Other Sport

Fans say goodbye to Frazier

2011-11-12 10:00
Joe Frazier (File)

Pennsylvania - Thousands of boxing fans converged on Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center arena on Friday for a public memorial to mourn former undisputed world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier.

Fans braved cold and whipping winds to line up and pay their respects to the hall-of-fame fighter, who died Monday at the age of 67 after a battle with liver cancer.

Organisers estimate that 15 000 people will file through the building over two days.

Frazier was laid out in the middle of the venue in a white closed casket. A black cowboy hat and white blanket that said, "Heavyweight Champion of the World, Smokin' Joe Frazier - Your friend, Jake" were placed on top.

Next to the casket was a fight poster of Frazier's first epic fight against boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 1971, and an American flag. There was also an autographed portrait of Frazier on display.

"Joe had that smile, that championship smile," said one fan, Samantha Ramey. "When I met him, he made me feel like I knew him his whole life. That's the kind of man he was. He strolled around with a cane and that cowboy hat."

Private funeral services for Frazier will be held Monday at a Philadelphia church.

Ali is expected to attend, as are former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson. George Foreman, the only man other than Ali to beat Frazier twice, said he could not attend but offered to pay some of the burial costs.

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