The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its 2011 class this past Tuesday, including Mike Tyson, Kostya Tszyu, Julio Cesar Chavez and actor/screenwriter Sylvester Stallone.
The creator and star of the Rocky Balboa movies gets the supreme nod as a representative for the sport of boxing worthy of Hall of Fame status as a fictional character based on an amalgam of real-life pugilists. Though it's tough to knock the impact of the Rocky movies on fans of the sport of boxing, it's truly sad to see Stallone continue to overshadow the real Rocky.
Sylvester Stallone gets into the hall even as a true, actual legend of the sport of boxing, Rocky Marciano (49-0, 43 KOs), is getting snubbed by the World Boxing Council. Rocky Marciano was the only heavyweight champion to ever retire undefeated. He got into the Hall of Fame as a real boxer. The WBC and President Jose Sulaiman have dragged their feet for far too long in making a statue in Rocky's hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts a reality. It's excuse after excuse after excuse, and now the statue that was slated to be put in place in May of 2010 is stalled until July of 2011.
There is a monument in Philadelphia in a central spot at the top of a series of granite steps to a character in a movie based on boxing: to a figment of someone's imagination. Yet, no monument exists of a similar nature to an actual boxing hero, and the WBC as a collective body dropped the ball and promised what they have yet to deliver time and again. The revelation that the sculptor has not even started work on the Rocky Marciano sculpture (due to non-payment) is all the more offensive under the circumstances. The World Boxing Council sanctions fights all over the world. The entire statue project is estimated to cost $300,000.Sulaiman, no stranger to sucking excessive funds out of sanctioning agreements, shouldn't have a problem raising this kind of capital.
Sulaiman has claimed both financial hardship and abuse from a rabid emailer I have been getting emails from myself for running Rocky49Wins.com. The man, reported to be in his seventies, runs a MySpace page listed in Chicago. He has told me himself his name is Mark Elija. Here's a sample of one of his missives:
I DOUBLE CHALLENGE U TO BRING IN CHARGES U SCUM I NEVER HIDE I TELL
TRUTH. MY NAME IS MARK ELIJA AS MY OTHER NONGROUP EMAIL SAYS IM FWD
EMAILS TO MY OTHER ASOCIATE N LAWYER N W4LL FILE COMPLAINT WITH YOUR
LOCAL COPS U BASTARD KING OF LIARS!WEdid a lot4statue n i dont owe u S*** of explanation AS U D NOT READ IT SHIT NOR D U ACKNOWLEDGE IT!SO U BETER STOP HArASIN ME I DONT EVER GIV UP!
This deranged character is obsessed with the statue project and seems to want everyone to know it was his idea. He accused me of harassing him when it was the other way around. No matter how many emails
I got from him or how many the WBC claims to have received, it shouldn't cost $300,000 ignore a guy with nothing better to do but pester people. Whatever threats Sulaiman received from this Chicago wingnut, I can't imagine he had to heighten his security because of them.
Rocky Marciano deserves much more respect than the WBC is giving him and his hometown. It is absolutely unforgivable for this lifetime president to make so many BS excuses about why this project isn't done yet. It's time for a great champion to get the proper recognition he deserves, and it's unfortunate that a fictional man who never actually boxed keeps beating him to the punch.