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Monday, April 7, 2014
Hopkins helps Philly honor Frazier

By Dan Rafael

Muhammad Ali,  Joe Frazier
The late heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, right, will have a nine feet tall statue in Philadelphia.

Light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins is a Philadelphia fighter through and through, and the late heavyweight champion Joe Frazier is the ultimate Philly fighter.

So Hopkins, along with Golden Boy Promotions, announced that they have made “a significant donation to fund the completion of the previously announced 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, a friend of the Frazier family. "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."

"When Bernard asked us to make a donation to help build the Joe Frazier statue in Philadelphia, we did not hesitate," said Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer, Hopkins’ promoter. “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."

The Frazier statue will become part of Philadelphia's public works of art as voted on by Philadelphia's Art Commission. The statue was designed by Philadelphia artist Stephen Layne and will mirror Frazier's reaction after knocking down Muhammad Ali during their famous first championship fight in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The statue is supposed to be unveiled between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Hopkins is training for a title unification fight against Beibut Shumenov on April 19 (Showtime) at the DC Armory in Washington. Members of the Frazier family are expected to be on hand to support Hopkins and to say thank you for the contribution at the April 17 final news conference.