Frazier vs. Ali IV was the reason for
5'9" Jacqui "Sister Smoke" Frazier-Lyde
to step into the pro boxing ring. Frazier-Lyde, a Philadelphia attorney
and mother of three, is one of former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier's eleven children.
After Laila Ali's pro boxing debut in October, 1999
Jacqui Frazier-Lyde told the media that she wanted to square the series between
the two boxing families. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had made boxing history
while testing the
limits of human endurance in a boxing ring, in three classic 1970's matchups.
Ali won twice, Frazier once.
Like "Star Trek", Frazier vs. Ali continued into the Next Generation as
their daughters' grudge match was set for June 8, 2001 at the Turning Stone Casino
on the Oneida Nation in upstate New York.
"It would be a great draw," said Jacqui when she first announced the goal
she was setting herself as a professional boxer. "It would establish Laila financially, and
then I would establish her horizontally."
Frazier-Lyde was born on December 2, 1961 in Beaufort, South Carolina.
She was class president at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High in Philadelphia and she competed in basketball, hockey, softball and lacrosse. She won an athletic scholarship to
American University, and began her studies as a chemistry major. She
then switched into law, which she studied at Villanova University, where she graduated in 1988. After working as a public
defender and in property law she went on to open her own
criminal law practice.
After making her challenge to Laila Ali, which
few in the boxing world took seriously at the time, Frazier-Lyde began her boxing career on February 6, 2000 at the Cultural Center in
Scranton, Pennsylvania. She weighed in at 176 lbs against
19-year old Teela Reese (5'9", 187 lbs) from the YMCA
gym in Ashtabula, Ohio, which was well known for producing boxers
who take early-round TKO losses. Jacqui duly won
by TKO at 1:23 of the first round. Neither fighter showed much in the way of ring skills in
this brief encounter, for which Frazier-Lyde was reportedly paid $25,000 by promoter Don Elbaum.
Reese, whose purse was reportedly $800, fell to 0-2 and has not competed since.
On March 19, 2000 at the Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort in Chester, West Virginia,
1,900 people watched Frazier-Lyde (173 lbs) win by a TKO at 0:21 of the third round over
debut fighter Annie Brooks (198 lbs) of Hickory, North Carolina.
The referee called two standing eight counts in the first round: one after a right uppercut to Brooks' jaw, and another
right-left-right combination eleven seconds before the bell.
Brooks' face was bloodied early in the second round and she
received her third standing eight count, plus a warning for failing to fight back.
A correspondent wrote to me that "Frazier looked fit and strong. She kept moving
constantly and throwing strong combinations. It's hard to judge when her
opponent won't fight. Annie Brooks would move to the center ring and stand
flat footed, slowly moving in a circular motion, following Jacqui as
she circled and fired. Brooks threw very few punches, if you can call them
that. She complained when they stopped the bout, but it was totally
justified. Brooks was pretty much a punching bag."
On April 7, 2000 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York,
Frazier-Lyde won by a TKO at 0:59 of the first round over Wanda Gamble
of Akron, Ohio, who was making her pro debut. Frazier-Lyde stunned Gamble seconds after the bell
with a jab that resulted in a standing eight count on Gamble. The fight ended
when Gamble absorbed a body shot, stood still for a few moments, then took a knee
in the center of the ring.
On May 19, 2000 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut,
2,300 fans saw Frazier-Lyde (170 lbs) win by a TKO at 1:04 in the fourth round over
Norma Galloway (171 lbs) of New York, who was making her own pro debut.
Galloway, whose age was variously
reported from 36 to 40, was trained by former featherweight contender Patrick Ford.
Frazier-Lyde charged out and threw haymakers at Galloway early in the fight.
Frazier-Lyde floored Galloway early in the fourth round, but Galloway immediately got up and motioned to
referee Steve Smoger that she had been pushed down.
Frazier-Lyde kept up the pressure, using a jab to set up her hook
eventually pinning Galloway on the ropes and ending it
with a right-left combination that
prompted referee Smoger to stop the bout. Galloway had been in trouble from the opening bell and could do
little more than flail away and hold Frazier-Lyde when she got close, often
throwing punches with her eyes closed (and badly missing!).
