The Minneapolis Star from Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 17, 1979 · Page 40
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The Minneapolis Star from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 40

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 17, 1979
Page 40
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PORTS The Minneapolis Star Tuesday, April 17, 1979 12C ft Jk 1 3 Z. '.rV , 1 ' J 4'' AsMM:iatei1 Press Marvis Frazier hooked his way to the national Golden Gloves heavyweight crown against Phillip Brown in Indianapolis earlier this month mokin' Joe has a fightin' son By ALAN GREENBERG . .os Angetes Times PHILADELPHIA Nearly 15 years ago, his old man got off a plane from Tokyo wearing a sling, a smile and an Olympic gold medal. The kid remembers gong to the airport at age 4 with his mother and clinging to her coat while the old man walked down the portable steps. The old man had broken his left thumb in a semifinal bout, and every time he threw his most dangerous weapon in the title fight, the left hook, his hand throbbed. But what the hell. Wasn't this to be the final heroic step out of poverty and the job in the slaughterhouse and into a life of riches and fame? And hadn't the fighter's old man, an amputee South Carolina sharecropper, KOd men with his nub of a left arm? To the world, it was a fracture. To Joe Frazier, it was a hangnail. The kid is 18 now, and he understands. Understands that his father's face got lumps like ski moguls because he worked to ensure the kid would never have to do likewise. Understands that kids who grow up, as he did, In a 16-room suburban home with an odd-shaped swimming pool, should work out at country clubs, not inner-city gyms. Understands that this is what his mother dreaded from the day he, the only male childwas born. To look at their physiques, you'd have trouble imagining Joe and Marvis Frazier as uncle and nephew, let alone father and son. The elder Frazier is a stubby hulk with enormous shoulders, hips and thighs. Marvis is lithe and long-muscled, evoking an image of the basketball forward he was instead of the boxer he is. Father is 5-11 and fought at 210 in his early years, 217 in the twilight years; now all he fights are the rolls of fat threatening to cascade over the pink towel he wfa-s He is sitting in a black swivel chair In his offke at the North Philadelphia gym which bears his name. He says he weighs 228 now. His friends and business associates, who are one and the same, smile knowingly and chuckle. In this area, the boss is allowed to fib. Marvis is slightly over 6-1, weighs 192 pounds, and is still growing. Trainer George Benton, 45, once the top-rated middleweight contender, says Marvis will fight at 206-207 once he fills out. But for now, he gives away size and age to most opponents, So far, it hasn't mattered. When he entered the gym on a recent rainy Monday afternoon he wore tinted glasses to hide a bruised and partly shut right eye his first shiner. But he also wore a black jacket with yellow leather arms and embroidery which read'Na-tional Golden Gloves Champion." Gold medal goal For Marvis Frazier, winning the amateur heavyweight title in Indianapolis is just the beginning. This summer he hopes to represent the U.S. in the Pan-American Games. With luck (his viewpoint), that could mean a bout against Cuba's two-time Olympic gold medalist, Teofilo Stevenson, tormentor of American amateur heavyweights for a decade. Then, on to what he calls "my ultimate goal," a gold medal in the Moscow Olympics, making the Fraziers the first father-son gold-medal winners in history. Frazier is undefeated in 30 fights, with 17 knockouts. He has a rapier left jab and punches hard and accurately with either hand, but his strong suit is defense. Unlike his father, whose Inferior reach made boring in relentlessly a necessity. Marvis is equally adept at staying outside and piling up points or fighting in close against bigger foes. "It's hard to describe my style," he said. "I'd like to be a combination of my pop and AH." Trainer Benton is more explicit. "I'm gonna make a big, big statement," he says, drawing a breath. "If he has the desire to turn pro, he's gonna be the greatest heavyweight since Joe Louis. Do I believe it? I don't believe it, I know It." So, it seems, might poppa, although he won't say so for the record. But when he does speak of his son's prowess, it's with the certainty of a jeweler appraising his finest diamond. "I don't see anybody taking advantage of Marvis," tk-i t i if r ' a i ' mmr firm 4 4 4 1 i fr. u 1511 4 I I i if J I tl ft! .iri, V-'-STtt r vim I'lotL: Joe Frazier stood in his son's corner Frazier said. "I don't see him having to work his way in the way his dad did. He's got the height, the heart, the reach, the ability and WOW. "Nobody's gonna beat that kid." Everyone who knows him says Marvis Frazier Is a model kid. He grew up "like he was poor," Benton says. There were no favors. When the grass on the Fraziers' two-and-a-half acre plot needed cutting, Marvis did it. With a hand mower. He goes to choir practice Monday nights, Bible study Wednesday nights and church on Sunday. He doesn't smoke, drink or run around. Not because such strictures are demanded of him, but because that's the way he Is boxing or no boxing. 