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'The Fight's Over, Joe'
William Nack
September 30, 1996
More than two decades after they last met in the ring, Joe Frazier is still taking shots at Muhammad Ali, but this time it's a war of words
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September 30, 1996

'the Fight's Over, Joe'

More than two decades after they last met in the ring, Joe Frazier is still taking shots at Muhammad Ali, but this time it's a war of words

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Wolf understands Frazier's rage, but he sees Ali today and does not see the man behind the cruel jibes of the past. "I'm not sure that part exists anymore," Wolf says. "Whether it is the Parkinson's or just maturing, that part of him is gone." So that leaves Frazier, imprisoned in the past, raging against a ghost.

Lewis, still a close friend of Frazier's, has pleaded with him to cut Ali loose. At the real root of Frazier's discontent, says Lewis, is his sense that history has not dealt with him fairly—that his Olympic triumph and his heavyweight championship years have been forgotten, and that time has turned him into just another stitch in the embroidery of Ali's legend. "You have your place in history, and Ali has his," Lewis tells Frazier. "You can't reflect back in bitterness. Let it go."

Futch's gentle voice still rings the clearest. His words in Manila, after 14 savage rounds that left Frazier's eyes nearly as blind as his heart is now, still echo faint but true. "The fight's over, Joe.... The fight's over, Joe.... The fight's over, Joe."

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