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Detroit's Iconic Joe Louis Fist Sculpture Getting Makeover

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Detroit's iconic sculpture of the arm and fist of famed boxer Joe Louis is getting an overhaul.

The Detroit Institute of Arts conservation staff is leading a project on Wednesday to replace hanging cables, perform minor structural work and clean the surface of the "Monument to Joe Louis" — more commonly known as "The Fist."

The 24-foot, 90,000 lb. bronze sculpture displayed at Woodward Ave. and Jefferson Ave. near downtown's Hart Plaza is part of the DIA's collection and the museum says it needs conservation treatment about every 10 years. Precision Installation and Services and Venus Bronze Works is assisting museum staff with the project.

With barricades surrounding the The Fist Wednesday morning, the sculpture was drawing the attention of some out-of-town visitors.

"That's a nice sculpture," said Carliss Johnston, visiting from New Orleans. "I'm used to seeing sculptures and it really looking like a fist."

The monument to the late heavyweight champion was commissioned with a $350,000 grant from Sports Illustrated magazine. It was unveiled in 1987.

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