This writer did an article on “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s passing back on November 7th of 2011 after attending his funeral. I will try recapping some that was said and who was there such as Canadian champion George Chuvalo who not only fought Frazier but anyone they would put before him.
There have been many stories about Frazier by people who knew him or ran into him. One of the people who knew Frazier best was his business manager Les Wolff who loved Frazier. He was working for him the last seven years of his life. He had him in such countries as the UK and Australia that I was aware of.
On June 13th of 2011 through Wolff Wilmington, DE, writer Dave Ruff brought Frazier down to the Fraim‘s Boy’s & Girl’s Club. Former DE middleweight contender Dave “TNT” Tiberi was in attendance. In an email to me this is what Tiberi had to say: I was always impressed with the response I would receive when I asked the champ to visit DE for different events going on. I asked him a few years ago to be the main attraction for an event that I put on called “the Night of Champions.” The champ was a big hit that evening. He spent the evening shaking hands and taking pictures with everyone.
It had been approximately five months before Frazier’s passing that he went to the Club in Wilmington and spoke to about one hundred people about life and how important it is to obey your parents. After the speech the champ signed autographs for each kid and adult. The special part about the autograph signing was the fact that he took the time before each signing and asked each person’s name.
Ruff is a one of a kind person who has boxed over 60 exhibitions including several with Tiberi. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months didn’t keep Ruff from eventually becoming a fighter, manager and trainer.
This is what his email said: I first met Joe Frazier in 1977 at Fouriner Hall, in Wilmington, DE. I was sitting in the stands watching the fights and he walked up to me and shook my hand. We had a brief talk then.
The second time was at the Radisson Hotel in Wilmington. It was the DE Golden Gloves Week, when DE had its own GG tournament. Pat Duffy had just made me the honorary Golden Gloves champ. It was early in the morning. They had a press conference. Frazier and Mike Castle, the former governor, were addressing the state on DE Golden Glove Week. They had me pretending that I was going to knock out Joe Frazier and I shoot my fist up at him with my trainer Jimmy Lancaster holding me back and Frazier looking down at me with a mean face. The photo appeared in the Wilmington News Journal and got a lot of publicity.
The third time I met Joe was when one of Lancaster’s boxers was to have boxed Hector Frazier at Joe’s gym, for the PA Golden Gloves. Lancaster’s boxer pulled out of the fight. Then I met Joe and his family again down at DE State University in Dover when they had the USA vs Ireland boxing matches. I used to talk to his son Marvis on and off at the gym. He would put me through to Joe. Joe did some PR work for the mayor of Wilmington. I will deeply miss Joe Frazier. Our friendship has been greater since he’s been involved with Les Wolff. I think his passing is a deep loss for boxing.
Frazier had two viewings at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday. This writer along with Ruff attended the service Monday at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
A week before Frazier’s death in an interview with 82 year old former referee and boxing judge Frank Cappuccino he said “we just got a statue for Joey Giardello. Now I think it’s time we work on getting one for Joe Frazier.” It took years but Frazier’s statue was erected in South Philadelphia on September 12th in 2015 at XFINITY Live. Marvis Frazier and Rev. Blane Newbery of the Ebon Tabernacle Baptist Church were in attendance.