Frazier statue? Giardello beat him to the punch

Giardello
Giardello
Posted: May 16, 2014

THE JOE FRAZIER statue will be a knockout, as chiseled as the former heavyweight champ. When completed, it will become a smokin' landmark outside of XFINITY Live!

What it won't be is the first statue commemorating the career of a Philadelphia boxing legend.

And we're not talking about that movie prop that sits at the bottom of the Art Museum steps.

"Every one talks about [the Frazier statue] like, 'Oh, it will be the first real fighter.' They fail to realize there is already a Joey Giardello statue," said Paul Giardello, son of the late, great, hard-hitting middleweight champion. "It'll be 3 years now that the statue was unveiled on Passyunk Avenue."

The 7-foot bronze, sculpted by Carl LeVotch, sits on South 13th Street between Mifflin and East Passyunk.

It is a fitting monument to a man who finished his professional career with a record of 101-25-8, with 33 KOs.

Joey, who was born in Brooklyn but spent most of his life in South Philly, died in September 2008 and never got to see the statue. But he knew it was in the works.

"My dad was not alive when they unveiled it," said Paul, who fought professionally as Joey Giardello Jr. "But he was alive when they were discussing it and planning it.

"One day I came into the house and he was sitting downstairs with two guys from the Veteran Boxers Association. He introduced me to them and one of them said, 'We're doing a statue of your father.' And I said, 'Dad, they're doing a statue?' And he said, 'Yeah, yeah.'

"And the guys were stunned because they had already spent months in planning it and he never even told us [his family].

"It didn't faze him. He wasn't awestruck by it. His accomplishments, I think, spoke for themselves. He never bragged. He was always humble."

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