Today I celebrate the life of Joseph William Frazier.
I knew Joe personally, though only slightly and all too fleetingly. I knew an uneducated, ineloquent, hurt man. Yet happy, kind and hospitable.
I grew up knowing about Joe, hearing of his exploits, watching the replays. That indomitable man who held his own at the pinnacle of his sport in the glory, glory days of it.
That left hook. The one that stopped Ali in the 15th at the Garden in the year I was born, that I bet my Uncle Winston still celebrates as the most deserved.
That will. Bursting with pride for the man as he climbs from the canvas six times, obliterated, in Kingston.
That character. Aghast as he tries to come out,
for the 15th in Manilla. Literally blind after the world's greatest televised hiding, both delivered and received.
Giving as good as he got.
That smile. The simple pleasure Joe took from sitting down with a kid from the other side of the world and a country he'd never heard of just to talk for a while.
One of my fondest memories will remain, bringing that smile to your face Joe. And knowing that once upon a time, I made your day.
Rest in Peace, Champ.
-SRA. Auckland, 7/xi 2011.