"I hope they thought it was intelligent boxing, not just two chicks throwing some punches,"
said Frazier-Lyde after this fight. "I have power and she has power. I just did a better job setting
mine up. You have to set your power up if you want to be successful. Laila Ali should be
more scared than she's already been,"
On September 27, 2000 at Kahunaville in Wilmington, Delaware,
she knocked out Darlene Sabo (32, 5'10", 159 lbs)
of Edysburg, Pennsylvania at 1:17 of the fourth round in a scheduled six-rounder.
Frazier-Lyde attacked for the whole fight
and knocked Sabo down twice with rights to the head before she
ended it with a right to the stomach. Frazier-Lyde suffered a split
lip during the bout; Sabo had a bruised and swollen right eye.
Sabo, who fell to 0-2, had been boxing for
six months and was TKO'd by Amy Burton in the third round of her previous pro fight.
Sabo also had 13 years of background in the martial arts and is a certified karate
instructor. Joe Frazier, who was at ringside, is reported to have remarked
that his daughter was "improving".
On November 17, 2000 at Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi,
A crowd estimated at 2000 saw Frazier-Lyde knock out
Nicolyn Armstrong of Indianapolis at 1:06 of the first round.
Frazier-Lyde dropped Armstrong once with a right, then again with a
Armstrong fell to 1-6-1 (and with this loss had been kayoed five times in the
first round of a fight.) Armstrong had faced Laila Ali on December 10, 1999 in Detroit
where she lasted two rounds, while Frazier-Lyde dropped her in the first.
"I was faster and stronger than Armstrong and she is only 26 years old, so
age doesn't make a difference!" said Frazier-Lyde after the bout.
On March 2, 2001 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York,
Frazier-Lyde (down to 164 lbs) moved to 7-0 (7 KO's) when she TKO'd Genevia Buckhalter (168½ lbs)
of Columbus, Mississippi at 1:05 in the first round. Frazier-Lyde knocked
Buckhalter down twice, first with two lefts to the chin, then again with
a haymaker to the head. Frazier-Lyde had to push her dazed opponent (who fell to 1-8-1)
off her as she dropped to the canvas. Frazier-Lyde was barely touched in this bout.
Soon after Frazier-Lyde dispatched Buckhalter, Laila Ali slugged her way to a fifth-round KO over Christine Robinson of Lexington, South Carolina on
the same fight card. Ali absorbed her share of punishment from her
tenacious opponent, but the crowd chanted "Ali, Ali, Ali, Ali" as she pummeled Robinson to the canvas.
This was the first time that Ali and Frazier appeared on
the same card (billed as "March to Destiny" in anticipation
of their head-to-head tilt), and on the 30th anniversary of
their fathers' first fight in Madison Square Garden for the Heavyweight Championship in 1971.
At a news conference to announce the Ali-Frazier IV event after this
double bill, Frazier-Lyde said she didn't get to show all her punches
because her fight with Buckhalter was over so quickly. "It only took me one round to finish my opponent",
said Frazier-Lyde. "As you all saw," answered Ali, "our opponents were on two totally
different levels. So that tells me nothing."
The big question before the fight was whether Jacqui Frazier-Lyde was
ready for Laila Ali. Ali had gone 9-0 against competition that
also included rank novices (and one opponent old enough to be her mother).
But she had also shown some skills, tenacity and punching power while
notching wins over capable fighters such as Karen Bill (who tested Ali's chin
and resolve by knocking her down in Detroit), Kendra Lenhart
(who the IFBA rated as a title challenger, who twice KO'd two time world
champion Valerie Mahfood and who took Ali the six-round distance),
and Christine Robinson (who went five rounds against Christy Martin).
Ali had been tested harder than Frazier-Lyde, and had youth on her side.
Jacqui with her brother Marvis Frazier before the Ali fight
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt
But "Sister Smoke" saw it very differently! Despite the combined record of all
her opponents being a dismal 2-21-2, she said that she had
been ready to fight Ali for a year, and that Laila was
now "in for a more artful butt-kicking than originally." She also told
the Associated Press that "the Fraziers have great love for the Ali
family ... we especially love giving them a good butt-kicking." Frazier-Lyde
had a huge edge in the pre-fight verbal sparring, but most boxing commentators
saw her as the underdog once in the ring ...
