For those of my generation he shared the spotlight with arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time. In fact, his titanic struggles with Muhammad Ali established him as one of the greatest heavyweights in boxing history. This past week, boxing, and the world lost a great man, when Smokin Joe Frazier passed away too early at the age of 67. My memories of Joe are not only important as a fan, they are important as a friend. Since I was 19 years old, I have had the pleasure of meeting Joe and his son Marvis on numerous occasions. In fact, only a couple of years ago, I had the great honour of being the master of ceremonies at the 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner of the Joe Frazier vs. George Chuvalo fight. Prior to that, I was lucky enough to have spent hours talking with Joe and his son Marvis as I interviewed Joe for TSN. We spoke of his early days as an amateur, his winning the gold medal in 64 in Tokyo, we spoke of his rise in the pro ranks, we spoke of how his long time trainer Yancy Durham gave him the name "Smokin" virtually by accident. And when the cameras were off, we spoke of boxing and of our lives in boxing. Marvis, a former amateur standout and heavyweight contender, now a Christian preacher, engaged in the conversation as well and was beaming as we spoke of the exploits of his father. Joe, forever proud, exuded that pride and honour at having his son by his side. As a fan, I remember Joe simply as an unstoppable warrior with more heart and guts than any man who has stepped in the ring. His powerful left hook and relentless body attack made him arguably the most exciting heavyweight of his time. For my generation, he was Tyson before there was a Tyson. As a trainer, I remember the confidence of the man, the never say die attitude, and the respect for everyone he faced. I remember his mantra, when he responded to Ali in 71, when Ali questioned how he thought Joe could beat him after he had beaten such greats as Liston, Foley and Bonevena. Joe, always sure and strong in his self belief answered in the greatest way possible; "youre not fighting Sonny Liston, youre not fighting Zora Foley, youre not fighting Oscar Bonevena!! YOURE FIGHTING JOE FRAZIER, YOURE FIGHTING JOE FRAZIER!!!! And could Joe Frazier fight!!!! In the most important boxing event since Louis fought Schmeling in 38, and in the contest simply known as "The Fight", Joe Fraziers devastating Philadelphia left hook dropped Ali in the 15th and final round to put the final stamp on the crowning moment of his career. With the world watching one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century, Joe Frazier laid claim to the greatest prize in sports, by beating "The Greatest". Yet as a man, and more importantly as a friend, I remember his pain. No, not the pain from punches taken in the ring, but the pain from the hurt inside where no one can see. The hurt for his family and his children who were subjected to the torment and abuse from others, because of the cruelty that Ali bestowed upon him. Joe was a proud humble man who would never back down from anyone and who never disrespected anyone. He proudly won a gold medal for his country, and he conducted himself as nothing but a true gentleman and a man of class. He earned his respects by giving respect and by taking punches and never complaining. In fact he embodied the word champion in and out of the ring. Sadly, he has left us now, the champion of my youth, the champion whose example of courage has humbled all who have witnessed it. His courage will always be an example to me and a reminder of the greatness he possessed. I remember Smokin Joe and I know there will never be another like him. To echo the sentiments of the late Eddie Futch I can only say, "Joe, the world will never forget you!" Rest in peace my friend, it was the ultimate honour to have known you. This past Saturday, Lucian Bute successfully defended his IBF World Super-Middleweight Championship with a dominating 12 round unanimous decision over veteran challenger Glen Johnson. Bute virtually pitched a shutout winning all 12 rounds on two of the three judges scorecards and 11 of 12 on the other. It should be noted as well, that one of the judges scoring the fight was veteran Las Vegas fight judge Jerry Roth, and he scored it a shutout for the unbeaten champion. Butes dominance over Johnson was the most one-sided performance over the man known as the Road Warrior in the last 14 years. Johnson, a hard-nosed battler has waged war with a whos who of boxing, names like Clinton Woods, Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Tavoris Cloud to name a few, dot the landscape that is his record. Yet through this Hall of Fame list, nobody has dominated Johnson in such a one sided manner. In fact you would have to go back to 1997 when a young Bernard Hopkins stopped a game Johnson in 11 rounds after pitching a shutout as well. Thats 14 years ago, and since then Johnson has been a nightmare for every opponent he has faced. With the win, Bute, who was initially excluded from the Super 6 championship, has emerged as its preeminent champion and now awaits the winner of the Carl Froch vs. Andre Ward matchup slated for December. