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Joseph William “Joe” Frazier, also known as Smokin’ Joe, the former heavyweight champion who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat, died Monday night after a brief final fight with liver cancer.

King of the ring

Joe Frazier January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011

Liver cancer
Risk factors

15 10 5

Incidence rates per year, males

Frazier, left, was the first man to beat Ali, right, knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century in 1971. He lost two later fights to Ali, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” match.

The Thrilla

Sources: Mayo Clinic; Statistics Canada

Both men were near exhaustion when Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, ended the fight in Ali’s favour after 14 rounds. Ali entered the ring thinking he was fighting a washed-up Frazier, and insulted Frazier often leading up to it, calling him a “gorilla.” Angered by the comments, Frazier came at Ali with a vengeance. At one point Ali whispered in his ear, “Joe, they told me you was all washed up.” “They told you wrong, pretty boy,” Frazier responded. After the fight, Ali admitted, “It was the closest I’ve come to death.”

(Most people don’t have signs and symptoms in the early stages of primary liver cancer.) • Weight loss • Loss of appetite • Upper abdominal pain • Nausea and vomiting • General weakness, fatigue • Enlarged liver • Abdominal swelling • Yellow discoloration of skin and the whites of eyes (jaundice) • White, chalky stools

Lifetime probability of developing liver cancer (males) Lifetime probability of dying 1,500 male, 450 female from liver cancer (males) Lifetime probability of Estimated deaths, developing any cancer (males) 2011 Lifetime probability of dying from any cancer (males)

Estimated new cases, 2011

Men are more at (est.) risk 0 Liver cancer most ’82 ’87 ’92 ’97 ’02 ’07 ’11 commonly a ects 10 older adults Incidence rates per year, females Chronic infection 5 (est.) with hepatitis B or C virus 0 ’82 ’87 ’92 ’97 ’02 ’07 ’11 Cirrhosis Inherited liver 5-year diseases 5-year survival rate Diabetes survival rate for liver Excessive for all cancer cancer alcohol consumption Obesity



1,950 640

0.7% or 1 in 148 0.4% or 1 in 262 45.3% or 1 in 2.2 28.9% or 1 in 3.5


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