fact, the generational "grudge match" turned out to be a toe-to-toe slugfest as Frazier-
Lyde (164 lbs) rose to the occasion of her first tough fight and took Ali (160¾ lbs) all the way to a majority
decision in an entertaining eight-rounder. The scorecards were 77-75 and an absurd 79-73 for Ali, and one card a draw at
76-76. Frazier-Lyde started well but Ali won the middle rounds. "Sister Smoke" charged back in the late going and
staggered Ali several times in a rousing finish. The two biggest names among the crop of "famous
daughters" confounded the skeptics who had predicted a "Groaner in Verona" and put on a show that may just encourage
the media to take a closer look at other women's boxing! [Fight report]
It may not have been sweet science, but the daughters' fight had
put women's boxing in view of a mass public like never before, including the
cover of the May 28, 2001 TV Guide in the USA, perhaps the most widely-seen
location in the print media!
On December 14, 2001 at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (169 lbs) won the WIBA
light heavyweight title with a TKO at 1:44 in the fourth round over IBA Super Middleweight champion
Suzette Taylor (177 lbs) of Las Vegas. Frazier-Lyde traded bombs with the more experienced Taylor from the opening
bell. Taylor landed a left hook that shook Frazier-Lyde as she was coming in but Jacqui landed several rights on Taylor as
the two fought on the inside. Taylor won this round on the basis of her left hook. Frazier-Lyde used more movement in the
second and made Taylor come after her. Taylor fired away with rights and left hooks, but Frazier-Lyde started throwing,
and landing, her right hand behind her jab. Taylor was getting wild, and Jacqui was boxing well and countering with hard
rights to the head. Frazier-Lyde turned up the pressure in the third as she landed a string of hard rights to Taylor's
face and exploded with a four-punch combination to Taylor's head and body. Taylor seemed unable to answer Frazier-Lyde
effectively and was cut over the bridge of her nose. Frazier-Lyde dominated the fourth round against an increasingly wild
and ineffective Taylor. The fight came to a sudden end when Taylor appeared to twist her ankle and went to the canvas for
a nine count. Taylor was limping after this and the bout was stopped. Taylor fell to 10-6-1, (5 KOs). This bout against
a seasoned opponent who had been in wars with some of women's boxing's best should have dispelled any remaining doubts
about the seriousness of Frazier-Lyde's boxing intentions.
On June 4, 2002 at Temple Corps Community Center in Philadelphia: a scheduled eight-rounder for the vacant WIBF
Intercontinental Super Middleweight championship between Erin
Toughill of Costa Mesa, California and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde was ruled a no contest because Toughill had been cut on her
forehead by a clash of heads. The bout was stopped 1:17 into the third round for a cut to Toughill that required ten
stitches to close. It had been caused by a clash of heads near the end of the second round which Toughill believes was a
head butt by Frazier-Lyde. Frazier-Lyde told reporters "We butted heads, I'll admit that", then added
"but people paid
good money to see a fight ... I think she could have continued."
The two and a half rounds that were completed hadn't
seen much action. Frazier-Lyde said she had planned to wear Toughill down ...
"I was waiting on her, she was waiting on
me, and we were both waiting on each other". Toughill's take was "she is a tough woman and a true competitor [but] I
clearly dominated the fight and would have most likely won the bout." Toughill's trainer Jesse Reid stated that his
fighter "wanted to start off slow and attack Jacqui to the body. We were going to be patient until the fourth round, then
turn Erin loose." Toughill, an accomplished no-holds-barred fighter, stated that she expects to get a rematch, and to
claim the title belt! Her pro boxing record remains at 2-1-1 (0 KO).
On July 27, 2002 at the Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia, Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (166 lbs) TKO'd Heidi Hartmann (166 lbs) of Germany at 0:50 in the third round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the for
the WIBF Intercontinental Super Middleweight title. Hartmann seemed wary of Frazier-Lyde's KO power and tried to fight on
the outside, but Frazier-Lyde's aggressive tactics kept her on her back foot. Frazier-Lyde was soon able to wade in and
land heavily to the German's head and body. Midway through the third round, Hartmann was hurt by a right hook followed by
a quick barrage, and dropped to the canvas as the referee intervened. The bout was stopped immmediately. Hartmann fell to
2-1-1 (2 KO).