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this promotion in Quebec City, here are a few facts that will give you an idea of the excitement that reigned in the Colisee on Saturday night. 1. Almost two thousand (2000) people were in attendance at the official weigh-in on Friday. 2. Over fifteen thousand (15,000) people were in attendance at the fight on Saturday. With the exception of NHL hockey and two CFL games played on Saturday, I think its safe to say that the Bute fight was among the MOST attended sporting events of the weekend in the entire country. 3. While not official, again I think it is safe to say that there was over a million (1,000,000) viewers watching live on Showtime in the U.S. 4. This was Bute 9th defence of his world title which puts him among the most dominant champions in the sport. 5. The Bute fight headlined what was a great undercard which included former two-time World Champion Steve Molitor of Toronto against Quebecs Sebastien Gauthier in what turned out to be a 10 round slugfest and contender for Canadian Fight of the Year honours. 6. The semi main event, and the other fight aired on Showtime was the explosive second round knockout by Pier-Olivier Cote over U.S. prospect Jorge Luis Teron. The win has catapulted the undefeated Cote to a top 15 world ranking at 140 lbs. And finally, you dont want to miss a great weekend of boxing. First off, this Saturday, undefeated Canadian Heavyweight Champion Nevan Pajkic looks towards bigger and better things when challenges also undefeated British Champion Tyson Fury for the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight title. In what is virtually guaranteed to be an all out war from the outset, both Pajkic and Fury will be pulling out all the stops in their attempt at the Commonwealth crown. In a fight that has been brewing bad blood now for over a year both undefeated prospects will be looking at bigger fights and bigger paydays in the new year with a win. At 69" Fury holds a distinct height and reach advantage over the 63" Canadian Champion. For Pajkic, at the age of 34, time is of the essence over his 23 year old rival. In Canada, the fight can be seen live on SuperChannel starting at 4:45 Eastern Time this Saturday November 12 And last but not least, the rematch all fight fans have been waiting for. Over 3 years in the making, Manny Pacquiao takes on the challenge of arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez. This will be the third meeting between these two hall of fame greats. Pacquiao scored a split decision win in their last meeting in 2008, while Marquez fought to a draw with the power punching Filipino back in 2004 after having been down 3 times in the opening round. Another great matchup between two of boxings brightest and greatest stars. Enjoy a great weekend of boxing folks! http://www.eaglesnflofficial.com/authentic-reggie-white-jersey-womens.html
. 4 Lydia Ko. Alvarez, who started the day two shots from the lead, had two birdies on her outward nine and four more on the way home to move to 8-under 136 in the Ladies European Tour event at Clearwater Golf Club. http://www.eaglesnflofficial.com/authentic-lesean-mccoy-jersey-womens.html
. -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did more than throw on Friday. http://www.eaglesnflofficial.com/authentic-jason-kelce-jersey-womens.html. General manager and head coach Jim Popp said on Wednesday that Troy Smith could and probably will be the teams starter on the weekend. Smith would join Anthony Calvillo, Josh Neiswander, and Tanner Marsh as quarterbacks to have started a game for Montreal this season. http://www.eaglesnflofficial.com/authentic-harold-carmichael-jersey-womens.html
. Saddled with a quick sting of adversity and the eventual loss of Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur to injury, the Leafs (10-6-2) scratched and clawed their way to a point at the Air Canada Centre, eventually falling 3-2 to the Coyotes in a shootout. http://www.eaglesnflofficial.com/authentic-donnie-jones-jersey-womens.html
