FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Considering his talents and achievements as the women's basketball coach at Fairfield University, it may surprise some to learn that Joe Frager knows as much about boxing as he does about basketball.
The avid boxing fan can give you detailed history of the sweet science - from Willie Pep to Joe Louis to Sean O'Grady - not to mention present-day champions like Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, and top contenders in virtually every division currently. The names flow from his lips like a finger roll layup off the backboard.
Frager is a knockout in the women's college ranks, sort of the “Smokin’ Joe” of his division. In his ninth season at the helm of the Stags, Frager has Fairfield’s opponents on the ropes.
He is the only coach in the 35-year history of the MAAC to register eight consecutive winning season to begin a career. Averaging 19.5 wins a campaign under Frager's tutelage, Fairfield has vaulted to National post-season play in four of those seasons. His career 249-119 record and 67.7 win percentage is championship-caliber. And Frager's Stags have won two straight, downing Rider and Manhattan
“My Dad, Joe Frager, always talked about the great fighters of the 40's and 50's. He spoke of Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler, Robinson, Basilio, Joe Louis, LaMotta, Al Gainer, among others. I became hooked with the TV fights of the 70's and 80's, especially the junior lightweight and lightweight brawls.”
When asked about his favorite boxer, he couldn’t wait to tell. “My all-time favorite boxer would be Sean O'Grady. ‘The Green Machine,’ ‘The Bubblegum Bomber.’ former WBA Lightweight Champ. Was involved in some great fights with Danny Little Red' Lopez, Gonzallo Montellano, Jim Watt, Shig Fukuyama and Hilmer Kenty," he said.
“My favorite current boxer is 'Triple G' Gennady Golovkin. He's all business in the ring. Great puncher, vastly under-appreciated boxing skills. Fan of Canelo Alvarez and Demetrius Andrade too," Frager said.
If Frager could have dinner with one boxer in history, he said he's pick the late Jerry Quarry.
"One of the best to never win the championship," he said of Quarry. "He fought all the great heavyweights of the 60's and 70's- Patterson, Ali, Frazier, Norton, Shavers, Lyle, Ellis, Mac Foster and others. Archie Moore would be great to have dinner with too. The 'Ol Mongoose' was forced to wait a long time for a shot at the title.”
Frager said the ultimate fantasy fight would be the welterweight version of “Sugar Ray” Robinson v. Floyd Mayweather.
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