Kendra Lenhart, WIBF President Barbara Buttrick, and
Jacqui Frazier-Lyde before the Lenhart-Lyde WIBF title fight
On December 13, 2002 at World Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a crowd estimated at 1200 saw Frazier-Lyde (165 lbs)
win a ten-round unanimous (99-90,98-91,98-91) decision over
Kendra Lenhart of Atlanta, Georgia to take the WIBF super middleweight title away from Lenhart and add the vacant GBU
168-pound title to her collection. Frazier-Lyde knocked Lenhart down with a big right in the third and controlled the rest
of the bout. "I should have used my boxing skills," said Frazier-Lyde after the fight.
"I felt good, I felt strong, but I
didn't take advantage of my jab enough. In my mind, I was going for the KO a little too much. Kendra is ... tough ... it
was unbelievable the amount of punches she took." Said Lenhart: "Jacqui is a good strong fighter and hits real hard." Lenhart says she was knocked out on her feet in the first round and was surprised by Frazier-Lyde's speed and power.
Frazier's father "Smokin' Joe" added: "Jacqui's coming along, she fought a good fight." Lenhart fell to 8-10-1 (8 KO).
(See WBAN's weigh-in photos
On March 21, 2003 at
the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jacqui (167 lbs) won an eight-round
unanimous (80-72 on all cards) decision over Shirvelle Williams (167½ lbs) of St. Petersburg, Florida in a super middleweight non-title bout.
Frazier-Lyde moved and used the ring and her punching power well to control
Williams, who didn't back down although she was clearly out-boxed and
out-punched. Williams fell to 5-4-0 (2 KO).
On August 31, 2004 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, Jacqui (186 lbs) won a clear (40-36) four-round unanimous decision
over Carley Pesente (213 lbs) of Bethel, Connecticut. Frazier-Lyde,
fighting at her highest weight ever, worked off her 15-month layoff by pummeling
a game but overmatched Pesente in every round. Pesente tried to come forward
throughout the fight but was met with good ring movement by Frazier-Lyde who
scored with left hooks and short, clean rights to the head. Pesente did land
some solid rights to Frazier-Lyde, but the outcome was never in doubt as Pesente
fell to 3-8-1 (3 KO).
On September 10, 2004 at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New
Jersey, Jackie (179 lbs) won the UBA World Heavyweight title with a ten-round
unanimous (97-92,96-92,95-93) decision over Mary Ann
Almager (183 lbs) of Texas. Frazier-Lyde advanced to 13-1-0 (9 KO)
while Almager fell to 14-8-0 (9 KO). Mary Ann came out of an almost
one-year retirement from competitive boxing to take this fight. Almager
pressured Frazier-Lyde throughout the fight. Frazier-Lyde went down to one knee
from a hard right in round two, after they had traded left hooks. Frazier-Lyde
was forced to use all of her ability to win the fight, working Almager over with
body punches against the ropes. Jacqui won most of the remaining rounds, but
went to the canvas again in the final round, in which Almager was very
aggressive again. The knockdown was disputed, with Frazier-Lyde claiming that it
was a push, but it was ruled an official knockdown.
"It was a tough fight for both ladies," said Pete Lyde, Jacqui's manager
and husband. "We are testing the waters at
heavyweight, and Jacqui is facing bigger girls. Her last opponent weighed 218
pounds. She will probably have one more fight
in the heavyweight division, and then go back down to light heavyweight."
The win was also significant for Frazier-Lyde as it came on the 40th
anniversary of her father's Olympic boxing gold medal in 1964.
Frazier-Lyde's manager is her husband Peter, who says he thought hard about Jacqui putting on the gloves.
"As a man
... you have second thoughts," he says. "One friend of mine reminded me that as a successful lawyer, this sort of thing
would degrade her. I gave it a thought for a day, and when I saw how enthusiastic she was I said, ‘Go all the way.' I was
convinced when I saw her working the speed bag and moving her feet at the same time, the same way Joe did. I saw (her
brother and trainer) Marvis look at (her father) Joe, and the both of them smiled."
Jacqui herself says
"What do they think I have been doing all these years watching the guys ... just sitting there?"
know they were happy with me being a lawyer, but why can't I do both, and many other things too?"
"I fight in court every day with people who are not the nicest. Boxing? That is easy compared to who I really have to
More Jacqui Frazier-Lyde Links
Other Jacqui Frazier-Lyde links
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Page last updated:
Saturday December 15, 2012