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Downtown Atlanta statue will immortalize boxing great Evander Holyfield

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Nine-foot likeness of homegrown champ is part of city’s investment in public art.

A photo of an Evander Holyfield statue before it was coated in bronze.
The Real Deal in his ripped prime.
Images courtesy of the City of Atlanta

One of Atlanta’s most accomplished sons will soon be memorialized next to one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

A new sculpture honoring homegrown boxing legend Evander Holyfield—in the full shredded glory of his prime—will be installed in front of downtown’s Flatiron Building in early 2018. Nine feet of bronze, it’s the work of master sculptor Brian Hanlon.

Per city officials, the $90,000 work is part of a commitment to public arts that will “remind viewers of [Holyfield’s] contributions to the sport of boxing and the City of Atlanta’s proud legacy of athletic achievement.” Mayor Kasim Reed recently announced a $4.4-million investment in new landmark public art for sites in downtown, Midtown, and Southwest Atlanta, funded by the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond program.

During a Monday morning ceremony, Holyfield tipped his cap to where his experiences with boxing began, a Boys Club in Grant Park.

“No one achieves anything without a support system behind them,” Holyfield said, per a press release. “I got my start at the Warren Memorial Boys Club, where my coach gave me my first opportunity to do something and be somebody special. I am so proud and thankful.”

A photo of the clay model, from which the bronze Holyfield sculpture will be cast.
City of Atlanta/Hanlon Studios

The same artist—Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Studios—created the bronze Dominique Wilkins sculpture outside Philips Arena and Bobby Cox tribute outside the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park, along with landmarks honoring inspirational sports figures across the country.

Holyfield, a four-time world heavyweight champion, was once the owner of Georgia’s largest single-family home, a 45,000-square-foot palace in Fayetteville. It was a long way from Atlanta’s Bowen Homes Housing Project, where he was raised.

City officials pointed out that Holyfield was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2017—his first year of eligibility.

In his remarks, Reed called Holyfield one of Atlanta’s “most accomplished residents.”