Smokin’ Joe Frazier to have tribute statue in Philadelphia

Nikko Villanueva – 4E Sports Contributor

Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Philadelphia will soon be paying tribute to their very own heavyweight boxing legend “Smokin’” Joe Frazier through a statue that will cement the boxer’s legacy.

The plan of having the statue was stopped because of funding troubles and the death of the original sculptor.

But artist Stephen Layne had the chance to convince the commission and started working on the 9-foot-tall clay mold March.

Layne was raised in Philadelphia and is now teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

The 46-year-old sculptor wanted to pursue with the project because of the connection he feels with Frazier, who fought for success just like what artists do.

“It was so obvious that (Frazier) was completely willing to get beat up … so that he could achieve what he wanted. And I thought that was just an inspirational thing to watch,” Layne stated.

Layne’s mold of Frazier is seen delivering the left hook that knocked out Muhammad Ali in 1971.

He said it embodies not just Frazier’s work ethic but Philadelphia as well.

Layne will likely finish the clay mold September, then it will go through a molding process before casting it into bronze.

According to Atty. Richard Hayden of Xfinity Live, it will be placed in the complex by April.

Frazier’s daughters Weatta Collins and Renae Martin expressed their excitement for Layne’s work.

Collins said, “It’s really long overdue. We’re very happy that it’s finally being done.”

Frazier was an Olympic gold medallist and a former world heavyweight champion, he ended his professional career with a 32-4-1 record.

The legendary boxer died on November 7, 2011 because of liver cancer.

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