International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Michael Katz, Mark Johnson, Al Bernstein, Freddie Roach, Thomas Hearns and Michael Buffer pose with their Hall of Fame rings at the induction ceremony in Canastota, N.Y., Sunday, June 10, 2012. Photos by Heather Ainsworth
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While most of the boxing world had their attention fixed on Las Vegas, Nevada some 2400 miles back east in the small town of Canastota New York, home of the boxing hall of fame, 6 inductee’s were preparing to get inducted into the boxing hall of fame, (4 as Freddie Roach and Michael Buffer were in Las Vegas).
While it would have been nice to see the Boxing Hall of Fame get their own weekend without having to fight with Top Rank and Manny Pacquiao for boxing fans attention, Sunday for the inductee’s speeches had a good turnout at the hall of fame.
Long time and highly respected journalist Michael Katz opened the speech ceremony and the Kronk trained Thomas the “hitman’ Hearns closed the ceremony with a speech that had Hearns touch on his never wanting to be the best fighter there was but to “be the best fight he could be” every time her fought. He thanked “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, because without the fights those three put on, none of them may have been in the hall, Hearns stated.
Mark “too sharp” Johnson, the first African-American to win a world title at flyweight was also inducted on Sunday. The D.C. native raised his arms up and graciously and proudly told the crowd at the end of his speech that “he made it”, while being overcome with joy had perhaps the most touching speech.
Michael Buffer and Al Bernstein who were also inducted touched on their time covering and being a part of the boxing community. Buffer announced that the best fight he ever saw was Iran Barkley vs Roberto Duran, he also had nice words to say to the other inductees on the stage with him. Buffer also mentioned that he was the only guy to be in the ring with Leonard, Hernes, Hagler Tyson and others and never got touched once by any of them. While it made have been said in jest, Buffer has announced for every big name in boxing for the last quarter century. Buffer along Jimmy Lennon Jr are two of boxing’s finest announcers in the boxing game today and when you hear Buffer’s catchphrase “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE” live at a big time fight it’s a sight to see and hear in itself.
While MyBoxingFans was not able to attend the entire weekend, we were there to hear the inductee’s speeches on a warm a fairly humid day in central New York. Freddie Roach who was also inducted said little. It was over before it ever started. Maybe the events from the night prior left him with little to say?
Maxboxing Gabriel Montoya has a very interesting article about PEDs, worth a read. (click here)
The first two weeks of June have had some interesting fight endings. This summer may just be getting started and there are a lot of good boxing conversations to be had. Mike Jones gets knocked out and of course the Pacquiao-Bradley decision. However, this weekend can Chavez Jr make up for Freddie Roach and the pacman disappointment?
I am not trying to take anything away from the boxing hall of fame, however as I have stated before, while the location is not bad, it also is not the best. I do understand that the IBHOF does a wonderful job with their weekend festivities and what not but when your banquet in 10 miles down the road, something needs to change. What about satellite locations? Las Vegas for sure. How about along with the dinner gala the IBHOF put on, that they actually have fight too? NFL has a pre season game the weekend of their hall of fame inductions, why couldn’t the IBHOF make an effort to get with the promoters? This would also bring HBO, Showtime perhaps ESPN Friday night fights in to help give the hall some airtime? While I understand they have certain events already in line, shouldn’t one of them be actual boxing? I am not trying to take anything away from the IBHOF, but would like them to do more than a dinner and a parade.
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