Smokin’ Joe makes another comeback

Published November 9, 2020

Just as Smokin’ Joe could come back, in the ring, after taking a punch, he came back, this year, after dying of cancer in 2011, to cast a vote. It was of course an absentee ballot. Smokin’ Joe mailed it in from heaven.

We’d like to see this vote because, since Smokin’ Joe was a Republican, we’re pretty confident whom he’d have voted for in this year’s election.

Joe Frazier was a boxer during a Golden Age of heavyweight boxing. This Golden Age featured boxers like George Foreman and Ken Norton, promoter Don King, announcer Howard Cosell, and, of course, the Greatest, Muhammed Ali. Frazier’s three bouts with Ali were among the best of all time.

Frazier, a compact boxer, relentlessly pursued his opponent, boobing and weaving to avoid punches, while working his opponent’s body before delivering the knock-out blow. Ali’s style was completely different. Tall and having an advantage in reach, Ali used footwork to stay out of his opponent’s range, while delivering jabs. But, don’t kid yourself, Ali was as able as anybody to take a punch.

Both Frazier and Ali entered their first match undefeated, Frazier WBA and WBC heavyweight champion, and Ali a former champion who had been stripped of his title for avoiding the draft. Frazier won that match, following which Ali won the next two. Each of the three matches featured a distinctive name: the Fight of the Century, the Rumble in the Jungle, and the Thrilla in Manila.

Being reminded of Philadelphia’s connection to boxing, Smokin’ Joe’s relentless style, his ability to take a punch and come back strong, I thought you might want to join another Philadelphia boxer, albeit fictional, Rocky Balboa, on his “Rocky Run.” The Rocky Run begins in an Italian-American neighborhood, proceeds to downtown Philadelphia and then continues to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The original Rocky Run:

Just as Rocky Balboa turned to coaching after he hung up the gloves, so did Joe Frazier. His son Mavis compiled a record of 19 and 2, and retired from boxing after a match with a rising star, Mike Tyson. His daughter Jacqueline, Jacqui, or Sister Smoke, compiled a record of 13 and 1. Her one loss was to the daughter of Muhammed Ali.

Nowadays, Jacqueline Frazier is a municipal judge in Philadelphia. Because her father’s vote would be in question, she might have to recuse herself if judges are called to recount the mail ballots.