Photos and report by Boxing Bob Newman
Early June in upstate New York means many things-rain and sunshine, lush, green fields, both warm and cool temperatures. On this second weekend of the month, all this was seen during the one sure thing a boxing fan can count on at this time in this place-The International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canastota, New York. This year brought the twenty first edition of the event-seven living inductees, thirteen in all, and a passionate crowd of fans, family members and friends to pay homage to those who have dedicated their careers and lives to the “Sweet Science.”
True to form, the list of inductees began with boxing historian Herb Goldman paying tribute to the deceased class of 2010…
Lloyd Marshall (1914-1997) Marshall was a top middleweight and lightheavy of his day. He took on and defeated such ring luminaries as Ken Overlin, Babe Risko, Teddy Yarosz, Lou Brouillard, Charley Burly, Ezzard Charles, Jake LaMotta, Holman Williams, Joey Maxim, Freddie Mills and Tommy Farr.
Young Corbett II (1880-1927) Corbett was featherweight champion of the world from Denver, CO.
Corbett beat Hall of Famers George Dixon and Terry McGovern during a career that saw a record of 66-22-16 (47 KOs), 6 ND.
Rocky Kansas (1895-1954) Born Rocco Tozzo in Buffalo, New York, Kansas won the world lightweight title in 1925 after 160 bouts and fifteen years in the ring. Among others, he beat Lew Tendler, Ad Wolgast, Johnny Dundee and Johnnie Kilbane.
Billy Miske (1894-1924) in his short thirty years on this earth, Miske took on the best in Harry Greb, Tommy Gibbons, Battling Levinsky and Bill Brennan. He lost his only title shot in 1920, getting stopped in three by heavyweight king Jack Dempsey.
“Paddington” Tom Jones (1766-1833) Is recorded as being the first welterweight champion of the world in 1792.
Howard Cosell (1918-1995) Famous for “Telling it like it is,” Cosell was synonymous with boxing on ABC’s Wide World of Sports for over 25 years. Standing up for Muhammad Ali during the fighter’s exile from boxing, while others did not, Cosell stood up for, and said what he believed.
Several family members of the deceased inductees accepted certificates on behalf of their ancestors.
IBHOF president Don Ackerman then presented the 2010 living inductees…
Wilfried Sauerland (Born 1940) A top promoter in Germany, Sauerland promoted John Mugabi, Ralf and Graciano Rocchigiani, Henry Maske, Axel Schulz, Sven Ottke, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Markus Beyer, Nikolai Valuev and Marco Huck.
“When I received a phone call some months ago from Ed Brophy, that I had been selected as a member of the Hall of Fame, it sent shivers down my spine. When you’re seventy years old and you get shivers down your spine, then you know something very special has happened!…The man who got me into boxing thirty three years ago is now the president of Zambia. I don’t know who achieved more, him being the president of Zambia, or for me to be in the Hall of Fame! …In the name of German boxing, I’m honored to the second after Max Schmeling to be a member of the Hall of Fame. Thank you!”
Bruce Trampler (Born 1949) Matchmaker for Top Rank since 1981, Trampler learned the ropes under Chris and Angelo Dundee as well as legendary matchmaker Teddy Brenner. Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Kelly Pavlik, among many others can thank Trampler for guiding their careers.
“When I got out of college my mother warned me, ‘Please don’t go work for the Dundees, you’re going to meet fast women and gansters.’ Eventually, I did, but not through the Dundees! …I want to thank Bob Arum for giving us all a chance to work in the sport which we love so much!”
Shelley Finkel (Born 1944) Finkel began as a rock-n-roll manager and promoter later moved on to promoting amateur bouts. He started out working with contender Alex Ramos, and moved on to sign to professional contracts Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, Tyrell Biggs, Mark Breland, and advised the likes of Mike Tyson and the brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
“I want to thank some people who are not with us today, but were instrumental in my growth in the sport- Ray Arcel, Jim Jacobs, Dan Duva and Joey Fariello. Joey told me, ‘In life as in boxing, the most important thing is character. At some point in life, you’re gonna be tested. Always go with the person who has character, he’ll come out on top.’”
Larry Hazzard (Born 1944) Hazzard refereed over 40 world championship fights, including those with Marvin Hagler and Michael Spinks. Hazzard later went on to become New Jersey State Athletic Commisioner from 1985-2007.
“We are all in the race against time. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. There are so many people in the world of boxing who are worthy of this recognition, and for me to be standing here today, in front of many of them, is only by the grace of God.”
Ed Schuyler (Born 1934) Schuyler was the AP’s boxing scribe from 1970-2002. He covered such epic battles as Ali-Frazier I, II, II, Ali-Foreman, Holmes-Cooney, Tyson-Spinks, Douglas-Tyson, and the plethora of bouts between Leonard, Hagler, Duran and Hearns.
“Boxing, warts and all, has always been a writer’s sport. If you can’t write about boxing, you should be selling shoes! I’d like to thank all the fighters who tried. Even if they didn’t get past four rounds. They were fighters and they gave their best.”
Jung Koo Chang (Born 1963) Former WBC Light Flyweight champion Chang was known as “The Korean Hawk,” due to his non-stop punching style, reminiscent of Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor. Chang racked up a then-record fifteen defenses of his title before retiring as incumbent champion.
“I want to thank you for your heart warming welcome. From now on, Canastota is my home town. I will come back every year to see you guys and celebrate the new inductees!”
Danny “Little Red” Lopez (Born 1952) Lopez won the WBC Featherweight title against hometown champ David Kotey in Accra Ghana, in front of 120,000 fans. He made eight successful defenses and during his career beat the likes of Ruben Olivares, Sean O’Grady, Chucho Castillo and Mike Ayala.
“I’ve signed so many autographs here, most of them of the Sports Illustrated issue I was on the cover of. I think I’m outdoing the Sport Illustrated swimsuit edition!”
And with that, the inductees gathered on the dais, and struck their collective pose, rings on fists, aiming at the photographers trying for the perfect snapshot. More autographs were signed, hands were shook, backs patted, and hugs given. Almost as soon as it all ended, talk began of next year’s potential class- Tzsyu, Chavez and Tyson…time to start requesting that time off from work and making those hotel reservations!