The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on April 21, 1979 · 29
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 29

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 21, 1979
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arvis Frazier: JTie Evolution Of Another-hampidn By Alan Greenbrg ' ' " " ' The Loj Awles 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 going 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 bell. 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, knocked out men with his nub of a left arm? To the world, it was a fracture. To Joe Frazier, it was a hang nail. 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-rootn 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 child, was bora. ' 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 once was instead of the boxer he is. Father is 5-foot-U and fought at 210 pounds 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 wears. He is sitting in a black swivel chair in his office at the North Philadelphia gym which bears his name. He says be 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 con tender, 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 "National Golden Gloves Champion." For Marvis Frazier, winning the amateur heavyweight title in Indianapolis is just the beginning. This summer he hopes to represent the VS. 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. 'Td like to be a combination of my pop and Ali." Trainer Benton is more explicit 1 "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," 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 .SATURDAY, APRIL 21 . 1979 &hr Atlanta gowrnal and CONSTITUTION 3-C Marvis ; Frazier, (L)'. demonstrat' esthe Frazier hook, which he hopes will bring - him a gold medal and , give his . family the Olympics' only father-son r champions. 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. 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. v 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, bis grades were poor because of bis devotion to sports. Joe, intent on having Marvis be the first Frazier ever to go to college, pulled him out and put him in a private school that didn't have a sports program. With no athletic outlet, Marvis got better grades and got restless. Reluctantly, his father OK'd his request to work out at the gym but no boxing. Some six months later he got permission again, reluctantly to spar with his cousin, Russell, who was short and stocky and already had "had "about 10" amateur fights. Almost from the outset, Marvis was getting the best of him and liking it He asked Benton to work with him. -.). "I thought it was a fad," Benton said. ; It was anything but But first father and son had a long talk. "He told me this was no plaything," Marvis recalled. "He told me there were no shortcuts. And no half-stepping. If I did it just because my father did it, I'd never have been able to come as far as I have. I wouldn't have it in the heart. And when they start swinging, you'd better not be in there just imitating a great fighter." Joe has just finished an hour-long workout Peeling off a sweat-soaked T-shirt that says "Bourbon Street New Orleans," he changed into a green terry-cloth robe with his name inscribed on the back and settles into his black swivel chair. The room features a gold couch, stereo system, piles of records, portraits of him in and out . of the ring, and, most important, pictures of the family. On the end tables. On the coffee table. On . the desk. Recently, the Fraziers took in Marcus, a 2-year-old foster child. Frazier is hoping he can : eventually adopt him. After all he has been sharing whatever he had since he picked cotton alongside his father in the steaming South Carolina fields. He sees no reason to stop now. He stares long and bard at the picture of Marvis. "I read more about him than I ever read about myself. When you're talking about the kid, you're talking about me. The chip didn't fall far from the stump. Marvis is a better fighter than I ' was at 18. I'm just living my life all over again, and he's doing a better job. ; v "If lie wants to fight, let' him fight If he wants to quit, let him quit, damn it It doesn't matter. Whether he's good, bad or ugly, he's still my son." Frazier is late for a lunch date and leaves the room to change clothes. When a reporter asks to speak to Frazier's wife, Frazier dials the num ber and puts a seven-minute time limit on the call. ' " ; Florence Frazier never wanted this. "Seeing your husband get hurt is one thing," she said, "seeing your baby get hurt is another. But he is exactly like his father. You can tell them things, and it is like you are saying nothing. I have learned I can't talk the men in my house out of 'anything." Especially Marvis, as he moves toward the threshold of a dream. Winning the Golden Gloves, , he says "puts me in the (driver's) seat" for the Pan-American Games. Then come the Olympics; and the awarding of the gold medal. On his way to the Golden Gloves title he decisioned former Olympian Jimmy Clark, ranked