I heard the news last night. Memories came fast to mind, the perfect picture of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fights; The wins, the losses, The Thrilla in Manila.
“Get up, get up from your dying bed Champ. Let us fight this one more time”, I envisioned Muhammad Ali say to Joe Frazier if he was by his bedside. “Get up you handsome man, let us fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee” , might have been his last words to him as a tear drop trickled down his eye, holding on tight to his left hand while he took his last breath.
Philadelphia Eagles leading Chicago Bears, 17-10, the breaking news “Frazier dead at 67, after a battling liver cancer“. Philadelphia had just lost a legend and along with him, the Philadelphia Eagles had lost the game to Chicago to turn the lights off. Today the whole Philadelphia mourns, the whole boxing nation mourns, the family and friends mourn. I mourn too, but why?
As I sat down to think, one question came in mind. Who was Smokin Joe Frazier outside Muhammad Ali?
Mhh, no idea. My whole life has always been “Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali”. After searching all over the internet and got nothing but his generosity that led him to losing millions of dollars, my question still remained the same and my answer, the same. I did not know a damn thing about Joe Frazier. So why did it hurt me about his death? Why did I care? Why was I grieving? Why am I writing this? Did he have an impact in my life? Who was Joe Frazier to me? Minutes passed and after reading my bible it dawned on me. I finally got the answer, it was simple ,”A joy in the midst of grief”
I read this chapter in the Bible, Ezra 3: 10-13,
“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: ‘He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.”
A joy in the midst of Grief?
See Joe Frazier to me was a “Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali fight”, which was a joy to watch. Even with the black and white fuzzy video recording, you could feel “orijinality”, strength, pride, power and freedom. Yes freedom, freedom fighters that fought to bring pride through the culture of boxing to people of all color, changing the perception that people had on African-Americans and minorities. They were heroes to blacks and whites, we all wanted to be like them. They gave a voice to the unspoken; politically and socially. They played part in bringing equality and unity in America and other parts of the world that got to witness a Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali fight. The black or white skin did not matter, religion did not matter, cultural differences did not matter, they brought people close to each other. It doesn’t matter who won or lost, they fought a battle for me to raise my self-esteem and be proud to say I am African-American. They fought a battle for me to be blessed to work everyday and bring a loaf of bread to my family, they fought to make my mother, sister and daughter have a voice in this world today. They fought fought for my dignity. I am as strong as Joe Frazier and Mohammed Ali, I can battle the world with a powerful left hook from Joe Frazier. Let the story be told, let it inspire you, teach it to the generations to come. The Great warriors of the Thrilla in Manila who paved the way for us. I will sing with joy in the midst of grief.
“There’s no way in the world you should come to Philadelphia and not recognize who Joe Frazier is. It’s the perfect time to build the biggest statue in appreciation for all the heart and love he gave to Philadelphia,” Hopkins said. “It’s just to say how we regret when it’s not there to touch and see. We didn’t realize we had a super special person amongst us that we all in a way took for granted. I said this when he was living, I say this now. That’s the only thing.”
“I always bring out the best in men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him” Muhammad Ali After The Thrilla In Manila fight with Joe Frazier
“Life doesn’t run away from nobody. Life runs at people“. Joe Frazier
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