There are tons of stories and versions of stories regarding the personal relationship between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. There is at least a degree of truth to most of the stories. But, perhaps, not all of any version is true from any perspective other than the men themselves.
Ali sought to hype the gate. This is partially true. Ali was a master of this sort of thing. Frazier, as down to earth as they come, never quite caught on. Do you think Floyd Mayweather hated all the guys he verbally attacked? He sold tickets.
Both Ali and Frazier are Black men. But there are societal differences between the two.
Muhammad Ali was what Blacks aspired to be
Joe Frazier was closer to what Blacks were, or were viewed as.
One could reason that there is no word that could stick to a White person that is nearly as insulting as certain words are to Blacks and even members of other groups. There are sub-groups within the group that identifies as White, who are insulted by certain terms. But to the White American, the insult comes more from the mere fact that one had the audacity to cast an insult than from the actual term.
In short, there is no “N-word” equivalent for a White person.
So when a Black person is compared to an animal by a White person, it is insulting but, to a degree, it is expected or at least not surprising. One could reason that it’s not that bad today. But for a very long time, there was little or nothing that that Black person could do about the insults and humiliation.
But, when a Black person does it, it is more hurtful because it is expected that the antagonists should understand how insulting and hurtful this can be.
Another reason why this type of behavior is more hurtful for Blacks, when it comes from Blacks, is that people, in general, naturally defend themselves from attacks.
If a White person attacks a Black person physically, there is the chance that the person who defends himself could still find himself in legal trouble. This is much less likely if both parties are Black. But even if the attack is not physical, the Black person who retaliates is likely to do so with no inhibitions or concerns for legal or other repercussions. In other words, when the fight is over, it’s over.
The problem with this is that the “over” often leaves the loser dead or in a very bad state. There are a bunch of reasons why these two could not, and did not simply kill each other. So they fought their battle in the ring. Part of that war is a battle of words.
Ali hurled insults at Frazier. Whether or not Ali meant for his words to be as hurtful as they turned out to be is less relevant than the fact that Joe took them that way.
Joe Frazier could never win a war of words against Muhammad Ali.