By: Julio Olmo
“…Rocky is fictitious, Joe Frazier was reality… Rocky never faced Ali or Holmes or Foreman. Rocky never tasted his own blood. Champions are made in the ring, not in the movies”, Rev. Jesse Jackson
Truer words have never been spoken!
When a man like Rev. Jesse Jackson , who has work side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and has dedicated his entire life to the Civil Rights Movement vouches for you character…well, it speaks volumes about what kind of man Joe Frazier was.
One of my cousins used to train in Joe Frazier’s Boxing Gym in North Philly, so I had the good fortune of meeting Joe in person a few times…and to this very day, I’ve never met a more Humble and Down to Earth Celebrity like him in my entire life.
He would flash this big smile at you and start talking as if he Knew you his whole life.
For a kid growing up in North Philly, it was a tremendous thrill to be able to talk like that with the former Heavyweight Champion of the World.
The fact that there was groundswell in Philadelphia to put up a statue honoring Joe Frazier, filled me up with pride inside.
Although, Rocky is one of my favorite sports movies of All-Time, I never fully subscribed to the idea of putting up a statue based on a fictional character like Rocky Balboa on the Liberty Steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, even if the movie and Hollywood did manage to put Philadelphia on the map.
“Whether it was the Mayor calling on him ( Joe Frazier) or a Charity calling on him, he never said no, and he never ask to be paid…”, Former Mayor, Edward Rendell.
“We have a whole generation of Philadelphia Sports Fans who need to be educated on ( Joe) Frazier’s career…”, Richard Hayden, liaison of Frazier’s Estate.
Yeap!, Sounds like they knew him very well.
Joe always did make it difficult on folks to treat him like a celebrity!
It was great to hear that he, finally!, got his due credit.
The man was a class act…sitting court-side watching the Philadelphia 76ers play one night and holding court inside his gym the very next day.
From shaking hands with The Doctor, Julius Erving the night before…to telling us kids the next day in his gym to keep our noses clean and stay out of trouble!
Joe Frazier epitomized boxing with heart, courage and humbleness towards all men…and finally sports’ fans in Philly were able to place a statue in South Philadelphia in honor of his memory.
Philadelphia Fans launched a website called FrazierStatue.Com to garner donations for the project, which was also helped along by the city…It was a way overdue honor for the Frazier Family.
“Life doesn’t run away from nobody…Life runs at people!”, Joe Frazier
Thanks for the talks, Joe…God’s Blessings!