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Floyd Mayweather offers to pay for Joe Frazier's funeral

November 8, 2011 |  8:26 am

Photo: Joe Frazier in an undated photo. Credit: Will Everly III / MCTThe death of boxing great Joe Frazier on Monday night has touched millions, including a deep admirer of the sport's history, unbeaten world welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

On Twitter late Tuesday after hearing of Frazier's death, Mayweather tweeted, "My condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. #TheMoneyTeam will pay for his Funeral services."

Mayweather has committed to such a gesture before, earlier this year paying for the funeral of a one-time opponent, Southland former world champion Genaro Hernandez.

Photos: Joe Frazier through the years

Frazier, who died at 67 of liver cancer, had struggled financially after his boxing career ended.

He made public appearances to earn income, such as one just this summer at Saratoga Race Track in New York to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of the first fight in his epic trilogy against Muhammad Ali. Those who were there were concerned by how frail Frazier looked. On Saturday, word came he was receiving hospice care -- near death.

Frazier won the 1971 bout -- called the Fight of the Century -- at Madison Square Garden in New York, with an estimated 300 million watching at closed-circuit venues, according to his manager. The loss was Ali's first, as Frazier knocked Ali down in the 15th round with his signature left hook and won by decision.

He lost a decision to the skilled Ali in the rematch, and then the pair engaged in a war for the ages, the Thrilla in Manila, in 1975.

"This was it for both of them, the end of the world, a war that neither could lose," the fight's co-promoter, Bob Arum, said. "Ali didn't let on that he was nervous. But I know Ali. He was nervous. There was so much tension in both of those camps. You can't believe it."

Ali won the early rounds, Frazier won the middle rounds, and Ali found enough resolve in a sweltering arena to outslug his ultimate foil in the masterpiece to what is perhaps sport's greatest rivalry.

If you've never watched it, or needed a reminder of what greatness and toughness existed during the peak of the heavyweight division, watch this 14th round of the classic in the Philippines.

Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, stopped the bout after the 14th, with Frazier's essentially unable to see out of either eye.

"Sit down, son," Futch told Frazier. "It's all over. Nobody will ever forget what you did here today."

Indeed, Ali wrote in a statement Tuesday that, 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."

Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee, emailed The Times on Wednesday morning to observe, "Joe Frazier was a friend. He was such an asset. When you fought, it was always excitement. He will be missed and remembered."

Frazier lost only four fights -- two to Ali, and two to George Foreman, who posted on Twitter late Tuesday: "Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend." 

Fittingly, Futch's trainer protege, the multiple trainer of the year Freddie Roach, will lead his great Filipino fighter, Manny Pacquiao, to the squared circle Saturday night in Las Vegas to complete Pacquiao's own trilogy with Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez.

A 10-count will be performed in memory of the great 1964 U.S. Olympic gold medalist from Philadelphia who stood as world heavyweight champion from 1968-73.

ALSO:

Frazier vs. Ali: Fight of the century [Video]

Magic Johnson celebrates 20 years of living with HIV

Twenty years later, Magic Johnson is 'living proof' of surviving HIV

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Joe Frazier in an undated photo. Credit: Will Everly III / MCT

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