24th ANNUAL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CELEBRATION IN
BOXING'S HOMETOWN - CANASTOTA, NEW YORK
CANASTOTA, NY - JUNE 11, 2013 - Despite inclement weather for the majority of the four-day Hall of Fame Weekend, the clouds parted and the sun was shining brightly on Sunday, June 9th as the Class of 2013 joined boxing immortals at the Official Induction Ceremony. An enthusiastic crowd of boxing fans from throughout the United States and abroad and members of the worldwide boxing community assembled at the Hall of Fame's Events Pavilion to see the new inductees enshrined.
The ceremony capped four fun-filled days of activities in “Boxing’s Hometown” celebrating the new class of inductees and the sport of boxing. The weekend featured many exciting and memorable events including a golf tournament, cocktail party, banquet, night of welterweight warriors and boxing autograph card show. Also, there were a variety of activities on the Museum Grounds including the popular "ringside lecture" question and answer sessions, celebrity fist casting, public workouts, raffles and a silent auction.
This year's living inductees were five-time world champion Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill and two-time junior flyweight champion Myung-Woo Yuh in the Modern category; “Let’s Get It On” referee Mills Lane, ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. and journalist Colin Hart. Living honorees received the official Hall of Fame Induction Certificate and gold Hall of Fame ring symbolizing their status as Hall of Famers.
Posthumous inductees of the Class of 2013 honored were Arturo “Thunder” Gatti in the modern category; Wesley Ramey and Jeff Smith in the old-timer category; Joe Coburn in the pioneer category; manager Arturo (Cuyo) Hernandez in the Non-Participant category; and cartoonist Ted Carroll in the Observer Category.
Coburn’s great grandson, Gregg Gilmore, accepted for the Pioneer inductee and said, “…My great grandfather matured not only as a fighter – with his style, he was scientific, get in and out, make your move, leave your mark – but also as a man. He was a powerful example and referred to by more than one person as a good worker.”
Ramey’s son, Wes Ramey Jr., accepted Hall of Fame honors for his father and said, “…Wesley Ramey never got a title shot he so richly deserved but he sure got something a heck of a lot better, he’s being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame!”
Accepting Hall of Fame honors for Gatti were his mother, Ida, daughter, Sofia, career-long manager Pat Lynch, career-long promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events and three-time ring rival and close friend “Irish” Micky Ward.
“…Even though he beat me twice at the end, he was such a great guy and I had a great bond with him after we fought and he became one of my great friends. I miss him to death every day and I think about him every day. He’s always with me and I know he’s here,” said Ward.
With Lynch holding her up to the microphone, 7-year old Sofia proclaimed “ Thank you for my daddy!”
“This is a tough moment for all of us, his family and friends that are sitting here…Arturo would never give up, he would never throw in the towel. Arturo Gatti never quit in the ring and I can guarantee you he would never quit in life. I was honored and privileged to be his manager his entire career but I was more honored and privileged to call him my friend,” said Lynch.
Duva, speaking on behalf of Gatti’s mother said, “…I’m humbled for the opportunity to thank you for this amazing outpouring of love and support…I was agonizing over what to say. I wanted to come up with exactly the right words and at the same time felt this little bit of desire to address some of the critics. I couldn’t find a better way to express my sentiment than with words I happened upon last week uttered by a man who never met Arturo Gatti but I have a hunch would have been a major fan if they met, Theodore Roosevelt:
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
"And that ladies and gentlemen tells us why Arturo Gatti is being inducted here today in this place where he truly belongs. He used to talk about wanting to be here in the Hall of Fame. He spoke about it often. He knew he had critics who didn’t think he belonged here. He truly understood competing arguments of why he should or should not be. But he is up in heaven today and I hope that he knows one of his dreams has truly come true because Arturo Gatti dared greatly and for that we will never ever forget him.”
Veteran journalist Hart traveled from his home in England to accept his Hall of Fame ring. “Now I know what it’s like to win an Oscar…When Ed Brophy called me seven months ago to tell me I was being inducted today, I’m in the word business but I failed to find one to express my emotions at the time. I eventually came up with one, it was ecstatic. I’m deeply honored to see my name alongside the greats of our sport…I’m going to leave you with a quote from a great statesman, Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure with enthusiasm.’”
Legendary referee Lane, who suffered a stroke in 2002, was next to accept his Hall of Fame ring and take his place in the Hall of Fame. Before his son, Tommy, spoke on behalf of his family, Lane took the microphone and delivered his signature line “Let’s Get It On!” much to the delight of his many fans.
