When Derek Frazier’s father died in Nov. 2011, he mourned the loss and thought about what his life would be like going forward. Then, Smokin’ Joe’s youngest son decided to follow in the famous boxing-footsteps of the former heavyweight champion of the world who once floored Muhammad Ali.
“This is the story of how I was made into a boxer,” says Derek Frazier in a sneak-peek promo spot for an upcoming episode of MTV’s self-improvement reality show “Made.”
The commercial goes a long way to explaining why cameras followed Frazier to, among other places, a September press conference outside City Hall announcing the ongoing Joe Frazier statue fundraising effort.
Bringing boxing history to a younger generation
While Frazier was unable to discuss the episode itself on Wednesday, he spoke to NewsWorks about why he did it, and what he hopes it accomplishes.
“After his death, I thought I wasn’t going to do anything in life. I felt lost,” he said. “This gives me a chance to honor my father, to prove to people that just because I look nice and sweet, I can get rough-and-tough, down-and-dirty in the ring like my dad. I’m a Frazier. I wanted to see if I could do it.”
The “it” to which Frazier referred was following brothers Marvis and Hector and sister Jackie Frazier-Lyde into the boxing ring. He said that mission goes beyond proving personal toughness.
“I’m hoping this helps with getting more people to recognize his name, to show him the respect he deserves. Ali gets all the respect in the world; my dad deserves it just the same,” he said. “I want to keep his name in their minds.”
‘Red-carpet’ event Saturday at Chickie’s and Pete’s
That plays into more than just the statue-fundraising efforts. Frazier noted that MTV’s younger, social-media savvy audience is an untapped demographic who may never have heard of his famous father.
“I’m excited to know that this is something big, that will be played worldwide, and online,” said Frazier, the youngest of Joe’s 11 children, who will host a premiere-party at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia on Saturday. “I want to be a part of the boxing community since Joe Frazier can’t go around to events anymore.
“I don’t know how they edited the show, but I didn’t put any acts on. This is something I wanted to do for my father.”
A preview of the episode, which airs for the first time at 2 p.m. Saturday, is available on MTV’s website.