I have many fond memories of 'Smokin' Joe". As a fifteen year old, the lead up to his first fight with Ali, was as exciting as Christmas, as I counted off the days to the fight.
I have never been very good at drawing or art, but Joe fascinated me and I tried to capture with a charcoal drawing, the Joe that I saw in my mind. I spent weeks working on and perfecting that drawing. It did actually receive praise from the school art teacher, then I went back to my normal pictures of matchstick men!
I have included a link to this clip from 'Carmen Jones." I fell in love with the movie when I first saw it as a toddler and Joe always reminded me of Husky Miller. I sincerely hope that Joe, who never took a backward step in the ring, will "stand up and fight." Sure, we will all hear the final bell one day, but till then - stand up and fight like hell.
Stand Up And Fight - Carmen Jones
Today brought the sad news that Joe Frazier passed away. Thanks for the memories Joe, you were one of the breed of boxers that has not been seen since. I would often lie wake with a transistor radio hidden the blankets waiting for the results of your fights - especially your first fight against Ali.
You may have been responsible for my being late for school many times, but it was worth it. What you taught me about courage and never giving up, was worth more than any teacher could ever teach.
R.I.P. Joe, a class act in and out of the ring.
Copyright Mike Hitchen, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved