Will they line up for pictures with a sculpture of real hometown champion
"Properly promoted, I think it would be much, much bigger than Rocky," said
The effort to memorialize Frazier, first announced two years ago, was almost knocked out by fundraising problems and the sudden death of the original sculptor. Layne, 46, won the commission the second time around and began working in March.
Steering clear of the victorious, raised arms stance of the Rocky statue — which was originally a prop in "Rocky III" — Layne instead found his spark in a photo of Frazier flooring Ali with his powerful left hook. The moment captured in the sculpture reflects the work ethic of Frazier and the city he called home, said Layne.
"That pose of glory ... the Rocky pose, I don't think that's quite the vibe of
Layne, who was raised here, both attended and taught at the city's esteemed
"It was so obvious that (Frazier) was completely willing to get beat up ... so that he could achieve what he wanted," Layne said. "And I thought that was just an inspirational thing to watch."
Frazier won the 1964 Olympic gold medal in
When Frazier died of liver cancer three years ago at age 67, his place had long been cemented in sports history. Still, a public fundraising campaign for his memorial generated few contributions, so four major donors ponied up most of the
Two of Frazier's daughters,
"It's really long overdue," Collins said. "We're very happy that it's finally being done."
Layne plans to finish the clay work by the end of September. The statue will then go through a molding process before being cast in bronze and installed at Xfinity Live, an entertainment complex by the city's three sports stadiums. Frazier fought near the site at the now-demolished Spectrum.
The unveiling of the 1,800-pound likeness is expected next spring, probably in April, said
The sculpture's location will be off the beaten path for visitors — about five miles south of the Rocky statue, which stands by the
"It's a bit silly to have a statue of someone that was never a professional boxer,"