No. 2 internationally among amateur heavyweights. He says he has no fear of Stevenson. : He says be will study business at Pierce Junior College in Philadelphia after Moscow.. ; . - But trainer Benton sees greater vistas. "He's on the road to being a defensive genius," Benton said. "Give me 18 months and 111 have him looking like another Houdini. If you hit him with one hand, you better forget about hitting him with that hand again. You might as well put it in your pocket He can do whatever the situation calls for. He's 18, and he's doing some things the top contenders don't do. Wait until he matures and develops a man's strength . . ." ; 4 ; , , , .' Even Marvis Frazier, modest Marvis , Frazier, of the Beaufort, S.C. and Philadelphia ' Fraziers, is impressed with himself. i "I don't see any weaknesses," he says, looking right at his listener. "I guess that's why I'm a champion." . - Par arioid Chief Fear Shootout By Warren Newman Constitution Staff Writer Near the end of the North American Soccer League's Rules of Soccer, there are four paragraphs of fine print, which begin "If the game remains tief' at the end of the second overtime period, the outcome .will be decided by' The Shootout . . .", . Shootout It sounds ominous enough on its own. But mention it to the Atlanta Chiefs and it's like showing Dracula a mirror. ? And after two consecutive, frustrating losses in the strictly American tiebreaker invention (first to .Rochester and , last week to the New York Cosmos), the last thing the 0-3 Chiefs practiced before leaving Atlanta for Saturday's game against 1-2 Detroit at the Silverdome was The Shootout. "I'm looking for a regular win. Even an overtime win. Anything but another shootout," said goalkeeper Tad Delorm, referring to the procedure where five players from each team get their chances to beat the opposing goalie one-on-one. Delorm , turned back the likes of . Georgio Chinaglia and Franz Becken-bauer and played the shootout as well as anyone could expect before succumbing to the ninth Cosmos shooter in the 3-2 loss at The Stadium. After the regulation five shooters, the shootout was tied 2-2. ; ; : In the wake of three losses, the last two of which easily could have been wins, the mood during this week's - practices might have easily been dark. But the nature of the last two games seems to have kept the players from' feeling anything near somber. "It's been an up week for me," said Delorm. "We've lost three games and some tempers have been flaring out on the practice field, but a lot of us have ' been staying after practice and putting in extra work. We sure as hell aren't giving up." Defensive captain Colin Waldron, who virtually neutralized the Cosmos' Chinaglia man-for-man last week," echoed Delorm. "Even though the Cosmos game was , our third defeat in a row, there's reason for optimism," he said. "We've had enthusiasm onfield this week. This team can hold its own in the NASL. Like any sports team, we just need time to blend. "There comes a time when you have to stop looking at hard-luck stories. It's only a lack of concentration that's COSt US." ' ;; ; While the Chiefs were Suffering concentration lapses against the Cosmos last week, the Express which last year won the American Conference , Central Division with a 20-10 record : wa3 embarrassing strike-torn Mem-, phis 6-0. And they did so mainly on' the strength of four goals by forward Bob Rohrbach, who Chiefs Coach Dan Wood sold to Detroit when he acquired Jeff Bourne from Dallas in the off-season. Rohrbach and ex-Chief Brian Tin-nion (also sold to Detroit by Wood) make up two-thirds of the Express' forward line. , "And those guys," Wood said, "are going to have a lot of incentive playing against us." But a definite boon for the Chiefs will be the absence of Detroit's star forward Trevor Francis, whom Wood calls "the best striker in the league." Francis won't join the Express until the season ends in England, where he plays for First Division power Nottingham Forest. 3 i - "They lost their first two games this . year 1-0, which led us to believe they aren't as strong up front without Francis," Wood said. NOTES - Carl Strong may start in place of midfielder Adrian Brooks, who has been slowed with a groin pull. Wood said he was impressed with Strong's second-half play against the Cosmos. Otherwise no lineup changes have been made . . . Tom Lang, back from' the players' strike, will be the No. 1 defensive substitute. Louie Nanchoff, who scored in the last 20 seconds of , regulation against ' the Cosmos, will again be the No. 1 sub at forward . . . The Chiefs will be play-- ing their first game on an artificial surface at the Silverdome. - ( y I'VjJl STATION SIMPUE tSSOPHISTiaTERg5 JjtWAaoN SEPAM SPORTS Q6? Thompson Sets Record As Tech Falls From Sufi And Pmt Oitpetchei Georgia Tech's Tommy Thompson hit two home runs his 12th and 13th of the season to break the school single-season record, but the Yellow Jackets still lost to Georgia State 10-9 Friday at Tech's Rose Bowl Field. Georgia State, 10-8, got homers from Brian Hannon and Gene