Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali said Sunday that he is praying for Joe Frazier, his most storied opponent, as Frazier is currently in hospice for liver cancer.
Ali, who changed his name from Cassius Clay when he converted to Islam, fought Frazier in a 1971 match dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier beat Ali after 15 rounds.
The Associated Press's report of Frazier's illness includes these details about the relationship between Ali and Frazier:”
Frazier was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali, knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” bout.
Frazier was bitter for many years about the way Ali treated him then. More recently, he said he had forgiven Ali for repeatedly taunting him.
“The news about Joe is hard to believe and even harder to accept. Joe is a fighter and a champion and I am praying he is fighting now.
“My family and I are keeping Joe and his family in our daily prayers. Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I’m one of them. “
“We appreciate every prayer we can get,” Frazier’s manager Leslie Wolff said. “I’ve got everybody praying for him. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope for a miracle.”