By Boxing Bob Newman
So far it’s been a championship weekend in Brockton, MA as the Rocky Marciano Statue festivities build toward Sunday’s unveiling of the 20 foot structure. The weather has taken an unexpected turn for the better, with sunny skies that only improved several outdoor events. It looks as if tomorrow’s finale will also dodge a bullet, showers had been forecast for the morning, but now seem likely to pass altogether before the scheduled 1 p.m. dedication.
Friday saw a welcome gathering at one of Brockton’s finest Italian eateries, George’s Cafe, just a few blocks from where Marciano grew up. As friends, family members, and several members of the WBC board of directors gathered and dined, the Rocky Marciano Statue Committee chairperson Lawrence Siskind, Esq. addressed the crowd with details of the long journey and great effort undertaken by so many to bring this weekend to fruition. Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti also took to the podium, with two proclamations, one each presented the two sculptors of the Rocky statue- Mario Rendon and Victor Gutierrez of Mexico. New England boxing icons Vinny Paz and Tony DeMarco were also on hand to greet fans.
Saturday saw a mix of events, starting with the “Run Like A Champ” road race through D.W. Field Park. Starting at 11:a.m., hourly tours dubbed, “In Rocky’s Footsteps” brought fans through the city of Brockton to such locales as the Rocky Marciano Post Office, Rocky Marciano Stadium, the Marciano family home at 168 Dover St. and to the Brockton Historical Society, where Marciano’s championship belt, his title winning shoes, trunks and gloves were also on display, along with many other items of Marciano memorabilia.
Promoter Rich Cappiello put on a 14 bout amateur card at Campanelli Stadium in the afternoon, pitting young fighters from Cappiello’s gym against other pugilists from throughout Massachusetts. Former contenders Tony Petronelli, John Scully and Ray Oliveira were on hand to greet the fans as well.
Saturday night will see a private dinner at the Massasoit Conference Center from 6 p.m. on.