In retirement, Frazier seemed like a man chased by ghosts. Overshadowed by the legend surrounding the charismatic Ali, Frazier felt that his own legacy was diminished, and he bristled at having his accomplishments undermined. His seething rivalry with Ali went far beyond boxing and over the years, developed into a sports tragedy with a dramatis personae of two. “Joe Frazier truly despised Ali,” wrote Ferdie Pacheco.
In the ring, Frazier embodied the hard-earned dignity unique to prizefighters who cannot—or will not—separate boxing from such concepts as honor, pride and respect.
“I guess you could say I was just about always the underdog,” Frazier told the Philadelphia Daily News. “But all that just makes me work harder. It makes me love harder.” Read more from The Cruelest Sport.