Sad day. Goosebumps just writing this. But Joe Frazier is dying, sooner than later, and when he's gone boxing will have lost one of its toughest, its most talented, and its most underappreciated champions of all time.
Yes, I believe every word of that last sentence.
Joe Frazier, who is living his final days under hospice care because of liver cancer, is one of the best heavyweights of all time. He's the victim of timing, fighting during the heyday of the heavyweight division and retiring with a modest-looking (for an all-time great) record of 32-4-1. His only losses, though, came to Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, two losses each. He also beat Ali once, in addition to victories over high-quality heavyweights like Jimmy Ellis (twice), Jerry Quarry (twice), Bob Foster, Joe Bugner, Oscar Bonavena (twice), Buster Mathis and George Chuvalo.
Frazier had the size of a cruiserweight but the heart of a lion. Remember how dominating Mike Tyson was, earlier in his career? That was Frazier. Same size, same relentlessness, same ferocity.
Frazier is 67 years old, and with his next birthday Jan. 12, it doesn't look good that he'll make it to 68. May his final days be as enjoyable as possible.
Update, 4:24 p.m.: Here's a 6-minute highlight video of Frazier. Riveting.