Smokin’ Joe Frazier 1944 – 2011

How would I know Joe Frazier, who beat Mohammad Ali in 1971, in the “fight of the century”, and then lost his title to Joe Foreman two years later, in 1973.
Boxing was in its hay day back in those days, Joe was on the top of his game, among other notables, and the Frazier – Ali rivalry was well known. Joe was also a Philadelphian.
Alison and I, who were recently married in 1973, would drive down to the Bridal Path, part of the Wissahickon State Park and Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system, and run for miles – ending at what used to be the Philadelphia Mounted Police stables.
We were just finishing such a run, when we came upon a group of big black guys. Frankly, we were almost scared shitless. The guy wearing very shiny purple patent leather running shoes was none other than Joe Frazier. He asked Alison and I if we wanted to go for a run with them – and we did, for a bit. Very nice guy – and a very cool experience.
He was just under 30, at the time. Mohammad Ali’s passing in June, 2016 brought back this vivid memory.