• Joe Frazier’s loss to George Foreman in 1976 marked a negative turning point in his career and led to his retirement from boxing.
  • Frazier briefly attempted a comeback in 1981 but was met with little interest from TV networks and suffered a bad match, leading to his final retirement.
  • After retiring, Frazier became a boxing trainer for his children and helped train his sons, nephews, and daughter in their boxing careers.

As dramatized in the biopic Big George Foreman, Joe Frazier lost his world heavyweight championship title to George Foreman, but the movie doesn’t show what happened to Frazier afterward. Big George Foreman follows the life and career of the titular Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight champion boxer. His life story is framed throughout the movie by his historic boxing matches. These include fights against Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, his two biggest competitors. One of the matches referenced in Big George Foreman is his second fight against the previous world heavyweight champion, Joe Frazier.

Big George Foreman made many changes to the real events of George Foreman’s life, but it doesn’t fabricate Frazier’s loss of to Foreman. In real life, Foreman famously won his 1976 match against Foreman, marking the second time Frazier lost against him. Since Big George Foreman focuses on the titular boxer, viewers don’t learn what happened to Frazier after this boxing match. While the loss propelled Foreman into greater fame, it marked a negative turning point in Frazier’s career.

Related: Did George Foreman Beat Muhammad Ali? The Rumble In The Jungle Outcome Explained

Joe Frazier Retired After Losing To George Foreman Again In 1976

Joe Frazier and George Foreman look at each other in the boxing ring.

Two of Joe Frazier’s biggest competitors in his boxing career were Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. According to Britannica, Frazier experienced losses to both of these boxers prior to the ’76 match against Foreman. In ’73, Frazier lost his world championship and undefeated record to Foreman. Then in ’74 and ’75, Ali beat Frazier again. According to Sports Illustrated, the ’76 match against Foreman showed that Frazier had lost his offensive spark.

The loss was the nail in the coffin. Shortly after the fight, Frazier stated, “I think it’s time to put the gloves on the wall” (via The New York Times). He then retired from boxing, albeit only briefly. This statement and decision showed his self-awareness. He’d hit the decline in his career, and he ended on a relatively high note instead of waiting until he’d lost his entire reputation. Additionally, a Newsweek article says that Frazier’s wife encouraged him to retire as well.

Related: What George Foreman’s Net Worth Is In 2023

Joe Frazier’s Brief Comeback In 1981 Explained

Joe Frazier looks into the distance focused.

In 1981, Joe Frazier tried to come out of retirement. His comeback was short-lived, though. Firstly, TV networks had no interest in covering the match, a fact that Frazier said didn’t bother him. He claimed that he was in just as good physical shape as he was before his retirement. In fact, he stated, “What matters most is the boxing wisdom I’ve gained. That makes me a much better athlete than I was 16 or 17 years ago.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t reflected in Frazier’s match with Floyd “Jumbo” Cummings.

Based on The New York Times‘ reporting, the match against Cummings didn’t go well for Frazier. Although they called it a draw, Frazier got hurt badly in the process, despite him claiming to be fine. When Frazier said he’d want to fight there again in two to three months, a state boxing official told him in no uncertain terms that Illinois would not allow him to fight there again. Executive secretary of the Illinois Athletic Board, Nick Karasiotis, told The New York Times that Frazier was in no shape to fight and should go back into retirement. That’s precisely what Frazier did after the fight.

Related: How Old George Foreman Was When He Returned To Boxing

Joe Frazier Became A Boxing Trainer For His Children

A boxing ring is surrounded by people.

After his final retirement, Joe Frazier settled into his life in Philadelphia. According to The New Yorker, he bought the gym in Philadelphia where he once trained. This became the go-to location for young boxers in Pennsylvania. He spent most of his time preparing his sons, Marvis and Hector, for a career in boxing. Early into his boxing career, Marvis Frazier became known as a skilled amateur boxer – which made Frazier proud. The former heavyweight champion also helped out his nephews Rodney and Mark in their training. The younger Fraziers weren’t ever expected to beat out their father’s record. Still, he dedicated himself to their training.

In addition to his sons and nephews, Frazier’s daughter, Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, also followed in his footsteps, becoming a professional boxer. Frazier reportedly helped train her at his Philadelphia gym as well. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde went on to become a WIBA world light-heavyweight champion who famously competed against Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter. She lost the match against her father’s foe’s daughter; however, the boxing rivalry carried on his legacy long after Frazier’s retirement.

Long after the events depicted in Big Joe Foreman, the city of Philadelphia gave Frazier’s gym — where he and his children trained — historical building status in 2013 (via Philadelphia Inquirer). This means that future generations of boxers will be able to visit the location that created so many of the greats. Frazier sadly didn’t live to see this monumental day. On November 7, 2011, he passed away after a short battle with liver cancer (via CNN). Though he didn’t get to see the celebration of his accomplishments, Frazier’s memory lives on through his gym, children, and his impact on the profession of boxing.

Sources: Britannica, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN

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