Frazier fought only two more times. In 1976, he lost to Foreman in a fifth-round knockout, announced his retirement, then finished for good in 1981 after a 10-round draw with Floyd Cummings.
He was inspired to think about being a boxer when somebody told him he was built like a young Joe Louis, and when he was 15, he moved north to Philadelphia to stay with relatives and find work. One of his first jobs was in a slaughterhouse, where he would pummel the hanging slabs of beef for exercise. Years later, Sylvester Stallone borrowed from that scene for his "Rocky" movies.
Frazier worked his way through the ranks of local Golden Gloves competition in Philadelphia and lost only once as an amateur, to Buster Mathis, who beat him out of the heavyweight spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo. But Mathis was injured before the Games, Frazier won the spot back and took home a gold medal.
After his boxing career ended, Frazier purchased a gym in Philadelphia, where he lived in his later years. Along the way, he sang with a group called the Knockouts and had a clothing brand, a restaurant and a limousine service. He dabbled in investments and real estate.
The tension between Ali and Frazier remained for decades. Frazier could not forget the taunts and the insults — Ali always said they were nothing more than fight promotion hype — and when Frazier was interviewed shortly after Ali, shaking and feeble from dementia and Parkinson's disease, lighted the torch to begin the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he said he wished Ali had "fallen into the fire."
But in an interview in Jet magazine later that year, and in some subsequent interviews, an aging Frazier said he no longer held a grudge.
"It's like we were fighting the Vietnam War," he said. "We should meet and hug."
Frazier, who was divorced from his wife, Florence, is survived by 11 children. His son Marvis was a heavyweight contender in the 1980s, and daughter Jacqui Frazier-Lyde fought and lost to Ali's daughter Laila in 2001.
Photos: Joe Frazier through the years