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Frazier gym is on the market

by Michael Klein
Philadelphia Inquirer - May 11, 2008

Has the bell rung for boxing legend Joe Frazier? His landmark gym in North Philly went up for sale last week.

The 100-plus-year-old former ballroom at 2917 N. Broad St., where he began training shortly after he went pro more than 40 years ago, has a price tag of $2.4 million. "A chance to own a piece of history," says the listing from broker Lisa Coakley of Washington, D.C.

Last month, word circulated that the gym had closed for good and that a few boxers who trained there had been forced out. The champ's camp dismissed the talk of closing, saying the gym was temporarily down for renovations.

In a phone chat, Coakley said she had been told that Frazier, 64, was "retiring from boxing." Contacted Thursday, Frazier manager Les Wolff countered that Frazier was not retiring and added that an outright sale of the building was only one option. He said Frazier would consider a joint venture with a developer to refurbish the place.

City records show that in March, a long-standing real estate tax debt of about $130,000 was settled.

"It's sad," said John DiSanto, a historian who runs, when told of the real estate listing.

Wolff said Frazier had licensing deals in the works. Frazier was booked to sing R&B last month on the CBS reality series Secret Talents of the Stars, but his appearance was scrapped when the show was canceled after one episode.


Michael Klein is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. This article was originally printed in that newspaper in May 2008.


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