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Philadelphia will soon welcome 9-foot statue of Joe Frazier

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The project, like its subject, has weathered some bumps and bruises, but the statue of Frazier is scheduled to be unveiled next Spring.

Matt Rourke AP

The Rocky statue, which resides at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will soon have company in the form of a 9-foot tribute to local hero and boxing great Joe Frazier. The statue is currently being finished by artist Stephen Layne and is due to be unveiled next Spring.

Like Smokin' Joe himself, the effort to commemorate him has taken some lumps. The artist originally commissioned to complete the statue two years ago passed away suddenly. Then, fund raising efforts fell short before four major donors stepped up to make the memorial happen. One of those donors was another Philly legend in the making, Bernard Hopkins.

Philadelphia is the home to so many boxing greats, including Sonny Liston, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, and Meldrick Taylor. To date, the only boxing statue depicted fictional fighter Rocky Balboa. "It's really long overdue," said Frazier's daughter Weatta Collins. "We're very happy that it's finally being done."