By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The effort to build a statue of heavyweight champion boxer Joe Frazier, knocked down when the sculptor died suddenly in July, is getting up off the mat.
The city Art Commission today approved sculptor Stephen Layne’s design for a statue of the legendary boxer who was born in South Carolina but made Philadelphia his home.
Layne’s vision has Frazier following through after the left hook that knocked down Muhammad Ali in 1971’s “Fight of the Century.”
“I chose that pivotal point in his career where he knocks down Ali,” Layne said today. “One of the noble things about that and about him and his character was, in the instant that he did that, he simply stood right back up and walked back to his corner as if it was just another job to do. And that really was his attitude toward boxing.”
Layne’s design was sought after the project’s original sculptor, Lawrence Nowlan, died in July. Layne says the nine-foot statue atop a three-foot base should be erected outside Xfinity Live in about a year.