Joe was never a very popular champion. He lacked Muhammad Ali's gift of gab, and held much resentment for his archrival. But he was definitely among the 10 best heavyweights of all time, and watching him in his prime was awesome.
Something I didn't know earlier -- one of the keys to Joe's victory in his first match with Ali in 1971 was something he and his corner figured out. Ali had a habit of dropping his right hand before loading up to throw a hard right uppercut. Yank Durham, Joe's chief cornerman, told him to watch for that. After 10 hard rounds in which Ali generally had the edge, in the 11th Frazier threw one of his patented left hooks over Ali's dropped right on one of those occasions.
Ali was seriously staggered, and the fight turned in Joe's favor after that. It happened again early in the 15th and final round. Ali hit the deck for the count of 4 that time. He got up and finished the fight, but by then Joe had made boxing history.
Here's remembering Smokin' Joe.