Smokin' Joe Frazier Visits Saratoga

Saratoga Race Course will celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the most memorable fights in boxing history - Ali vs. Frazier I - when it hosts former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier on Friday, August 26.


Frazier, whose ferocious left hook led him to a professional record of 37-4 with 27 knockouts, will headline the day’s activities with a free autograph signing session for fans from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jockey Silks Room. Free photos of Frazier will be available to use for autographs.


“Joe Frazier is a legendary figure in boxing history and we’re thrilled to welcome him to Saratoga Race Course in celebration of his greatest triumph,” said The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Executive Vice President and COO Hal Handel. “Frazier’s battle with Muhammad Ali captured the attention of a nation and included all the riveting drama and excitement beloved by racing fans in Saratoga.”


The Philadelphia native known as Smokin’ Joe emerged as a top contender during the 1960s and had compiled a record of 26-0 when he defended his title against Muhammad Ali (31-0) in Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971.


Promoters dubbed the battle of undefeated pugilists the “Fight of the Century” during the build-up, and the combatants would not disappoint. Frazier won the bloody slugfest in a dramatic 15-round unanimous decision, flooring Ali with a thunderous hook in the final round that remains one of the more iconic images in boxing history. The fight produced two sequels and marked the beginning of one the greatest rivalries in American professional sports.


In addition to the autograph signing, Frazier will present a trophy in the winner’s circle after the second race - the Ali/Frazier 40th Anniversary Race. Tape from the “Fight of the Century” will play on the infield video board leading up to the commemorative race.


Frazier’s visit to Saratoga Race Course comes on the eve of Travers Day and the 142nd edition of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes.




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