CLASS OF 2006 HONORED IN "BOXING'S HOMETOWN"
Despite unseasonably cold temperatures, thousands of boxing fans from around the globe congregated at the Hall of Fame's Events Pavilion to see the Class of 2006 join boxing immortals when they were enshrined into the Hall of Fame during the Official Induction Ceremony on Sunday, June 11th. This year marked the 17th 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, and boxing autograph card 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 junior flyweight champions and three-time ring ring rivals Michael (Little Hands of Stone) Carbajal and Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez , boxing historian / publisher Hank Kaplan and British manager / promoter Jarvis Astaire . Living honorees received the official Hall of Fame Induction certificate and gold Hall of Fame ring symbolizing their status as Hall of Famers.
Astaire was unable to attend the Induction Ceremony. Hall of Fame promoter Don Chargin accepted the Hall of Fame certificate and gold Hall of Fame ring on Astaire's behalf.
Phoenix, Arizona's Carbajal was emotional as he received his gold Hall of Fame ring. “I want to thank all my friends and family that came from Arizona to see this”
Carbajal also recognized his rival and fellow inductee Gonzalez. "We had three great fights. We put on a show and showed that the little guys could hit as hard as the heavyweights, both of us."
Upon receiving his gold Hall of Fame ring, Mexico's Gonzalez said, "I want to thank my good friend Michael Carbajal. We had three great fights...I may have fought flyweights but now I'm here with the big ones.”
The former foes embraced after accepting their rings.
Miami-based historian Kaplan amused the throng with stories of such boxing luminaries as Kid Gavilan, Beau Jack and Jimmy McLarnin.
“I've spent my whole life trying to keep people from forgetting the great fighters of the past...and for the rest of my life I will continue on that mission.”
Three-time lightweight champion Edwin (Chapo) Rosario was honored posthumously in the Modern category. Rosario's wife Alma and three of their children accepted Hall of Fame honors for "Chapo." Also, Marcus Torres Skerrett, a legislator from Puerto Rico read a proclamation from the mayor of Toa Baja (Rosario's hometown) declaring June 11, 2006 "Recognition Day of Edwin "Chapo" Rosario.
Other posthumous inductees of the Class of 2006 honored were Lou Brouillard , Jimmy Slattery and Teddy Yarosz in the old-timer category, Jem Carney in the pioneer category, trainer Whitey Bimstein and promoter Rodolfo Sabbatini in the non-participant category and publisher Stanley Weston in the observer category. Brouillard's son Lucien Brouillard; Slattery's granddaughter Joyce Slattery Zygaj; Yarosz' widow Jean Yarosz and daughter Judy Brown; Bimstein's grandson Michael Shapiro; Weston's daughter Toby Cone and family friend David Gerhardt all accepted Hall of Fame honors for their loved ones.
Posthumous honors for Sabbatini were accepted by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who was a business associate of Sabbatini's for many years.
Among the boxing stars on hand for the Weekend were Hall of Fame Alumni: Sugar Ray Leonard, Carmen Basilio, Carlos Ortiz, Aaron Pryor, Emile Griffith, Gene Fullmer, Ruben Olivares, Ken Norton, Alexis Arguello, Bob Foster, Wilfredo Gomez, Mickey Duff, Angelo Dundee, Gil Clancy, Don Chargin, Stanley Christodoulou, Russell Peltz, Arthur Mercante, Bert Sugar and Bob Arum.
Other boxers in attendance included Christy Martin, Vito Antuofermo, George Chuvalo, Micky Ward, Erik Morales, Livingstone Bramble, Pinklon Thomas, Marlon Starling, Pernell Whitaker and Dickie DiVeronica.
Current WBO heavyweight champion Sergei (The White Wolf) Liakhovich and The Contender star Alfonso Gomez were in attendance and conducted public workout sessions for the fans.
Also, the Hall of Fame commemorated the 30th anniversary of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team with a special "Night of Olympians." Gold medal winners Leonard, Howard Davis, Jr., Leo Randolph, and Leon Spinks, silver medal winner Charles Mooney and team members Louis Curtis, Chuck Walker and Davey Armstrong were in attendance.
This year's Hall of Fame Parade of Champions Grand Marshal was the star of Saved By The Bell and The Bold and the Beautiful Mario Lopez.
Boxing fans had the opportunity to obtain great new books by Hall of Famers Arthur Mercante and Bert Randolph Sugar. Legendary referee Mercante, a 1995 Hall of Famer, signed copies of his new autobiography Inside the Ropes and 2005 Hall of Famer Sugar signed copies of his new books Boxing's Greatest Fighters and Bert Sugar On Boxing.
SHOWBOX ringside commentators Steve Farhood and Nick Charles participated in the Ringside Lectures on Hall of Fame Grounds during the Weekend festivities. The duo answered questions about all aspects of boxing from the fans and gave away copies of Teddy Blackburn's book In the Other Corner - A Tribute to Gerald McClellan compliments of SHOWTIME.