Round 12: The International Boxing Hall of Fame
By Mauricio Sulaimán – Son of Jose Sulaiman & President of the WBC
After two years of uncertainty, anxiety and suffering, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in Canastota, New York, reopened its doors to celebrate the annual induction ceremony for legends of our sport.
On this occasion, three generations combined “Trilogy” : those of 2020, 2021 and 2022, and the atmosphere that was experienced will remain in the memory of all of us, who had the opportunity to witness the entrance to boxing’s heaven for eternity, the great men and women who have devoted their lives to make boxing great.
Canastota is a small town in the centre of the state of New York, but it managed to pinpoint itself on the map with the greatness of champion Carmen Basilio, who gave the city a sense of belonging in the 70s, thanks to a small display case with a plaque and a robe.
It remained like that for several years, until one day in the 1990´s the International Boxing Hall of Fame was formed, which began with a small office; later a showroom of articles, and through the years, it has grown enormously.
The fans of the world travel once a year to pay tribute to those who achieve the dream of being inducted at this venue.
One of the most important years was when Mike Tyson, Julio César Chávez and Kostya Tszyu received the honour along with Sylvester Stallone, that famous Rocky, who, without a doubt, is the most important ambassador that boxing has had after Muhammad Ali. It was incredible, it set the tone for future generations to join greatness as they pave their way through their deeds inside and outside the ring.
On this occasion, great legends received the honour, being the main attraction Floyd Mayweather “TBE” but with shinning honors the great generation was led by Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Márquez. Women boxers are also honoured, since Ed Brophy made the wise decision to include them, starting in 2020. Laila Ali, Christy Martin, Holy Holm, Ann Wolfe and Regina Halmich were present.
It was a ceremony that had poignant moments. Wladimir Klitschko was unable to attend as he is confined to war torn Ukraine. He joins his brother Vitali, who received this honour in 2019.
A tribute was also paid to Marvin Marvelous Hagler, who passed away last year, and was always present at induction ceremonies, always a fans favourite; year after year, he came to spend moments of happiness with the fans.
The rest of the awardees are:
2020: Frank Erne, Paddy Ryan, Lucia Rijker, Barbara Buttrick, Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva, Dan Goossen, Bernard Fernandez, and Thomas Hauser.
2021: Andre Ward, Davey Moore, Ann Wolfe, Jackie Tonawanda, Marian Trimiar, Freddie Brown, Margaret Goodman, Jackie McCoy, George Kimball, and Jay Larkin.
2022: James Toney, Tod Morgan, Holly Holm, Bill Caplan, Chuck Hull, Ron Borges, and Bob Yalen.
It was in 2007 that my dad received this great honour. He was inducted with Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Ricardo “Finito” Lopez and LeRoy Neiman.
These are days in which the awardees feel the affection of all. There are lectures, museum tours, fist-moldeling, Gala dinner, convertible cars parade, and the official induction ceremony.
It gave me great pleasure to spend time with champions and friends from the world boxing community. The atmosphere of camaraderie is very special.
Did you know…?
Mexico has worthy representation in the Canastota Hall of Fame with 24 winners: José Sulaimán, Julio César Chávez, Rubén Púas Olivares, Humberto Chiquita González, Pipino Cuevas, Carlos Zárate, Lupe Pintor, Ricardo López, Miguel Canto, Érik Morales, José Angel Butter Naples, Carlos Palomino, Ultiminio Ramos, Vicente Saldívar, Salvador Sánchez, Daniel Zaragoza, Marco Antonio Barrera, Baby Arizmendi, Ignacio Beristáin, Arturo Cuyo Hernández, Rafael Mendoza and Juan Manuel Márquez.
I was with my dad in his home studio when he got a call to officially telling him that he had been elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. After he finished the call, I asked him what his feelings were.
“I really don’t know, mijito. My job in boxing has been and always will be to do everything possible to make it safer and better. It’s all about the fighters, and the focus should always be on them. I was moved by the call and I will be there, but more than this, it`s being able to be there with my champions, and that you and my grandchildren can be with me there.”
That’s how it went. I had the opportunity, with all our love, in the company of his grandson Pepe Toño, to visit my dad at the wall of legends. It was flattering to hear beautiful concepts and remember anecdotes from Don José, without missing the fact that my dad holds the record for the longest speech in the history of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I appreciate your feedback at email@example.com