The debut of “Smokin'” Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier compiled an accomplished amateur career. He won consecutive Golden Gloves Championships from 1962 to 1964. Also, he won gold at the 1964 Olympics, becoming the only American boxer to medal. He replaced an injured Buster Mathis and medaled with a broken left thumb. Frazier turned pro in 1965 with the backing of Cloverlay, a group of Philadelphia locals and businessmen. They provided the means for Frazier to box and train full-time.
Frazier’s debut took place in Philly against Lancaster native Woody Goss. Goss attempted to amass professional wins as well but did not pan out for him. This fight would be no different, setting up a dream debut for Frazier. Frazier decked Goss and won his debut by TKO in the first round. Goss ate many left hooks throughout the fight. Frazier showed off the raw power and tenacity that would later become trademark characteristics for him.
This fight served as the springboard to boxing lore for Frazier. Goss ended his career with six wins and five losses. Frazier embarked on a journey rivaled by few, becoming one of the best heavyweights of all-time. He went undefeated until 1973, losing to George Foreman.