He beat Muhammad Ali in the Fight of the Century, battled him nearly to the death in the Thrilla in Manila. Then Joe Frazier spent the rest of his life trying to fight his way out of Ali's shadow.
That was one fight Frazier never could win.
He once was a heavyweight champion, and a great one at that. Ali would say as much after Frazier knocked him down in the 15th round en route to becoming the first man to beat Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971.
But he bore the burden of being Ali's foil, and he paid the price. Bitter for years about the taunts his former nemesis once threw his way, Frazier only in recent times came to terms with what happened in the past and said he had forgiven Ali for everything he said.
Frazier, who died Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, forever will be linked to Ali. But no one in boxing would ever dream of anointing Ali as "The Greatest" unless he, too, was linked to Smokin' Joe.
Reportedly, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has offered to pay for Frazier's funeral in tribute to the man's legacy.
RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to to the Frazier family. We lost an all time great tonight. My Condolences go out to the family of the late great Joe Frazier. The Money Team will pay for his Funeral services.
Our condolences to his family, and in the words of our ancestors, anedge hirak Joe Frazier.