So Brockton finally put up a Rocky Marciano statue, a 22 1/2-foot titan throwing a stylized version of the straight right with which Marciano, rallying in the 13th round of a fight in which he had been punishingly outboxed, crushed Jersey Joe Walcott to claim the heavyweight title. The big unveiling ceremony last Sunday, on the 60th anniversary of the night Marciano took the title from Walcott, drew festive crowds, illustrious retired fighters, and press coverage that for once did not conform to the local media’s model of a typical Brockton story — one that features gunfire, or a pitbull mauling a toddler.
Now that the speeches have been made and the crowds have dispersed, the statue can gradually settle into its place in the landscape and the city’s meaning-making routines. Standing next to the stadium where Brockton High’s Boxers play football, it seems to be gesturing with its gloved fist at the school beyond, as if to say, “Boxing and education. Discuss.”