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Muhammad Ali has paid tribute to his great rival Joe Frazier, saying: “The world has lost a great champion.” Frazier, who had been suffering from liver cancer, died overnight at the age of 67, his family confirmed in a statement.
Frazier beat Ali on points in the so-called “Fight of the Century” in 1971, but lost in two further meetings including the epic Thrilla in Manila in 1975. Today Ali said: “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”
The pair had an at times fraught relationship, dating back to taunts Ali directed at his rival in the buildup to their famous trilogy of fights. But they were reported to have been on better terms in recent years.