Joey Giardello statue on Passyunk Avenue at 13th and McKean

Joey Giardello wasn’t born with that name, but it’s the one that became famous.

Well, famous enough to land him a statue on East Passyunk Avenue, and to bring standing prominent enough for a defamation suit over a Hollywood movie starring Denzel Washington. (The lawyer who got that suit settled, George Bochetto, has a connection to another statue: the one of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza.)

Way before all that, Giardello was an NYC kid who enlisted in the army, learned to box, landed in South Philly, and was managed by a dude with alleged mafia connections.

He was a good enough boxer that he became middleweight champion, and successfully defended his title four times — including against Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, whose wrongful conviction and incarceration inspired the biopic.

Scroll through the thread below for details on how it all went down.

Avi Wolfman-Arent is co-host of Studio 2 and a broadcast anchor on 90.9 FM. He was previously an education reporter with WHYY, where he's worked since 2014. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the...