Legendary Hall-of-Fame heavyweight champion Joe Frazier was laid to rest on Monday after having passed on Nov. 7 at age 67 from liver cancer. Undefeated welterweight Mike Jones, who was trained by Frazier as an amateur, reflects on his time with Smokin’ Joe.
"It hits me to the heart. He was a great person to be around and a great friend.
"We had a pretty close relationship. He took care of me a lot. He arranged transportation for me to his gym and then bought me a car. Everything was about the fighter. He knew the fighter had to perform so he took care of the fighter, no matter what. That’s what he was all about.
"Joe always said: ‘You’re going to get your brain shook, your money took and your name on the undertaker book, so you better do all your roadwork. Never miss a day of roadwork and take it very serious.’ That’s in me to this day.
"I was born with Joe Frazier DNA and when I went to his gym—my dad took me there when I was 15—I just got even more of it, that tough Philadelphia heart and the desire to go in there (the ring) and dig out a knockout.
" Joe always put his imprint on everything. He wanted all his guys (fighters) to be modeled after him. He’d say: ‘You want to plant those feet and get those knockouts; be grounded and have that foundation first. Sit in the pocket and really dig it out.’ And his left hook? Oh, my! He’d say: ‘The left hook, the double hook, it’s not a 1-2, it’s all one shot.’
" Joe was a great mentor to me, a great friend. He was a wonderful person. He was the best. He was a great personality, a great fighter. He was always about the fighter. "
God bless him, may he rest in peace!