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Boxing champ Joe Frazier to be laid to rest Monday

OW Staff | 11/9/2011, 5 p.m.

Boxing great Joe Frazier's remains will be on view at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, the family has announced. "This will be an opportunity for his many fans, supporters and boxing lovers from around the world to pay their final respects to Joe Frazier."

The service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

The family referred to Frazier as "one of God's men," and said in a statement, "The family of Joe Frazier continues to stress that they want everyone to know that Joe Frazier was a man of God and a man who loved all of his family."

People will continue to talk about Joe Frazier's losses to Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, but the former world heavyweight boxing champion, who lost his brief bout with liver cancer, was a winner.

Frazier had supported Ali's return to boxing, but felt betrayed when Ali put down Frazier by calling him names like 'Uncle Tom" to promote their fights.

Frazier, whose death was confirmed Monday by his family, had been in a Philadelphia-area hospice. The former champ was 67.

Known for his famous "Thrilla in Manila" fight in 1975 against Muhammad Ali, whom he fought three times, "Smokin' Joe" Frazier was an inductee into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Frazier, at 5-11 and 205 pounds and considered small for a heavyweight, won 32 fights including 27 by knockouts. He lost four times, twice to Ali and twice to Foreman. Another fight ended in a draw.

Many friends and fans have made statements about the boxing icon.

Don King called him "a great gladiator. When Smokin' Joe came to the ring, you knew you had someone who was coming to fight. I was proud to have known and promoted him, and I was honored to call him a friend. The courage Smokin' Joe showed in 'The Thrilla in Manila' will remain in the hearts and minds of boxing fans around the globe forever."

Muhammad Ali said: "The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.

Promoter Bob Arum recalled: "He proved himself in the first fight to be a great, great man and a great, great warrior. The third fight was the greatest fight in the history of boxing. Ever. I still remember leaving the coliseum in Manila and going outside. The sun was so high in the sky beating down on us. It was almost eerie. It was unworldly what we had just seen. Two men fighting one of the greatest wars of all time. It's something I will never forget for all the years I have left."