Though it may not be the most famous fight of Joe Frazier's Hall of Fame career, his 1969 bout with "Irish" Jerry Quarry was indeed one of the best, a slugfest of epic proportions that won the 1969 Fight of the Year award from RING Magazine.
Frazier, 23-0 at the time and all of 25 years old, was owner of the NYSAC world heavyweight title. The incredibly popular, 24-year-old Quarry was 31-2-4 entering the fight. Also known as "The Bellflower Bomber," Quarry was named by RING the most popular fighter in the sport from, 1968 to 1971. All four years.
The fight is brutal, it is savage, and it is a truly great one.
Frazier and Quarry would rematch in 1974, five months after Frazier lost the second fight with Muhammad Ali. Frazier won in five that time out.
Jerry Quarry passed away in 1999 at the young age of 53. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia, and then suffered cardiac arrest. In his later years, Quarry suffered from dementia pugilistica, as did his brother Mike (who passed in 2006), and his brother Bobby, who turns 49 on November 11, suffers today from Parkinson syndrome. All three were professional boxers, with Jerry the most successful and well-known.
The Jerry Quarry Foundation is a fund set up to help battle dementia pugilistica.
Though it may seem a bit tough after reading that to get into the mood to see a fight, it's a harsh reality of the sport, and it shouldn't be tucked away. Jerry Quarry was a tough, tough man, and took some beatings over his professional career. He is also remembered today as an incredibly brave fighter, and still has many fans.