The late Joe Frazier is going to be honored with a statue, Philly.com reported.
Former Olympic and undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier
Many feel that a statue in Frazier's name is long overdue for the former heavyweight champion and Philadelphia sports icon.
Frazier died of liver cancer Nov. 7, 2011, at age 67.
The statue will be erected near the Xfinity Live! complex in South Philadelphia, the site said. Richard Hayden, a liaison between Frazier's estate, the city and Xfinity, said it will be unveiled in 2013.
After Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter returns from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Hayden will make his official announcement next week, according to Philly.com.
The city of Philadelphia is supporting the statue, and donations for the project are being accepted by the Fund for Philadelphia. In addition, Hayden said, FrazierStatue.com will be launched to help solicit donations and provide information.
Joe Frazier's gym has now been turned into a discount furniture store, but efforts are being made to turn it into a historic site, Philly.com said.
Many Philadelphians have long resented that the city had a statue honoring boxer Rocky Balboa, a fictitional movie character, on the steps of the Art Museum buty none for Frazier, a real boxer and Philadelphian hero. Sylvester Stallone gave the statue to Philadelphia as a gift after he finished filming the third of the six "Rocky" movies.
"Rocky is fictitious. Joe was reality," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said at Frazier's funeral. "Rocky's fists are frozen in stone. Joe's fists were smokin'."
"We have a whole generation of Philadelphia sports fans who need to be educated on Frazier's career," Hayden said to Philly.com.
"There's a statue of Rocky, a movie prop, at the Art Museum, but nothing to honor a legitimate heavyweight champion who came out of Philadelphia," Stan Hochman, 83, told the New York Times. He knew Frazier as a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Daily News.
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