IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions have announced a significant donation to fund the completion of the Joe Frazier statue that will stand nine feet tall outside of Xfinity Live in Philadelphia's sports stadium complex.
"Seeing this statue built has meant a great deal to me for a very long time," said Hopkins in a press release. "I have always felt strongly that Smokin' Joe has a rightful place in Philadelphia history, and that should be honored. We have a Rocky statue and Rocky isn't even real. Joe Frazier embodies the Philadelphia fighting spirit and I am so happy to be able to pay homage to him in this way."
Designed by local artist Stephen Layne and projected to be unveiled between Thanksgiving and Christmas of this year, the Joe Frazier statue will become part of Philadelphia's public works of art as voted on by Philadelphia's Art Commission, and will mirror Frazier's reaction after knocking down Muhammad Ali during their 1971 title fight at New York's Madison Square Garden in New York City
"When Bernard asked us to make a donation to help build the Joe Frazier statue in Philadelphia, we did not hesitate," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "We firmly believe in preserving the great history and heritage of our sport, and there is no better way than honoring some of the legends that have paved the way for the fighters today. Joe Frazier is one of the all-time greats and we are pleased to be a part of this project."
Hopkins, 49, has a unification bout on April 19 against WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov that will be televised on Showtime from The D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C.
[Note: The photograph shows a small, preliminary version of the sculpture designed by Stephen Layne.]