Hall and a complete-game pitching performance by Alan Traylor. Dong Ibele also homered for Tech, 10-11. In other college baseball, Dave Howard's throw from center field in the ninth inning cut down what would have been the tying run and enabled Georgia Southern to post a 5-4 victory over South Carolina in Statesboro. The victory moved the Eagles' season record to 32-11. U.S. Loses In World Hockey West Germany scored six straight goals to defeat the United States 6-3 Friday in consolation play at the World Hockey Championships in Moscow. The young U.S. team, with a dozen college players and only a handful of National Hockey League and minor league players, led 2-0 before the experienced West Germans wore them down. ' The loss dropped the U.S. to the bottom in the B Group standings behind West Germany. The Americans have lost three games and tied two. . The last-place team in the B-Group standings will be eliminated from next year's event Tanner Advances To Semis Roscoe Tanner beat Italy's Adriano Panatta 7-5, 6-3 in a twice-postponed match and then came back Friday in the afternoon to beat another Italian, Corrado Barazzutti, 6-2, 6-4 and earn the semifinals of a World Championship of Tennis tournament in Houston. Palmar Second In Decathlon Georgia Tech's' Pat Palmar is second in the decathlon after five events in the Atlantic Coast Conference track and field championships at Chappel Hill, N.C. - Carlos Tandron and Scott Elinger finished third in the shot put and javelin, respectively, as Tech totaled 15 points in Fridas field events. Tandron threw the shot 57 feet, 1 inch and Klinger threw the javelin 206 feet, 8 inches. Favored Maryland, with Renaldo Nehemiah smashing ACC records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, has a commanding lead with 80 points. Virginia is second" with 37 points. The meet concludes Saturday. ' .. . . Briefly . . . v DeForrest Jackson of Decatur is one of 50, runners selected Friday to help carry the Olympic torch from Washington, D.C., to the 1980 Winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 53-year-old Jackson is director of communications for Coca-Cola, U.S.A., Atlanta ... The Alabama Vulcans of the semi-pro American Football Association will hold tryouts at Woodward Academy in College Park Saturday at 9 a.m. ... The Greater Atlanta Auburn Club will meet May 12 at the Atlantic Steel Pavilion in Atlanta, with Auburn football coach Doog Barfield in attendance. For further information, contact Charles Owens at 321-3781 . . . The Georgia Tech lacrosse team will conclude its home season Saturday with a 4 p.m. game against The Citadel at Grant Field, The Yellow Jackets are 5-3 . . ; .' Georgia State has signed Dave Kessler, a 6-foot-2 guard from Lake City (Fla.) Community College, to a basketball scholarship ... Si Simmons, a 6-9 center from Monroe Academy in Forsyth, has signed a basketball scholarship with Western Carolina. Quoting 'Em Birmingham Bulls General Manager Gilles Leger, commenting on the attraction World' Hockey Association players had for Southern women: "We should have never lost at borne with those visiting players out all night The only trouble was that our players were out, too." Saturday's Calendar Auto Racing Gould Twin Dixie, Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, qualifying and practice, 11 a.m. Baseball San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves, The Stadium, 7:35 p.m., WSB (750). Drag Racing Dixie Nationals, Atlanta International Dragway in Commerce, qualifying, 10 a.m. Football University of Georgia G-Day game, Sanford Stadium, 2 p.m. . Running Seven-mile , Schlitz Light Peachtree Battle Road Race, Peachtree Battle Avenue and Peachtree Road, 9 a.m. - Soccer Atlanta Chiefs at Detroit Express, Pontiac Silverdome, 7:30 p.m., Channel 17, WGST (920). if the saying is true and you reay are what you drive, consider for a moment the car you're now driving. Are you a "simple sedan" or a "widebodv station wagon? But you'd rather be a chic, sophisticated sports car? Your "new look" could be as close as Southlake Mall's Sports Car Show! Southlake will feature many of the most prestigious sports cars in the world April 23-29. On display will be models that reflect economy and luxury, as well as the spottiness that has become important to Americans. '' ; : " You can also register for a 1979 AMC Spirit 2 Door Hatchback sedan to be given away by American Motors. Sponsored by Jackson AMC Jeep and Southlake Matt, this giveaway is one of twenty that will take place nationwide. So don't forget to register! : ". " Remember, you are what you drive! Better make tracks to Southlake today! r3?Tl Hours: 10 ajn. - 9 pjn. Mon.-Sat . w pi- 12:30 - 5:30 Sun. Southlake; 1-75 South at the Morrow Exit Soutlilake's Sports Car Show April 23-29 Sedan De Ville 13D Scd 3ALG THE SOUTH'S LARGEST CADILLAC DEALER ni3 LaJ U L in I 3 1-285 ct Ashford Dun woody Rd. 4 M V J M l 1 fulfill Adjacent to Perimeter Mall. J 0 ll. aaaa 0. KK .0l kj.jk .jm,, ,n Aiiifcji jim.. i 0. j. m jm fm j .

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