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April 10, 2018

Hey Sylvester Stallone, got some time to honor Joe Frazier on Wednesday?

Another long-overdue honor for the legendary boxer arrives in Philly this week

Honors Joe Frazier
Frazier10.JPG Jessica Kourkounis/for PhillyVoice

A 12-foot bronze statue honoring Philadelphia boxing legend Joe Frazier being unveiled outside the Xfinity Live! complex on September 12, 2015. The artist Stephen Layne recreated Frazier in mid-punch, depicting the moment after Frazier landed the punch that knocked down Muhammad Ali in the fifteenth round of their fight on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden.

It’s been 46 years since Smokin’ Joe Frazier – a Philadelphia boxing legend – dropped Muhammad Ali during “The Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden.

It’s also been six-and-a-half years since Frazier died of liver cancer, and two-and-a-half years since a statue in his posthumous honor was unveiled in South Philadelphia.

On Wednesday – just a few days after the actor who portrayed a fictional boxer visited the famous statue created in his likeness long held up as a symbol of the city’s collective spirit – another long overdue honor will be added to Frazier’s legacy.

His daughter, Weatta Frazier Collins, shared word with PhillyVoice on Monday night that an event to ceremonially rename Glenwood Avenue – which intersects with North Broad Street near Frazier’s former legendary gym – to Joe Frazier Boulevard will take place on Wednesday afternoon.

Frazier Collins, one of nine living children of the legendary boxer, noted that the invited guests include boxers Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks and Bernard Hopkins along with a slew of others. 

While Sylvester Stallone isn't listed on the press release, it would be fitting coda to Frazier's posthumous honors if he showed up at Wednesday's event, wouldn't it?

HUGHE DILLON/for PhillyVoice

Rocky Balboa impersonator, Mike Kunda, Sylvester Stallone and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney pose near the Rocky Statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Friday, April 6, 2018.

I mean, dude was out and about last week while in town filming "Creed II," the umpteenth edition in a Rocky franchise that stole Philly's Legendary Boxer mantle from the one-time heavyweight champion of the world.

Talk about the perfect opportunity to bury proverbial hatchets (for those still carrying them, even if they shouldn't.)

“When he was alive, quite a few things that could have been done in his honor weren’t,” said Frazier Collins as she launched an online and door-to-door effort to make Wednesday’s announcement become a reality. “He was so modest and humble. I’m just trying to make my dad proud.”

It seems as if she's succeeded in that mission, even if she thinks her dad wouldn't have enjoyed all the accolades.

"Joe Frazier did not believe that he was an exceptional human being," she said. "He believed that awards ceremonies, statues, buildings and street names were not necessary in his honor for the simple fact that he was just doing his job."

The event will be held at noon at the corner of Broad Street and Glenwood Avenue.