COME OUT SMOKIN': Joe Frazier -- The Champ Nobody Knew by Phil Pepe

COME OUT SMOKIN': Joe Frazier -- The Champ Nobody Knew

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If this bio of heavyweight champion Joe Frazier were a boxer it would rank somewhere between journeyman puncher and tank town stiff. You get little more than a predictable blow-by-furbelow account from birth to ""The Fight"" -- kindly old dad Rubin believing from the day Joe was born that he would become a ""second Joe Louis""; Frazier, kneehigh to a cornfritter, beating the dickens out of his homemade punching bag in the old wagon shed; mom claiming that it was her stewed crab that built up Joe into such a big feller; Joe singing in the Baptist Church choir and reading the Bible (he still sings with his group The Knockouts and dips into the Good Book before each fight); Joe leaving Beaufort (South Carolina) at 15 (""I caught the first thing smokin' North""); winning the 1964 Olympic heavyweight title; fighting as a pro, finally gaining recognition as a serious challenger to the defrocked Ali despite his short reach and ""tree-stump"" legs and lumbering style (""subtle as a punch in the mouth""). Pepe doesn't think Frazier can be called one of the great champs because he's so ""totally uncomplicated and noncontroversial"" that people just don't care about him -- and the upcoming bout with young Terry Daniels on January 15 probably won't change anyone's mind. This one can't lay a glove on Jose Torres' . . . Sting Like a Bee (p. 927), the story of Ali and a real winner.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1971
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan