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Muhammad Ali Says He’ll Remember Joe Frazier With Respect

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40 years ago... Joe Frazier knocks Muhammed Ali to the mat. (AP Photo)

40 years ago… Joe Frazier knocks Muhammed Ali to the mat. (AP Photo)

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Muhammad Ali says he will always remember Joe Frazier with admiration and respect.

Frazier died Monday night after a battle with liver cancer at age 67. He and Ali will be linked forever, both heavyweight champions and bitter rivals in the boxing ring who fought each other during three epic bouts in the 1970s.

Frazier won the first one at Madison Square Garden in the Fight of the Century.

Ali won the last two, cementing his legend as The Greatest, and was as rough on Frazier outside the ring as he was between the ropes. He called him a gorilla and mocked him as an Uncle Tom.

But after Frazier’s death, Ali issued a brief statement with kind words for Smokin’ Joe.

“The world has lost a great champion,” he said. “My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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