'We all do our job' "We don't live special," Joe Frazier said. "We live like a normal family. We all do our job." And that means meeting obligations. Frazier has seen less than one-third of his son's fights, and he didn't see any of the Indianapolis bouts. He spent the week performing In the half-full lounge of Pittsburgh Holiday Inn with his revamped 18-member song-and-dance troupe, the Smokin' Joe Frazier Review. Eddie Harrell, longtime family friend, went along and served as Marvis' surrogate father. Marvis' decision to box was purely his own. He is imbued with a single-mindedness of purpose and joy for his craft not seen among those who have been cajoled or leaned on. In junior high school he showed signs of becoming an outstanding athlete. He excelled at wrestling, basketball, football and baseball. But when he entered Plymouth-Whitemarsh High, his grades were poor because of his devotion to sports. Joe, intent on having Marvis be the first Frazier ever to go to college, yanked him out and put him in a private school that didn't have a sports program. Frazier Turn to Page 9C 6 0 00 can't dethrone King of Road "TTC IT" IT" 2 y ' I L Xvm car t- - 1 v f 1 T . f , k 4, , Lnilod Prris h'.finuma li'ill RoJgcrs was king in Coston for the third time Monday BOSTON (J') Hometown boy Bill Rodgers, the superstar marath-oner with a fiery will to win, has renewed his claim to the elusive title as the world's top runner of the grueling road race. "I could taste that third win," the 31-year old former school teacher said Monday after wearing down Japan's Toshihiko Scko to set an American record in winning the 83rd Boston Marathon. "I didn't want someone to take it away." The 5-foot-9, 128-pounder from Melrose, Mass., ran away from Seko on the famed "Heartbreak Hill" to win his third Boston event in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 27 seconds. It broke the U.S. record he set in 1975, winning his first Boston race In 2:09.55. Rodgers had trouble with his contact lenses at the start, with tightening iegs at the midway point and with a tummy in turmoil the last 10 miles. "I had to go to the bathroom," he said. The victory Monday, by 4.r) seconds over Seko, was a ne"ar-bree:'.e down the homestn tch through cold rain. Rodgers won the 1978 race in 2:10.13 by only two seconds over Jeff Wells of Dallas in the closfst 26-mile. 385-yard event on record. Seko, a 23-yt-ni -old college stu- irk HJ '4 Bill Rodgers dent In Japan, and the winner of the Fukuoka International Marathon In his homeland last December, ran with Rodgers for 20 miles before his legs went numb on the third of a brutal series of hills in Newton, Mass. "Knowing the course makes a difference," said Rodgers, who cruised to his postrace interview barely struggling for breath. "You run downhill, downhill, downhill. Then all of a sudden you try to go uphill." Seko, speaking through an inter preter, said, "If you take away the hills, it's an easy course." Rodgers, who has won the Fukuoka race along with back-to-back victories in New York City's young but prestigious marathon, was beaten by Seko last December. Seko finished 200 yards behind in 2:10.12, followed by Robert Hodge, a Greater Boston Track Club stablemate of Rogers, In 2:12.30. Veteran Tom Fleming of Bloomfield, N.J., a two-time Boston runnerup, was the early pacesetter in the record field of more than 7,800 qualified entrants, but he faded to fourth. Gary Bjorklund of Minneapolis "I thought he'd win," said Rodgers took the lead from Fleming and then gave It up to the eventual winner. Bjorklund was fifth in 2:13.14, but collapsed after finishing. He was taken to a hospital for precautions and pronounced fit. A remarkable 54 runners finished the race in under 2:20 a time that would have been good enough to win the Boston race three years ago. Joan Benoit, a Bowdoin College senior from Brunswick, Maine, won the women's division race, setting a record in dominating a field of more than 500 in 2:35.15. if V S$T mm try to BUT HOME CAN DUPLICATE (IS! InlTATc US... 12-MONTH SPECIAL INCLUDES: 1 0CH. Full Survlce Maintenance it Now Car Every Year 200 Free MiIbs Per Month Free Service Loaner Closed End (Walk-Away) Lease Choice ot Colors & Trim Available to Companies or Individuals We'll Buy Your Present Car 1979 REGENCY rhii (of- nf the lin,? full lized Olds Regency u mogmfn- nt! Loaded with all option j, mclud ing fuil pO'vr--, tilt wheel, ttero, c.j!.e vinyl roof, ro'jf de! oter. air conditioning and a whole let more list over J 1 0,600 fXCLUIIVI $OCO w month ONLY XJ7 Per Month SPf CIAL 3A Month tat M7) oiHtf an momiI i noromuMur io rath f xdusivr t?-MON SPECIAL icJILi J!M LUPIENT LEASING. INC. 7 100 WAVATA BLVD. (HWV. 12) MWNf AMOiift Wlnnoia fore 1-80f42-O5 1 Mtfltowtd To-FrM 1-duO-JiB-OeOS

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