GROWING UP the daughter of a renowned heavyweight champion would certainly come with its share of public exposure. But as a pioneer in women's boxing, Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde cemented her own place in boxing history.
Yesterday morning at City Hall, in a brief ceremony at the start of the general City Council meeting, Frazier-Lyde officially became the first female inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame. The daughter of Philadelphia legend Smokin' Joe Frazier was recognized by the City Council for the accomplishment.
"It's an honor and it's a testament to the boxing tradition," Frazier-Lyde said after the ceremony. "I'm thankful to be recognized. There have been a lot of women who have contributed to boxing, especially a lot of mothers who have contributed to the boxing game."
Frazier-Lyde was a five-time champion while fighting in the super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. "Sister Smoke" is the third member of her family inducted to the Pa. Boxing Hall of Fame, which consists of about 300 inductees and has been in existence for almost 50 years. Joe Frazier, who died in November 2011 of liver cancer, was inducted in 1991, her brother, Marvis, in 1998.
Frazier-Lyde, a Municipal Court Judge in Philadelphia since 2008, didn't make her professional boxing debut until she was 38 years old, and fought 15 times from 2000 to 2004, tallying a 13-1 record with nine knockouts. Her lone defeat came in 2001 against Laila Ali, the daughter of all-time great Muhammad Ali, on the first pay-per-view card headlined by women.
"It's very deserving," said Diane Fischer, a longtime boxing promoter who worked on two of Frazier-Lyde's title fights. "She did a lot for the sport . . . She was tough. Give her a lot of credit."
Several dozen friends and family joined Frazier-Lyde for the induction, including her husband of 25 years, Peter Lyde, her children and her aunt, Martha "Mazie" Rhodan, the oldest sister and last living sibling of Joe Frazier. Frazier-Lyde's former trainer, Vellen Colbert, also attended. Afterward, a group walked to the Courtyard Marriott to watch clips of Frazier-Lyde's fights. A documentary consisting of past fight film and personal footage of Frazier-Lyde with her father is in the works.
"We're very thankful to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame to vote and have her be the first female ever inducted, which is big for us [and] the legacy of our family," said Peter Lyde, who managed and promoted his wife throughout her boxing career. They met while Lyde was a bodyguard for Marvis Frazier. "My wife is a very special individual. Out of all her siblings, I would say she is most like her dad . . . Whether it's sports or whatever it is, she's very assertive on what she's doing."
During the induction, Frazier-Lyde made a presentation of her own. She had brought to City Hall a memento from her first championship, the WIBA belt she won for her 2001 technical knockout of Suzette Taylor, to gift to her husband, a union representative, in gratitude for all his contributions to the community.
"That was in the tradition of my father," she said. "He had given Nelson Mandela his world championship belt when Nelson Mandela was released because he was a boxer and he stood for humanity. The Frazier boxing tradition is that of humanity and service and contribution."
Frazier-Lyde is one of 10 members of this year's induction class to the Pa. Boxing Hall of Fame; the other nine will be inducted in a May 18 banquet. Frazier-Lyde's induction took place yesterday only because of a technicality; because she is a sitting judge, there would've been an issue with her being inducted at an event that charges an admission fee.
Former Philadelphia boxers Earl Hargrove, Mike Picciotti, Percy Manning, Jimmy Tygh and Gunboat Smith are also among this year's inductees.
"For a long time, female boxing was sort of a side show, but it's become a very real thing," said John DiSanto, chairman of the Pa. Boxing Hall of Fame. "Jacqui Frazier was one of the pioneers of that."