Services set for boxing legend Joe Frazier

Boxing great Joe Frazier's funeral service will be held Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

Story highlights

  • Services are scheduled for Monday in Philadelphia
  • Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer only recently
  • Public may view his remains Friday, Saturday

The family of boxing great Joe Frazier on Wednesday announced details of his Philadelphia funeral services and said he died as "one of God's men."

Frazier, who handed the legendary Muhammad Ali his first defeat, died Monday, just a month after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

The 67-year-old athlete's remains will be in public view at the Wells Fargo Center from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, the family said. "This will be an opportunity for his many fans, supporters and boxing lovers from around the world to pay their final respects to Joe Frazier."

The service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

"The Family of Joe Frazier continues to stress that they want everyone to know that Joe Frazier was a man of God and a man who loved all of his family," relatives said in a statement.

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Star boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather offered to pay for Frazier's funeral. The family said donations in Frazier's memory can be made to the American Cancer Society.

The former heavyweight champion became a legend in his own right and personified the gritty working-class style of his hard-knuckled hometown, Philadelphia -- a fitting setting for the "Rocky" film series, starring Sylvester Stallone as hardscrabble boxer Rocky Balboa. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter called Frazier the "quintessential Philadelphia boxer."

    "You could hear him coming, snorting and grunting and puffing, like a steam engine climbing a steep grade," Bill Lyon wrote in a Philadelphia Inquirer column about Frazier, nicknamed "Smokin' Joe."

    Frazier used his devastating left hook with impunity during his professional career, retiring in 1976 with a 32-4-1 record and staging one last comeback fight in 1981.

    Frazier bested Ali at 1971's "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden. In the 15th round, Frazier landed perhaps the most famous left hook in history, catching Ali on the jaw and dropping the former champ for a four-count, according to Frazier's bio at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Frazier left the ring as the undisputed champ and handed Ali his first professional loss.

    Ali won a 12-round decision in a January 1974 rematch, setting the stage for the classic "Thrilla in Manila" just outside the Philippine capital in 1975. Ali took the early rounds, but Frazier rebounded before losing the last five rounds. By the end of the 14th, Frazier's eyes were nearly swollen shut, and his corner stopped the bout, according to the biography.

    Frazier, a two-time heavyweight champion for nearly three years until he lost in January 1973 to George Foreman, ran a well-known boxing gym in Philadelphia for years.