between them in the early days, as these verbal jabs prove.

Frazier to President Richard Nixon when Ali was suspended from the sport for draft dodging: "I want you to give Ali his licence back. I want to beat him up for you."

Ali, before their first fight: "Joe Frazier is an Uncle Tom. He works for the enemy."

Ali, as he entered the ring with Frazier: "You sure you’re not scared Joe?

Frazier, after he had won the fight: "Yeah. I kicked your ass."

Frazier, on the purse for a proposed rematch: "I would burn in hell before I gave him an even split."

The pair met on Dick Cavett's talk show before their rematch and discussed the aftermath of their first fight
Ali: "I went to the hospital for 10 minutes. You went for a month."
Frazier: "I was resting."
Ali: "That shows how dumb you are. See how ignorant you are?"

Frazier, after losing the fight on points: "I won that fight. It was a mug job."

Ali, in the build-up to the 'Thriller in Manila': "Joe Frazier should give his face to The Wildlife Fund! He's so ugly, blind men go the other way. Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! He not only looks bad, you can smell him in another country! What will the people in Manila think? That black brothers are animals. Ignorant. Stupid. Ugly and smelly."

Frazier: "I don’t want to knock him out. I want to take his heart out."

Ali, after winning the bout: "It was the closest thing to dying."

Frazier, speaking about Ali's battle with Parkinson's: "He's damaged goods. I know it; you know it. Everyone knows it... He was always making fun of me. I'm the dummy; I'm the one getting hit in the head. Tell me now, him or me: Which one talks worse now?"

Ali: "Joe Frazier is a good man... And if God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier fighting beside me."

Frazier, after Ali lit the Olympic torch: "They should have thrown him in."

Frazier: "Nobody has anything but good things to say about Muhammad now. I'd do anything he needed for me to help."

Ali, on hearing of his rival’s cancer diagnosis: "My family and I are keeping Joe and his family in our daily prayers. Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I'm one of them."

Ali: "The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration."

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