“This is the happiest I have seen him since the stroke, which is so important to my family and I. We will cherish this the rest of our lives. I think we all know what made Mills Lane a great referee….but what I want to talk about is what made my dad the best family man, the best father, the best husband anyone could ask for. He was loving, he told us he was proud of us all the time, he was tough, he was a man’s man and a great example of what a man should be. So dad, we love you. Happy early Father’s Day,” said Tommy Lane.
SHOWTIME ring announcer Lennon Jr. was next to join boxing’s immortals. “Without a doubt, God has blessed me with a great professional job that many would call a dream job. Think about it, I’ve been in the ring for over 10,000 fights, nearing 900 world title fights and unlike my friends up here, I’ve never once been injured in the ring and I’ve never had to make weight either. I’ve traveled the world and announced in 32 different countries and I introduce the fighters in the center of the ring and sit down in the front row for free and watch some of the greatest moments in sports history unfold before my eyes. I am a very fortunate man…Today I am very excited and proud to be part of the International Boxing Hall of Fame family,” said Lennon Jr.
Only the second Korean inducted into the Hall of Fame, Yuh proudly accepted his gold Hall of Fame ring. “I would like to thank you for this great and wonderful time. This reminds me again how proud I am to be a world champion. I am privileged and honored to share this award with these champions…I will never forget this moment. I love boxing! Thank you,” said Yuh.
North Dakota’s Hill was the final member of the Class of 2013 to accept his honors. “…I’m very honored to be on the stage with these great world champions. Never ever did it enter my mind that something like this would be possible, I never thought of it…Just because you become world champion doesn’t mean you automatically know these guys (motioning to the dais) and you get starstruck. I appreciate the Boxing Hall of Fame…In my heart of hearts this means more to me than you’ll ever know,” said Hill.
Among the boxing stars on hand for the weekend were Hall of Fame Alumni Don Chargin, Joe Cortez, Pipino Cuevas, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Larry Hazzard, Jake LaMotta, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Carlos Ortiz, Carlos Palomino, Russell Peltz, Aaron Pryor and Michael Spinks.
Other boxing celebrities in attendance included Billy Backus, Iran Barkley, Simon Brown, Dickie DiVeronica, George Chuvalo, In-Jin Chi, Gerry Cooney, Tony DeMarco, Julian Jackson, Reggie Johnson, Zab Judah, Juan LaPorte, Kevin McBride, Milton McCrory, Angel Manfredy, Sergio Martinez, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Gaspar Ortega, Tracy Harris Patterson, Mia St. John, John Scully, Earnie Shavers, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Leon Spinks, Marlon Starling, Micky Ward and Mike Weaver.
The Grand Marshal of the 2013 Parade of Champions was Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Rosie Perez.
Night of Welterweight Warriors – The Hall of Fame celebrated the welterweight division with an evening featuring video highlights and speeches from such 147-pound standouts as Gaspar Ortega, Tony DeMarco, Billy Backus, Pipino Cuevas, Carlos Palomino, Milton McCrory, Marlon Starling, Simon Brown, Zab Judah and Sugar Shane Mosley. The evening was dedicated to Canastota’s welterweight and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio who passed away in November at age 85. It was an emotional night as the welterweights, as well as Gerry Cooney and Jimmy Lennon Jr., offered fond recollections of Basilio. The champions also spoke about their careers and what competing in the welterweight division meant to them.
Workout Headquarters – Up and coming prospects - super middleweight Julius “The Chef” Jackson (15-0), son of champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, and light heavyweight Ryon “Big Youth” McKenzie (13-0, 11 KOs), from the Bahamas and now based out of Canastota – conducted two public workouts for fans on the Hall of Fame grounds. Both boxers signed autographs for fans after their respective workouts.
Hall of Fame Collection Grows – 2013 inductee Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill donated fight worn boxing shoes, trunks, robe and a Native American feather headdress to the Hall of Fame. Fellow inductee Myung-Woo Yuh donated a fight worn boxing robe, trunks and shoes for Museum display.
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE for the 24th Hall of Fame Weekend festivities were WBA VP Gilberto Mendoza Jr, trainer Jack Mosley, referees Kenny Bayless, Tony Weeks, Vic Drakulich and Steve Smoger, former New York State Athletic Commission Chairman and Sirius/ XM radio host Randy Gordon, actor and Sirius/ XM radio host Chuck Zito, publicist Bill Caplan, The Ring magazine editor Michael Rosenthal, BWAA president Jack Hirsch and Top Rank VP-Boxing Operations Carl Moretti.