By Paul Upham: The 13th Annual Hall of Fame Induction four day weekend commences on today, Thursday 6th June, in what is expected to be one of the biggest boxing celebrity attendances ever. Despite the Lewis-Tyson fight being held on Saturday night in Memphis, thousands of people are expected to attend the numerous events at and surrounding the Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy and his hard working team have put in many long days and nights to ensure that this year's induction will be even better than previous years.
The Hall of Fame Weekend will feature over 20 exciting events. New inductees to be honoured are three-division champion Jeff Fenech, welterweight king Pipino Cuevas, heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson and British journalist Reg Gutteridge.
The Hall of Fame celebrations will be jam packed in over four days with organisers incorporating the Lewis-Tyson heavyweight clash during the Induction Weekend into the program of events. The highly anticipated fight will be seen by ticket holders at the Induction Banquet and can also be see at Hooligan's Bar in Syracuse.
The Induction week's events will commence today, Thursday and will include a professional boxing show at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights on Friday night. There will be further activities on the Saturday, the weekend culminating with a Parade of Champions, followed by the official Induction Ceremony in the Museum grounds at 2.30pm.
Over 50 boxing stars, including Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Arturo Gatti, Micky Ward, Carmen Basilio, Carlos Ortiz, Aaron Pryor, Jose Torres, Emile Griffith, Ruben Olivares, Gene Fullmer, Ken Norton, Jose Napoles, Alexis Arguello, Kid Gavilan, Ken Buchanan, Angelo Dundee, Lou Duva, George Benton, Billy Backus, Christy Martin, Tony DeMarco, Earnie Shavers, Jimmy Ellis, George Chuvalo, Terry Norris, Howard Davis, Jr., Marlon Starling, Ernie Terrell, Leon Spinks, Jeff Chandler, Gil Clancy, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Don Chargin, Bill Gallo, Gerry Cooney, Henry Cooper, Tony DeMarco, Iran Barkley, Paulie Ayala, Jesse James Leija, Paul Spadafora, Terry Norris, Bert Sugar, Ron Lyle and Simon Brown, are scheduled to participate in weekend festivities.
The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced in May that the New York Police and Fire Departments had been named as Grand Marshals of the 2002 Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions. Ron McNair of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Tom Orlando of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) will be in Canastota to participate in the Parade of Champions.
The bravery of the NYPD and FDNY in the wake of the September 11 tragedies captured the hearts of the world, said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. While this year's parade gives the Hall of Fame the chance to say thank you to the NYPD and FDNY in particular, it also provides the opportunity to say thanks to all fire and police departments across the nation.
The Parade of Champions, set for Sunday at 1:00 p.m., will pass through the streets of Canastota and lead to the grounds of the Hall of Fame Museum prior to the start of the Official Induction Ceremony honouring the new class of inductees.
With the line-up of marching bands and celebrities, this should be our biggest parade ever, said Parade chairperson Charlene Barres. I encourage everyone to bring their American flags.
A Hall of Fame spokeswoman said on Wednesday that tickets are still available to some events, but accommodation is getting a little tight.
Fans wanting more information on the Hall of Fame's 13th Annual Induction
Weekend including assistance in locating accommodation can call the Hall of Fame on 1-315-697-7095.