Joe Frazier never got enough from us. Never enough affection, never enough respect. Joe Frazier never got the love we poured down so freely on Muhammad Ali. For this I blame myself.
As a child of the 1960s, what I recall of Joe Frazier is indissoluble from what I remember of Muhammad Ali. Like a lot of kids back then, Ali was my hero. Frazier therefore only the foil, the villain, the second banana. I was too young and stupid to understand that each made the other; that each would create the other's history.
For a little more than four years, from March of 1971 to October of 1975, Ali's titanic struggle against Joe Frazier marked modern boxing's golden age. Three times they fought -- from the "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden to that last humid morning in Manila -- and three times they killed and resurrected one another.