Story and photos by Boxing Bob Newman
The Saturday edition of the 2017 IBHOF induction weekend was a bonus, no matter how you sliced it. While the skies looked hit-or-miss at times, the rain held off, though humidity was at a brutal high leaving boxing fans looking as though they had been trying to reduce weight in a sauna.
It was perfect for those who partook in the celebrity golf outing at Castlewood golf course. Those who took in the ringside lectures on the Hall of Fame grounds enjoyed a respite from the sun and heat under the pavilion overhang. They listened to Showtime’s Hall-of-Fame foursome of Al Bernstein, Barry Tompkins, Steve Farhood and Jimmy Lennon, Jr. share memories of their hall-worthy careers with fans. CompuBox founder Bob Cannobio and punch counter extraordinaire Lee Groves then discussed the genesis, evolution and importance of the punch counting statistical tool to the sport.
As always, the boxing collector’s and autograph show drew scads of fans to Canastota High School’s gymnasium to browse and buy, or wait in line to get photos signed by and taken with champs young and old. Inaugural cruiserweight champ Marvin Camel made his third consecutive trip to Title Town while WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder also was on hand, signing away and posing for any and all who asked.
At 5:30, the Gray Stone hosted the popular V.I.P. Cocktail party where fans can basically mingle face to face with inductees past and present, as well as special guests. Evander Holyfield posed for loads of photos and was easily the most sought after inductee. Current stars Shawn Porter and Danny Jacobs also chewed the fat with guests. Others included were Pernell Whitaker, Livingstone Bramble, Michael Carbajal, Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez, Pipino Cuevas, Stan Christodoulou, Riddick Bowe, Reggie Johnson, Fernando Vargas, James Toney and Leon Spinks among others.
The annual banquet gala is being hosted in downtown Syracuse at the OnCenter, where over 1000 guests will dine, bid on aucton items and listen to the inductees speak, as well as watch career highlights.
The parade of champions will start at 1 p.m. Sunday follwed by the induction ceremonies at 2:30 p.m. [See image gallery at www.fightnews.com]