Artist: LeRoy Neiman, American (1921 - 2012)
Title: Joe Frazier
Medium: Original Ink Marker, Watercolor, and Felt Pen on Fine Fabriano Watercolor Paper
Size: 18' x 24'
Framed: 29 1/2' x 35'
Condition: This piece was well maintained and kept out of the sun. It remains in original condition with no damage to speak of. Signed Leroy Neiman and Joe Frazier 1971.
Authenticity: Includes original Franklin Bowles tag Item #NEIM25266c Invoice 804615. Also includes Gallery COA and our lifetime exchange policy.
The piece is an original painting created by the #1 Sports artist in the world, Leroy Neiman. They used to say it was an event, unless Leroy Neiman was there. This pieces is not only signed by Neiman, but also signed by Joe Frazier. Boxing was always Neiman's 'sweet spot'. Born and raised in lower to middle class family Neiman spent a lot of time at the numerous St Paul boxing events painting and drawing the local talent. This piece remains in the original condition it was in when purchased in the mid 70's. We have recently framed it sparing no costs in gorgeous handmade wood frame.
In 1966 Ali refused to be inducted into the US Army. As a result he was stripped of his fighting license from 1966 on. In 1970 Joe Frazier meets with president Nixon and asks Nixon to give Ali his license back. He tells Nixon he would like to beat him 'Ali' up for him. Frazier certainly followed through with his words. In 1971 Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in the 'The Fight of the Century'. Frazier's popularity soared! In this painting you can see the press reporting on Frazier as he trains.
Ali and Frazier's first fight, held at the Garden on March 8, 1971, was nicknamed the 'Fight of the Century', due to the tremendous excitement surrounding a bout between two undefeated fighters, each with a legitimate claim as heavyweight champions. Veteran boxing writer John Condon called it 'the greatest event I've ever worked on in my life'. The bout was broadcast to 35 foreign countries; promoters granted 760 press passes.
Adding to the atmosphere were the considerable pre-fight theatrics and name calling. Ali portrayed Frazier as a 'dumb tool of the white establishment'. 'Frazier is too ugly to be champ', Ali said. 'Frazier is too dumb to be champ.' Ali also frequently called Frazier an 'Uncle Tom'. Dave Wolf, who worked in Frazier's camp, recalled that, 'Ali was saying 'the only people rooting for Joe Frazier are white people in suits, Alabama sheriffs, and members of the Ku Klux Klan. I'm fighting for the little man in the ghetto.' Joe was sitting there, smashing his fist into the palm of his hand, saying, 'What the fuck does he know about the ghetto?''
Ali began training at a farm near Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1971 and, finding the country setting to his liking, sought to develop a real training camp in the countryside. He found a five-acre site on a Pennsylvania country road in the village of Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. On this site, Ali carved out what was to become his training camp, the camp where he lived and trained for all the many fights he had from 1972 on to the end of his career in the 1980s.
The Monday night fight lived up to its billing. In a preview of their two other fights, a crouching, bobbing and weaving Frazier constantly pressured Ali, getting hit regularly by Ali jabs and combinations, but relentlessly attacking and scoring repeatedly, especially to Ali's body. The fight was even in the early rounds, but Ali was taking more punishment than ever in his career. On several occasions in the early rounds he played to the crowd and shook his head 'no' after he was hit. In the later rounds—in what was the first appearance of the 'rope-a-dope strategy'—Ali leaned against the ropes and absorbed punishment from Frazier, hoping to tire him. In the 11th round, Frazier connected with a left hook that wobbled Ali, but be