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Richard Frazier deserves to be remembered as more than just fodder for Roy Jones

Richard Frazier
Michael Marley speaks to the beat cop who went in with the very best, Richard Frazier

IT’S a common expression in law enforcement especially in the five boroughs which comprise New York City. Actual and/or suspected criminals are disparaged as “skels” or “perps” by NYPD’s men and women crimefighters. In Minnesota, the notorious perp now known and loathed universally is disgraced cop Derek Chauvin. He stands accused of killing George Floyd, an unarmed black man. To hear former light-heavyweight contender and Roy Jones opponent Richard Frazier, AKA Tricky Rick Frazier tell it, any required trial is just noise.
As this longtime copper views it, they can leave Chauvin in the slammer and lose the keys.

“This guy deserves a life sentence, he really earned it,” the 18-4-1 (7) ex-fighter said from his Manhattan home. “The video seems to tell the story here, the gross inhumanity. Black lives do matter just like blue lives, all human lives do.”

Frazier noted that Chauvin was not under attack or duress. “He had his hands in his pockets so what was the threat to Chauvin?”

What fate for Chauvin’s jailed colleagues? “It’s up to the legal system but I wouldn’t permit anyone to conduct themselves like that around me, not on my watch. I would not tolerate such unprofessional nonsense,” Frazier said.

Frazier, soon to be age 61 and happily retired from both boxing and The Thin Blue Line, took ample pride in being a cop for 18 years and is equally proud of his two sons who are cops and his ex-cop wife. He was proud to be and accomplished amateur boxer (124-5) and compiled a decent ring record although he was a late starter in going pro as a southpaw. One of his frequent sparring partners was Bronxite and three-weight alphabet titlist, Iran “The Blade” Barkley.

In 1991, when Roy Jones was boxing’s heralded, 29-year-old pound-for-pound king, Frazier was granted a lucrative surprise HBO main event in Roy’s beloved Florida backyard. Simply put, the bout was a disaster for the beat cop who patrolled the Bronx and Harlem. Jones dispensed with the Cinderella challenger in just under two forgettable rounds. Frazier suffered a right leg injury which led to surgery four days later.

HBO announcers Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley, whose employer voluntarily greenlighted and financed the obvious mismatch, verbally trashed Frazier as being incompetent and worse. “Merchant called me garbage on national TV,” Frazier said. “If I look at the fight now, I do it with the sound off.”

Fact is the announcers treated Frazier like he was the fistic equivalent of a lowly perpetrator. After the ring debacle, HBO execs Lou DiBella and Kery Davis hammered WBC bossman Jose Sulaiman for what they said was “a disgraceful” mandatory title situation. Few noticed that the WBA ranked Frazier second in the division.

“I gave it my best. I was excited to fight a guy with Roy’s stature,” Frazier said.

Neither Frazier nor manager Grant Elvis Phillips will say this so I will. If HBO didn’t write a cheque to Roy Jones and to Frazier’s promoter Don King, the bout never would have transpired. Blaming Frazier, who landed just four of his 29 punches, was absurd. Tricky Rick came to fight against a monster. On the beat or in the ring, Tricky Rick was a professional.

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