Joe Frazier lost his battle with cancer on Monday night at the age of 67. For once, the advent of a 24/7 news cycle and immediate sharing of information brought about a beautiful result: some of the most important boxers of the past and present were able to immediately pay tribute to one of the greatest boxers that ever lived.
As the news spread, the first responses came via social media, when some of the younger boxers went online to post their comments about the legendary fighter.
One of the first to respond was the current boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr., who first sent out his condolences and then offered to pay for the funeral for Frazier, who had fallen into economic problems in the latter half of his life.
“RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family. We lost an all time great tonight,” said Mayweather via Twitter.
He later added, “My Condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. #TheMoneyTeam will pay for his Funeral services.”
Manny Pacquiao, currently considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world, also sent out his condolences, and paid tribute to the historic fighter.
“Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador,” said Pacquiao.
Perhaps the most touching tribute from a boxer came from the one boxer that always had Frazier’s number, George Foreman.
“Even his fighting style was his way of life,” Foreman said in an email to myfoxhouston.com. “When the bell rings he would not back up from King King! I knocked Joe down six times. When our fight was over, Joe was on his feet looking for me.”
Foreman considered Joe to be the only “everyday Joe” in the sport — the only one that truly lived for boxing.
“Talk about Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, even me, George Foreman, but the fact is there is only one common, ordinary everyday Joe and he is ‘the one and only Joe Frazier,'” said Foreman.
Another tribute came from the fighter that defined his career, and the only other fighter, aside from Foreman, to beat Frazier in his prime.
“The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones,” said Ali.
Photo via Ow.ly/MannyPacquiao