STARS SHINE BRIGHTLY IN "BOXING'S HOMETOWN"
Thousands of boxing fans from around the globe congregated at the Hall of Fame's Events Pavilion to see the Class of 2005 join boxing immortals when they were enshrined into the Hall of Fame during the Official Induction Ceremony on Sunday, June 12th. This year marked the 16th Class of Inductees honored in Canastota.
The Induction Ceremony capped a fun-filled 4-day Hall of Fame Weekend that featured over 20 exciting events including a golf tournament, cocktail party, banquet, boxing autograph card show, and a professional boxing show. Also, there were a host of activities on the Museum Grounds, including the very popular "ringside lecture" question and answer sessions and workout exhibitions by boxing stars of today.
This year's living inductees were featherweight Bobby Chacon, junior welterweight Duilio Loi, featherweight Barry McGuigan, junior middleweight Terry Norris, matchmaker Don Fraser and writer Bert Sugar. Living honorees received the official Hall of Fame Induction certificate and gold Hall of Fame ring symbolizing their status as Hall of Famers.
The 76-year old Loi, who reigned twice as 140-pound champion, was unable to attend. However, his daughter, Bonaria, accepted Hall of Fame honors for her father. “My father is not here physically, but his heart is here. He would want to say hello to all of his old friends, particularly Carlos Ortiz who was my father's adversary in the ring, but his great friend in life."
California's Fraser said, “In fifty-five years of boxing this is the highest honor I have ever received.”
An enthusiastic Chacon shadowboxed his way to the podium to accept his Hall of Fame ring as the crowd roared its support. “I fought the best. It's been a rough road, but I had a good career. Thank you very much.”
Upon accepting his Hall of Fame ring, Norris thanked his father. "He wanted me to be a world champ. He wanted me to be the best fighter in the world. Now, I'm a Hall of Famer. This is for you dad.”
McGuigan held back tears as he delivered an emotional acceptance speech. “It's a wonderful privilege to join the Class of 2005. To be counted in the same league as some of my boyhood heroes is a fantastic and humbling experience... Thank you to all who supported me.”
The colorful Sugar commented, “I am privileged to be here. I am so proud to be here because we are in the Hall of Fame side by side with the boxers…Thank you for being my readers and thank you for putting up with me.”
Posthumous inductees of the Class of 2005 were also honored. Eugene Criqui, Joe Lynch, Charles "Bud" Taylor and Marcel Thil in the old-timer category, Jack Randall in the pioneer category, manager / film historian Bill Cayton and manager / promoter Lope Sarreal as non-participants and writer Jersey Jones and Boxing News editor Harry Mullan in the observer category. Taylor's son, Chuck; Cayton's son, Brian; Sarreal's son, Lope, Jr. and Mullan's wife, Jessie all accepted Hall of Fame honors for their loved ones.
Among the boxing stars on hand for the Weekend were Hall of Fame Alumni: Carmen Basilio, Carlos Ortiz, Aaron Pryor, Jose Torres, Emile Griffith, Ruben Olivares, Ken Norton, Ken Buchanan, Alexis Arguello, Lou Duva, Mickey Duff, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Angelo Dundee, Gil Clancy, Don Chargin, Arthur Mercante, Jake LaMotta, Russell Peltz, and Stanley Christodoulou.
Other boxers and boxing personalities in attendance included Christy Martin, Mustafa Hamsho, Marlon Starling, George Chuvalo, Leon Spinks, Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, Micky Ward, Michael Carbajal, Danny "Little Red" Lopez, "Sugar" Shane Mosley, John H. Stracey, Alan Minter, James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Reggie Johnson, Hedgemon Lewis, “Mighty” Mike Anchondo, ESPN 2's Brian Kenny and Canastota's Billy Backus and Dickie DiVeronica.
Three current world champions also attended the festivities. WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewester, WBO / WBC lightweight champion Diego “Chico” Corrales and WBA lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz
Brewster, Diaz, Martin and Anchondo conducted public workout sessions for the fans.
This year's Hall of Fame Parade of Champions Grand Marshal was Academy Award-nominated star of Love Story Ryan O'Neal.
The Friday Night Boxing Show at Turning Stone Resort and Casino featured a full card of professional boxing with popular heavyweight Shannon Briggs scoring an exciting third round TKO over Abraham Okine in the main event.
The fights were televised live on ESPN 2's Friday Night Fights. Show host Brian Kenny interviewed boxing legends in Canastota for the festivities, including McGuigan, Sugar, Hagler, Martin, Corrales, Brewster, and Minter during the live telecast.
In addition to parade grand marshal O'Neal, Canastota welcomed two more Hollywood heavyweights.
Academy Award winner, Daniel Day-Lewis, who starred in the motion picture The Boxer in 1997, was in attendance for the induction of his close friend Barry McGuigan.
Also Academy Award winner Russell Crowe, the star of the James J. Braddock biopic, Cinderella Man, spent time with his friend, Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee, touring the Hall of Fame Museum. Dundee trained Crowe in preparation for the role and also played a corner man in the film.