Marvis Frazier was a highly touted prospect and among the top-ranked amateur heavyweights in the country after winning the 1979 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion and 1980 National AAU Heavyweight Champion….who was coached partly by his father…. and in part by Georgie Benton and Val Colbert. “My dad tried not to play too active a role in my career for fear of putting pressure on me,” Marvis said…..when Benton said that Marvis was a model kid. He grew up “like he was poor”….and according to Benton, “there were no favors. When the grass on the Fraziers’ two-and-a-half acre plot needed cutting, Marvis did it. With a hand mower. He goes to choir practice Monday nights, Bible study Wednesday nights and church on Sunday. He doesn’t smoke, drink or run around. Not because such strictures are demanded of him, but because that’s the way he is boxing or no boxing.”
In February 1979, Frazier was ranked # 2 U.S. amateur heavyweight by the U.S. Amateur Boxers and Coaches Association….and # 1 by the Amateur Athletic Union…..and was a runner-up for the 1979 Pan American Games…..where he was expected to meet Teófilo Stevenson for the first time in this competition. He was concentrating on the Pan American trials and the Pan Am games, after that, he was aiming for a shot at the Olympics. “That’s my goal,” he said….but he ultimately did not take part in the Pan Am trials on the advice of his father, Joe Frazier, who thought his 19-year-old son was still too young and inexperienced to meet Stevenson…..so, Marvis didn’t show up at the 1979 National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado, because his father insisted that they send airplane tickets for an accompanying entourage of three people with all expenses paid…..then young Frazier also pulled off from the World Cup, staged in New York, in October 1979…..cuz the event was largely neglected after Cuba was banned from participation after refusing to team-up with the U.S. to form the “North American team” to compete versus European and other world’s athletes.
Marvis Frazier intended to fly on LOT Polish Airlines Flight 7…..of which several of his teammates were killed….but his father always avoided flying….and forbade his son to fly as well …..to which Marvis said of this experience….“Me, I love flying, but my father is the man of the house and he gave me an order not to go. I talked to my father on the phone this morning when he heard the news and he said ‘See, son, I told you those planes will kill you,'”Among his best amateur wins were against future pro contender Mitch Green….and future champs Tim Witherspoon, and Bonecrusher Smith. He also won by decision over the # 2 ranked amateur Jimmy Clark….then he was KO’d by James Broad in the 1980 Olympic Trials finals.