. The NHL suspended Thornton for his attack on Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik. After the whistle, Thornton skated the length of the ice, pulled Orpik to the ice from behind and punched him in the face several times. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With Jeremy Guthrie outpitching David Price, the new-look Orioles cruised past the Tampa Bay Rays. Guthrie allowed three hits in eight shutout innings, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis each drove in two runs and Baltimore opened the season with a 4-1 victory on Friday night. Taking up where they left off during a nice two-month stretch to end last season under manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles ruined a festive evening in which the defending AL East champions hoisted their latest division title banner at Tropicana Field. And, they did it with Guthrie outdoing last years AL Cy Young Award runner-up. "Its one day, but I sure like being on this end of it," Showalter said. "Its a tough place to play on opening day." Roberts hit a two-run triple off Price in the fifth and scored on Markakis sacrifice fly. Markakis also had an RBI single in the third. Ben Zobrist homered in the ninth for Tampa Bay. Rays newcomers Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon each went 0-for-4. In his third opening day start in four years, Guthrie retired 13 batters in a row between Dan Johnsons second-inning double and Zobrists single leading off the sixth. B.J. Upton double leading off the eighth for Tampa Bays third hit. Zobrist homered on the first pitch of the ninth off Jim Johnson. The Orioles reliever struck out Damon and Evan Longoria, then got Ramirez to ground out to finish the combined four-hitter. The heart of Tampa Bays betting order -- Damon, Longoria and Ramirez -- went 0-for-12 with three strikeouts in its debut. Damon and Ramirez, once teammates in Boston, were brought in after the Rays lost all-star Carl Crawford and slugger Carlos Pena to free agency. "Its hard to gauge out hitters because their pitching was that good," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Its not like we werent swinging the bats well. Guthrie was good, man." Guthrie walked one and struck out six. "Throwing before the game, I felt good. I was very excited, really, wanting to get out there and go after it," Guthrie said. "It was a great crowd, but I was able to tone it down a little bit. ... I had a feel for the ball and was able to carry it over into the game." A sellout crowd of 34,078 -- the sixth straight for a Rays home opener -- booed Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The fans stood and cheered wildly as the Rays 2010 AL East flag was raised to the left-field catwalk alongside banners recognizing the teams 2008 division and league championship.dddddddddddd Before the game, Maddon reflected on how far the franchise has come since he was hired after the 2005 season and helped transform a last-place team into a contender. "I think at that time if I had spoken too loudly about" the prospect of winning championships "people would have thought I truly was crazy," Maddon said. With his first opening day assignment, Price became the 13th pitcher in major league history to start an opener, an All-Star game and a post-season game by the age of 25 -- a select group that also includes Whitey Ford, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Robin Roberts, Don Drysdale and Bret Saberhagen. Tom Glavine was the last to do it 20 years ago. The hard-throwing lefty allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven, while losing to the Orioles for the first time in five career decisions. "I felt good. But when youre going against another teams No. 1 and give up four runs, youre going to lose," said Price, a 19-game winner in 2010. "Ive got to get better." The Orioles lineup featured four players -- Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy -- whove joined the team since the end of a 13th consecutive losing season. But they are just part of the reason Baltimore is excited heading into the season. The team is also hoping build off the 34-23 record it compiled after Showalter took over last August. That late run didnt enable the Orioles to escape the AL East cellar, but they did begin to build some confidence. "I think the proof will be in the Ws and Ls. Change doesnt necessarily mean things are going to be better," Showalter said. "Were starting off at the American League East champions ballpark. Well find out real quick." NOTES: Ramirez made his 18th consecutive opening day start, the second-longest streak among active players behind Washingtons Ivan Rodriguez (20). Damon has started 14 straight openers. ... Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday because of soreness on the left side of his mid-back. ... A moment of silence was observed for three St. Petersburg police officers who have been killed in the line of duty this year. ' ' '