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Arum, Bivins, Galaxy, Pedroza Lead Class of '99

THE 10TH ANNUAL induction ceremony at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York was an overwhelming success. If there has been one constant in Canastota over the last decade, it is the genuine emotion of the fighters and the fans on induction weekend.

It was inspiring to watch Alexis Arguello, the former three-time champion who was born in Nicaragua, singing the words of our national anthem. It was touching to watch Lou Duva and Bob Arum assist veteran press agent Irving Rudd to the podium to make his speech. Perhaps Hall-of-Famer and former champ Aaron Pryor said it best for the fighters and the inductees. "Have you ever been forgotten?" asked Pryor at the Banquet of Champions. "It doesn't feel good. But up here in Canastota, they never forget you."

Six living inductees were enshrined on Sunday, June 13, as a crowd of several thousand gathered on the musuem grounds to witness history. Inducted were Bob Arum, Jimmy Bivins, Mickey Duff, Khaosai Galaxy, Eusebio Pedroza and Irving Rudd. There were 11 men inducted posthumously. From the modern era was Vicente Saldivar, Freddie Steele and Lew Jenkins. From the old-timers era were Lew Tendler, Sam McVey and Johnny Coulon. From the pioneer category was Bill Richmond. Joining Arum, Duff and Rudd in the non-participants category was Jimmy Johnston, Tom O'Rourke, Murray Goodman and Giuseppe Ballarati.

Arum appeared genuinely humbled by the honor bestowed upon him. "Sometimes people get an award and then what they do subsequently justifies the award. ... I hope that will be the case in my situation," said Arum, as two of his current fighters, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. looked on. "Maybe some day I will really be worthy of this honor you have given me today," he continued.

For the second consecutive year, promoter Mike Acri staged an action-packed boxing card at the Turning Stone Casino. In this year's main event, former WBA junior middleweight world champion Carl Daniels outpointed Bobby Heath over 10 rounds. In the semifinal, Henry Hughes decisioned former IBF lightweight champ Greg Haugen.

Numerous Hall of Fame alumni and world champions attended the weekend festivities. They included Hall of Famers Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, Bob Foster, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Willie Pep, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, Emile Griffith, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Carlos Ortiz, Ruben Olivares, Michael Spinks, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Emanuel Steward, Gil Clancy, Lou Duva and Arthur Mercante.

Other past or present world champions who were in Canastota to witness the event were De La Hoya, Mayweather, Haugen, Daniels, Angel Manfredy, Junior Jones, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Billy Backus, Johnny Saxton, Ray Mancini, Joey Gamache, Sugar Shane Mosley, Harold Winstone and Leon Spinks.

Also on hand were top fighters such as Joe Miceli, Gerry Cooney and Christy Martin.

The total number of world champions in attendance was 32.

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1999 Hall of Fame inductees Khaosai Galaxy, above, and Jimmy Bivins.
Angel Manfredy prepares for a workout on the museum grounds.