PHILADELPHIA — With his championship belt and a pair of gloves draped over his casket, Joe Frazier was going one more round.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson asked mourners to rise, put their hands together and for one last time “show your love” for the former heavyweight champion.
Muhammad Ali obliged.
A frail and trembling Ali rose from his seat and vigorously clapped for “Smokin’ Joe,” the fighter who handed Ali his first loss.
Ali was among the nearly 4,000 people who packed the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church for a two-hour “joyful celebration” of Frazier’s life. He died last week of liver cancer at 67. Also attending were former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and promoter Don King.
His body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, Ali was accompanied by members of his family and wife, Lonnie.
Jackson delivered a stirring eulogy, describing Frazier as someone who “came from segregation, degradation and disgrace to amazing grace.”
Mike Tyson, a catch in his voice, sent a taped message of condolence, as did real estate magnate Donald Trump and actor Mickey Rourke.
“We made history together,” said King, who promoted Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman, who was knocked out in the eighth round. “We tried to make America better.”