Frazier Vs Bonavena I Sept 21, 1966 New York N.Y.

Fight Recap by:  Shawn Matsko

  Joe Frazier was a hot prospect out of Philadelphia. He had been Olympic champion in 1964, and now had 11 wins as a pro all of them by knockouts. He was set for his first serious test against another tough prospect from Argentina, Oscar Bonavena.

  Bonavena had been in 23 fights. Which was more than twice Frazier's log. He was 21-2 with 17 knockouts. They had two common opponents at this time. Bonavena had Kayoed Billy Daniels in 1 round while Joe had taken 6 rounds to do the job. Bonavena had taken 10 rounds to win a decision over Dick Wipperman, while Frazier had taken half that time to kayo him in 5.

    Was Joe being thrown in over his head?

Round 1-Frazier Jabs & Bonavena is useing side to side movement. Oscar lands a good right. Frazier throws two jabs. Bonavena ties Joe up. They exchange jabs. Frazier lands a left-right to the body as the round concludes.
Frazier's Round 10-9

Round 2-Bonavena is jabbing. Oscar lands a left-right. They take turns landing. Bonavena lands a right. FRAZIER IS DOWN! He gets up. OSCAR SENDS HIM DOWN AGAIN WITH THREE LEFTS! Frazier rises to his feet again. It looked more like a slip. Frazier ties up for the rest of the round. BONAVENA IS CUT OVER THE LEFT EYE AS THE ROUND ENDS!
Bonavena's Round 10-8 (19-18) Bonavena

Round 3-Bonavena is jabbing as he moves side to side. Oscar lands a good hook. Frazier jabs and lands a right. Smokin Joe lands to the body. Frazier scores with a jab as the round ends.
Frazier's Round 10-9 (28-28) Even

Round 4-Frazier is jabbing as the round begins. Bonavena lands a right. Frazier goes to the body with his left. Frazier lands a right downstairs. Smokin Joe lands a left-right. Good round for Joe.
Frazier's Round 10-9 (38-37) Frazier

Round 5-Frazier jabs as Oscar moves to his left. Oscar begins to crouch a bit. Frazier swings with a hook that misses. Frazier lands a left hook. Bonavena is trying to keep away from Joe. Smokin Joe lands a right to the body late in the round.
Frazier's Round 10-9 (48-46) Frazier

Round 6-they brawl as the round begins. Bonavena lands a left. Frazier is lunging with his left. Smokin Joe lands a right downstairs. They tie eachother up as the round ends.
Even Round 10-10 (58-56) Frazier

Round 7-Bonavena tries two lefts and a right. He ties Joe up. Frazier has Oscar cornered and lands two rights downstairs. They brawl along the ropes. Frazier with a jab late.
Frazier's Round 10-9 (68-65)Frazier

Round 8-Frazier lands to the body early in the round. He lands a big right. Joe lands again with a left hook. Bonavena is jabbing to keep Joe away but Frazier keeps coming. BONAVENA'S CUT IS RE-OPENED. Frazier lunging with the left late in the round.
Frazier's Round 10-9 (78-74) Frazier

Round 9-Frazier is moving oscar to the ropes more. BONAVENA LANDS A LEFT THAT STUNNED SMOKIN JOE. Joe lands aright. Frazier lands two rights. Bonavena lands a jab. He now has Joe backing up. Oscar is working his jab late.
Bonavena's Round 10-9 (87-84) Frazier.

Round 10-They touch gloves for the final round. It's becoming a pier-sixer now! Bonavena works the jab Frazier lunges wit the left. Bonavena lands his own left. HE HAS JOE STUNNED AGAIN BRIEFLY! Joe lands a left & right to the body at the bell.
Bonavena's Round 10-9 (96-94) Frazier is my decision.

Judge's Decision 5-4-1 Frazier
    6-4 Frazier
    5-5 (7-5)Bonavena


  Smokin Joe passed his first big test. The interesting thing about this fight was that Joe Frazier displayed a jab. Something he would abandon in favor of that wrecking ball left hook as he came into his prime.
  I had the fight 96-94 which broke down to 6-3-1 in rounds. A case could be made for it being 96-95 if you didn't count the second knockdown in round 2 which seemed more like a slip to me.
  Suplimental points, not the 10 point must system was in vogue then. I would have had it 6-4 for Smokin Joe under those rules, with a case made for it being 6-5.
  They would meet again in Philadelphia. Frazier had gained more experience by that time and he also had the New york and 5 other states title. Joe won all but 2 or 3 rounds the next time and stayed on his feet throughtout.
  Both would be a factor in the heavyweight picture for the next 10 years. Both would face Muhammad Ali before they were through.
Frazier would go on to be an all time great champion, and Bonavena would die in a shooting in Nevada.