Getty Images/Getty Images
Nearly two years ago, in September of 2009, a statue to honor the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, Rocky Marciano, was supposed to be unveiled in his hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts.
A funny thing happened on the way to the ceremony. There was no statue erected, and apparently the funding source had postponed their commitment.
Good news came this week to the relatives of Marciano still living in Brockton. World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman arranged for a tour of the city in June to determine what sites may best be suitable for the new statue of the original Rocky.
To show the WBC sincerity, Sulaiman will bring legendary trainer Angelo Dundee with him for the important stopover. Dundee was Muhammad Ali’s trainer when the de-frocked champion fought Rocky Marciano in a notorious computer-generated fight.
The two boxing greats donned their trunks and mock-fought, throwing pulled punches at each other according to the direction of a computer. Marciano sprinkled his face with fake blood, and the two fighters hit it off. The fight was an anti-climax because not a few months later, Marciano died in a plane crash. He never saw the finished movie in 1970.
Now, over forty years later, people still await a tribute in bronze. Even Rocky Balboa has come and gone, with a statue to him in Philadelphia unveiled decades ago. Originally used in the Rocky III film, the statue was first at the famous steps of the Art Museum, but now has a permanent home at the sports complex in Philly.
Alas, Rocky Marciano still waits his turn. No one is quite sure where the bronze Rocky will stand in Brockton, a city 13 miles southwest of Boston. At present Boston has statues of Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, Red Auerbach, and recent proposals have been made for Bill Russell to receive a bronze likeness in the city.
Sulaiman confirmed the mid-June visit where he will meet Peter Marciano, the nephew of the great champ. Peter Marciano, a Brockton native like his uncle, has been an active force in the drive to honor Rocky.
The WBC has offered to pay for the commission of the statue by sculptor Mario Rendon who may join the tour group for the tour. The City of Brockton plans to pull out all stops to finalize the project and give Rocky Marciano this final honor.