JOE FRAZIER is a country boy who lived by the old country adage that: "when you go to the big party, you dance with the one who brung ya." In Frazier's case it was a left hook. But to classify Frazier as merely a "left hooker" would be like saying Marilyn Monroe was a blonde.
The son of a South Carolina sharecropper, he became a boxer by accident. He first went to a gym to work himself into shape. Shortly after, he began fighting competitively and became one of the best amateur heavyweights in the nation. He didn't lose until he ran into Buster Mathis, who decisioned him in the 1964 Olympic trials. But, Mathis suffered a hand injury and Frazier replaced him at the Summer Games in Tokyo and came home with a gold medal.