Thousands come to honor “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier

Thousands of dignitaries, friends and fans showed up today to remember legendary boxer Joe Frazier at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

Among those in attendance were Muhammad Ali, promoter Don King, former basketball player Dennis Rodman, Rev. Jesse Jackson. Frazier, who is most known for his three classic bouts with Ali, died last week at age 67 after a bout with cancer.

Jackson, who is a native of South Carolina like Frazier, called for the erection of a Frazier statue in Philadelphia, which is well known for its tribute to fictional boxer Rocky Balboa.

“Tell them Rocky was not a champion, Joe Frazier was,” Jackson said to thunderous applause. He also described Frazier as “an ordinary Joe who rose to extraordinary heights.”

The crowd also saw video messages from businessman Donald Trump, former boxer Mike Tyson and actor Mickey Rourke, whose rambling tribute was cut short and including dogs barking in the background. The service also included soulful singing from Enon’s choir and gospel artist Rev. Marvin Winans.

Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, pastor of Enon, delivered the eulogy, talking about Frazier’s ability to recover from one of the worst moments of his career – a loss to George Foreman that featured the famous call from the announcer declaring “down goes Frazier.”

Frazier was also remembered as a down-to-earth man, who represented Philadelphia well and loved giving back. Frazier’s 32-4-1 record earned him induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

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