North Philly street named to honor Joe Frazier

Elmer Heard, of the city’s traffic division, unveils the new sign on Glenwood Avenue honoring legendary boxer Joe Frazier on Wednesday.

A North Philadelphia street was named Smokin’ Joe Frazier Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon to honor the legendary boxer.

His daughter, Weatta Frazier Collins, had launched a petition last year to name Glenwood Avenue to honor him.

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Weatta Frazier Collins receives a warm greeting during Wednesday’s naming ceremony.

“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier was born in South Carolina in 1944 and made Philadelphia his home in his teenage years. Frazier won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and became the first boxer to beat Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title in 1971.

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The street that was named after Joe Frazier.

Frazier was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the U.S. Boxing Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. He was 67 when he died of liver cancer in 2011.

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Frazier fights Ali in 1971 during “The Fight of the Century.”

While the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa gets a lot of attention — Sylvester Stallone, who plays Balboa, is in town this month filming Creed II — Frazier is the city’s true boxing legend.

In 2015, a bronze statue of Frazier was unveiled outside of Xfinity Live. The statue, by Stephen Layne, is a re-creation of Frazier’s knockdown punch during his 1971 fight against Ali.

>> Read more: Is Philly’s next Joe Frazier a 16-year-old girl from Bustleton?

Joe Frazier statue
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The Joe Frazier statue in South Philadelphia.