Feature | Issue | Premium | Jun 21 2019

Hall of Fame Diary

Jack Hirsch, now a veteran of 27 Hall of Fame induction weekends, reports from this year’s event
Hall of fame
Action Images/Paul Currie

IT all started in 1990 with the first group of honourees enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, a tiny village in upstate New York. On this, the 30th anniversary, the full impact of how fragile life is was evident in the fact that Jose Napoles is the only surviving member of that original class. But the memories never die. A tour of the museum and a look at all the plaques on the wall guarantee the greats of yesteryear will live on for eternity. Hall of Fame weekend is far more than just honouring the newest class of inductees and acknowledging the past ones. It is a celebration of boxing, a four-day party so to speak. It belongs at the top of everyone’s bucket list of places to be. If you’ve never been, make it a priority to go next year.

Obviously, the first HOF class, led by the likes of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, was exceptional. In the succeeding years the strength of the classes varied. Some felt this year’s group was not particularly strong, but that is only in comparison to who has gotten in before. All were in attendance except journalist Mario Rivera Martino, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 93. The other non-fighters were broadcaster/trainer Teddy Atlas, promoter/matchmaker Don Elbaum, judge/referee Guy Jutras and publicist Lee Samuels. The boxers were former welterweight/super-welterweight champion Donald Curry, former welterweight champion Tony DeMarco, former super-welterweight/middleweight champion Julian Jackson and former super-lightweight/welterweight champion Buddy McGirt.

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