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Frazier, Joe

In the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, South Carolinian Joe Frazier won the gold medal in boxing. His heavyweight class, which is now considered the "super-heavyweight," was a competitive one that year, with the biggest and strongest boxers in the world in the category. His famous career is highlighted by bouts with Muhammad Ali, which he defeated. His three bouts with Ali are considered among boxing historians as some of the best fights of the century. In 1971, Ali was cleared to fight once again, (he had been eliminated from the World Boxing Association because of his refusal to enter the US Army) and he and Frazier would fight the championship fight in New York City. This event, which drew innumerable crowds, ended after fifteen rounds. The decision had to be made by judges, for neither fighter scored a knock out. Frazier was considered the unanimous victor.

Joe Frazier was born in 1944, near Beufort, South Carolina. He moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he began boxing in 1960. He competed in the Olympic trials, losing to Buster Mathis in the final round. Mathis, who broke a finger, was not able to compete in the Olympics. Frazier had to take his place at the Olympics, and went on to win the gold metal.

Frazier's boxing career went downhill shortly after he gained the World Title in 1971. In 1973, he lost a bout with George Forman, and therefore lost the Title. He also lost to Ali the same year. He did not win another important fight the rest of his career. He made an effort for a comeback in 1981, but settled for a draw. His amazing career record was 32 wins, 4 losses, and only 1 draw. He was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989.