COONEY, WARD, DUVA, ORTEGA, CHUVALO & BASILIO
TO ATTEND BOXING HALL OF FAME FUND-RAISER
A "Night of Champions” planned for November 16th at
CANASTOTA, NY – OCTOBER 5, 2007 - A Boxing Hall of Fame “Night of Champions” featuring heavyweight star Gerry Cooney, “Irish” Micky Ward, Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva, 1950s welterweight star Gasper (Indian) Ortega, Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo and Canastota's Carmen Basilio, is scheduled for The Empire Room at the NYS Fairgrounds on Friday, November 16, 2007.
“The 'Night of Champions' promises to be an exciting time for all sports fans in Central New York,” said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. “It's a tremendous opportunity to mingle with the legends of the sport of boxing.”
The evening will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and consist of photograph and autograph opportunities, food and beverages, silent and live auctions, fight films, and speeches by the celebrity guests.
Also, the 2007 Central New York Boxing Appreciation Award will be presented to Ralph and Rocky Fratto of Geneva, NY for their contribution to the sport of boxing in Central New York.
From Huntington, NY, Cooney compiled a 55-2 amateur record before turning pro in 1977. The 6'7” Cooney utilized a devastating left hook to score wins over S.T. Gordon, Eddie Lopez, Dino Dennis, Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle and Hall of Famer Ken Norton to secure a 1981 heavyweight title bout with Larry Holmes (TKO by 13). “Gentleman Gerry” retired from the ring in 1990 with a 28-3 (24 KOs) record and is now the chairman of F.I.S.T. (Fighter's Initiative for Support and Training), an organization with the goal to help boxers adjust to life outside of the ring.
Boxing out of Lowell, MA, Ward was one of boxing's most exciting fighters. He turned pro in 1985 and used a crowd-pleasing style to register a 38-13 (27 KOs) record, including wins over Shea Neary, Reggie Green, and Emanuel Burton. In 2002 and 2003 Ward engaged in an epic trilogy with Arturo Gatti, winning the first and losing hard-fought battles in the last two encounters. Following their third bout Ward announced his retirement from the ring. During his career, he was in “Fight of the Year” three times, (2001 vs Burton, 2002 and 2003 vs Gatti). A motion picture chronicling his life, The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg, is currently in production.
The patriarch of the Duva boxing family, Lou Duva boxed as a youth, winning the New Jersey Diamond Gloves. In 1977 the Duva family formed promotional company Main Events with Lou serving as manager / trainer and his son, Dan, as matchmaker and promoter. Known for his fierce devotion to his fighters, Duva has worked with Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Mark Breland, Livingstone Bramble, Michael Moorer, Andrew Golota and Bobby Czyz among others. In 1998, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
One of the standout welterweight stars of the 1950s and 60s, Ortega won the 1952 Mexican Golden Gloves title before turning pro in 1953. As a pro, he boxed 176 times over a 12-year career. With graceful movements and dazzling speed, Ortega scored wins over Isaac Logart, Stan Harrington, and champions Tony DeMarco, Kid Gavilan, and Benny Paret. An exciting fighter, Ortega made over 25 main event appearances on television. In his only title bout, he lost to Hall of Famer Emile Griffith in 1961. He retired from the ring in 1965 with a 131-39-6 (69 KOs) record.
Toronto's Chuvalo began boxing in 1956. Within two years he won the vacant Canadian heavyweight title, a championship he would hold for the better part of twenty years. Chuvalo registered wins over Yvon Durelle, Doug Jones, Cleveland Williams, Jerry Quarry and Syracuse's Mike DeJohn. He engaged in two-world title bouts, first against Ernie Terrell in 1965 (L15) and then a much-hyped bout with Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) in Toronto in 1966 (L15). Chuvalo retired in 1978 with a 73-18-2 (64 KOs) record and remains one of the most popular fighters in heavyweight history.
Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight championship in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, and Billy Graham among others during his career. His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27KOs). In 1990, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling Don Hamilton at 315-469-5088 or the Boxing Hall of Fame at 315-697-7095. Only a limited number of tickets will be available. All proceeds will benefit the Hall of Fame.