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Old 12-29-2011, 06:09 AM   #1
general zod
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Default The Frazier-Ali feud 2-2

The plan:
The man called Joe Frazier
The Frazier-Ali feud
The sad tale of Patterson I
The sad tale of Patterson II
The man called Muhammad Ali
The sad tale of Patterson III
Mike Tyson goes to war
The Frazier-Foreman fight
The build up to Manila
The Thrilla in Manila
The sad tale of Teddy Atlas
Frazier: life goes on


“I’m just talkin’, Joe,” Gypsy said. “Why you upset? So, where we
goin’, Joe?”
Frazier sat behind the wheel in thought for several minutes. “You
oughta watch things ya say, Gyp,” he said, adding, “We gonna see your
big man. See how big he is.”
“You gotta be kiddin’, right?” Gypsy asked.
“I ain’t no joker like you.”
Gypsy was wary and excited. Joe could be positively scary in a
mood like this. Generally, his pal was a man of small temper and
could trade insults with the best in the gym if it was all in the right
spirit, but Frazier was not someone who ever tolerated being shown
up or embarrassed. Once when Joe was young and shadow boxing,
another fighter the same size stood by laughing at his poor coordination.
He let him have his fun, then walked over to him, saying, “You
finished?” The fighter said, “I’ll let you know.” Joe grabbed him, lifted
him in the air, and sent him bouncing across the floor into a wall. “I
think you finished now,” Joe said as he stood over the guy, who was
clutching a broken arm. Gypsy remembered that encounter as he
looked across at Joe from the passenger seat. Gypsy had thought Joe
and Ali got along, but it was clear to him that something decidedly
nasty was “comin’ down.” Way too personal.



The Frazier Ali-feud 2-2
The Heavyweights
A series of threads about Frazier, Ali, Patterson and Tyson

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Until Ali went on the college lecture circuit he was cut off from
making money but also from what he most needed, the energy
source of a constant audience. According to Belinda, he feared that
he was shrinking, that he would become smaller by the day until
there would be nothing left. Frazier tried to allay his dread, “You’ll
be back. Better than ever.” Ali said, “Joe, you the big man now. You
gotta keep my name out there. Don’t let ’em forget.” To that end,
Frazier lobbied the press, Commission people, and rallied some old
champs like Joe Louis, who was unsympathetic to Ali, largely
because of his black nationalism, his loud presentation of self, and
his evasion of the military. Infuriated by how agreeable Joe was
when it came to Ali, Yank Durham exploded one day, “You better
start keeping your mouth shut about him. We don’t need him. He
needs us! Don’t you understand anything, boy? He using you. Wake
up, for chrissake!”


Frazier never forgot that exchange. “Yank was right the whole
time,” he said now, with regret as he took another small pull on the
brandy jug. Nor would he ever forget what took place some time
later, in 1969 in Philly, the abrupt severing of what Joe thought to
be a bond between them. The pair arranged a meeting, designed to
attract press attention and heat up the perception of them as inseparable
rivals. Ali was on WHAT-Radio, and Joe and Gypsy had the
interview on in the gym. “He somethin’, ain’t he?” Joe said to Gyp
with a laugh. Ali was into his usual government rant, then suddenly
shifted targets and began calling Joe clumsy, a fighter without
class, an Uncle Tom. Ali called Frazier a coward, and said if he wasn’t,
he should show up at the PAL gym in an hour and they’d settle
the matter. Gypsy recalled: “Joe crush the radio with his foot. He
say, `He makin’ a fool of me in my backyard.’” When Joe reached
the gym, it was packed, the ring posts bent by the surge of people
inside. With Ali screaming, Joe hurriedly stripped off his shirt. A
police sergeant, Vince Furlong, jumped between them, saying:
“None of that here. Take it to the park.” Ali said to Joe, “You follow,
or you a coward.”
Joe declined as Ali led a big crowd through the black ghetto to
Fairmount Park. But Durham hopped into his car and joined in the
parade behind Ali. Durham got up, raced up to Ali, and jabbed a finger
in his face. “I’ll fight you when you get a license,” Yank said, using
the personal pronoun that always bemused Frazier. “What the hell
you tryin’ to do here? You want work, come to our gym, and you can
work with my kids. I’ll pay you good. Joe’s no chump.” By not joining
Ali in the park, Joe felt silly, used, an object of ridicule and diminished
in stature. After Joe and Ali appeared on The Mike Douglas Show the
next day, Ali waited for him outside across the street. He then ran
across to Frazier, and threw a punch, a soft right, that caught Joe on
the shoulder. They grappled. Ali sent out another right, missing Joe
and zinging Durham, who held his eye. “You crazy motha****a,”
Durham shouted. He then motioned to some in the crowd to help
pull Joe away. On the way home, Frazier kept saying over and over to
Gypsy, “I can’t believe I trusted him.”
And so that same evening they drove over to see Ali at his Cherry
Hill house. Gypsy was saying, “Smoke, this ain’t right. Let it pass. He
wanna see you like this. He ain’t right in the head. You playin’ his
game.” Joe said: “It ain’t no game to me.” He then said, “You tell Yank
about this, and you be no friend of mine. Ever.” Two Muslims with
shoulder arms answered the door. One went back to fetch Ali, and he
came to the door with a big smile. He looked down at little Gypsy.
According to Gypsy years later, here is what took place.
“Who’s the shrimp?” Ali asked.
Gypsy shot back, “Yeah, gimme five inches, and I whup your faggot
ass good.”
Ali ignored him, saying to Joe, “Come on in. My, my, we have
some fun today.”
“Right here’ll do,” Joe said. “And it weren’t no fun for me. Showin’
me up like that. Right here in my hometown. Callin’ me names.”
The Muslims drew in closer to Ali. Joe said to them: “Them guns
don’t mean shit to me.”
Ali said: “Just fun, Joe. That’s all. Gotta keep my name out there.
Don’t mean nuthin’ by it.”
“Coward? Uncle Tom? Only one I’ve been Tommin’ for is you!
Names like that ain’t just fun. Those sorry-ass Muslims leadin’ you on
me. It gonna stop right here.”
“Don’t talk about my religion,” Ali said. “I can’t let ya do that. Go
home and cool down.”
“Ain’t ever gonna be coolin’ down now. **** your religion. We’re
talkin’ about me. Who I am.” Joe extended his hand, saying, “This is
black. You can’t take who I am. You turn on a friend for what? So you
impress them Muslim fools, so you be the big man.”

Ali said, “We finished talkin’.” He turned back into the house.
Frazier snapped, “That’s it, get the **** outta here. Hide behind
your shooters. You and me, it’s comin’. But I’ll die before ya get an
even split.”
On the way back to the car, Gypsy asked, “You feelin’ better?”



“Yeah,” Joe said. “For now.”


Next:

The sad tale of Patterson I


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