Muhammad Ali leads tributes as rival Joe Frazier passes away - VIDEO
Floyd Mayweather, ‘Money’ and Oscar De La Hoya among champions who paid their respects
Champion boxer Joe Frazier passed away on Tuesday evening having suffered from liver cancer.Today Muhammad Ali, paid tribute to Frazier saying “The world has lost a great champion."
Tributes from the boxing world and beyond poured in for the 57-year-old boxer who famously battled with Ali, whose family hails from Ennis, County Clare.
Frazier beat Ali in the “Fight of the Century” in 1971, on points, but then lost in two meetings including the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila”.
Although the boxers jabbed taunts back and forth during their sparring days in recent years they were on better terms.
According to Sky Sports 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."
Boxing promoter Frank Warren told BBC Radio 5 the fights Frazier had between Ali and George Foreman means he will be remembered always on one of the sporting greats.
He said “He was part of that era of the best heavyweights there have ever been.
"The trilogy of fights that he had with Muhammad Ali, the tough fight he had with George Foreman and the good wins on the way - he was one of the most exciting heavyweights ever.
"People talk about Mike Tyson at the age of 21 - Joe Frazier, when he was a young fella, was every bit (as good as), if not better than, Mike Tyson."
Bill Kaplan, Foreman's long-time publicist said “The first fight with Ali, at the time it was considered to be the biggest fight promotion of all time and it probably still is.
"Ali and Frazier were both undefeated, Ali had been on a forced hiatus for three-and-a-half years and while he was gone Joe became what we knew as the undisputed heavyweight champion.
"Ali came back, had a couple of fights and then felt he was ready to fight Joe to prove who was the real heavyweight champion.
"I'm sure his proudest moment was when he won that fight."
British former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis added on 5 Live: "He definitely was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing.
Boxing star Floyd Mayweather tweeted “RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family. We lost an all time great tonight."
The boxer known as “Money” said “My Condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. £TheMoneyTeam will pay for his Funeral services."
Oscar De La Hoya wrote simply: "I will miss you my friend. R.I.P. Joe frazier", while Shane Mosley added: "Joe Frazier one of the greatest heavy weight champion (sic) ever. RIP."
"I'm so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It's very sad for boxing today."
Vitali Klitschko, WBC champion and brother of fellow heavyweight Wladimir, said Frazier's legacy resonated down the generations.
"He was a huge fighter, huge champion, huge personality…I didn't have a chance to see his fights live because in 1971 I was just born, when Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali.
"In the Soviet Union professional boxing was forbidden but we studied and listened about this fighter a lot, and after that we had a chance to see the fights. It was a great lesson for all new generations.
"I didn't have a chance to meet him personally but I listened about him so much and that's why he will be always in the memory of the new generations.
"He was a great fighter and for me and my brother I want to say sorry for the whole of boxing because he died and together with him died a big era of great champions."
Here’s footage from the 1974 fight between Ali and Frazier:
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