Heart of a Champion: Tribute to Smokin’ Joe Frazier

Heart of a Champion: Tribute to Smokin’ Joe Frazier by Ernel Martinez. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

Mural Arts Philadelphia is honoring Philadelphia world champion boxer Smokin’ Joe Frazier with a new mural. Mural Arts artist Ernel Martinez worked with the Frazier family in 2019 to create a design that captures the spirit of Philadelphia’s favorite fighter. The mural was then painted with support from boxers around the city.

Smokin’ Joe Frazier was the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion from 1970 to 1973. He lived in North Philadelphia where he owned and managed Joe Frazier’s Gym, which remains at 2917 North Broad Street, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He was known for training at his gym and on the Boxers’ Trail in Fairmount Park, where in 1971 Mohammad Ali sought him out to challenge him to the “Fight of the Century,” which he won. After his retirement in 1975, Frazier opened the gym to the public and trained young fighters in the community. He died in November of 2011.

Mural Arts artist Ernel Martinez worked with the Strawberry Mansion community and the Frazier family to create a design that captures the spirit of Philadelphia’s favorite fighter.

Funder 

City of Philadelphia