Tuesday, June 29, 2010
California Boxing Hall of Fame 2010
This past weekend, at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California, some of the best boxers of the past were honored and recognized by the California Boxing Hall of Fame, and the boxing community came out to celebrate with them. The mood was festive as the boxers, their families and friends, as well as the fans, were on hand to witness their favorite fighter being immortalized in California’s Hall of Fame.
Some like Rick Farris and Tony Cerda Jr., were born and bred here in the Golden State, while others like Art Hafey came here from far away lands to stake their claim in California’s long and rich boxing history. They trained in places like the Main Street Gym or the Teamsters Gym and they fought in legendary venues such as, the Olympic Auditorium, the Hollywood Legion Stadium, the Forum, the Los Angeles Sports Arena, Wrigley’s Field, the great casinos of Las Vegas and in Madison Square Garden in New York. Others, like Oklahoma’s Sean O’Grady fought here briefly but made their mark by showing great courage in their ring battles, as was the case for seventeen year old O’Grady who came to Los Angeles in 1976 to face Danny “:Little Red” Lopez at the Forum. He lost that battle when the fight was stopped after the fourth round but showed the stuff fighters are made of by taking the fight to Lopez. He proved he had the right stuff when in 1981 he wrested the WBA Lightweight title from Hilmer Kenty. Sean’s award was accepted by his friend and attorney Tom Ray. Tom Ray was also O’Grady’s cornerman.
California’s own Golden Age was represented by Enrique Bolanos, who’s boxing record reads like a veritable who’s who of one of booing’s greatest era, fighting the likes of Manuel Ortiz, Ike Williams, Art Aragon, Joey Barnum, Maxie Docusen, Jimmy Carter, Chico Vejar and so many more. His induction award was graciously accepted by his wife Ruby.
Legendary trainer Johnny Forbes, who passed way in 1971, received his honor posthumously. Forbes had a great stable of fighters that included Carlos and Al Chavez, Gil Cadilli, Keeny Teran, Cali Martinez and Vince Delgado, to name a few.
Rick Farris received his 2010 induction as a fighter but he may someday receive another award for his dedication to preserving and writing about local boxing history. Rick was a fighter’s fighter and he still continues to fight, only now he’s fighting to ensure that boxers of the past are not forgotten. He fights for their legacy.
Canadian Art Hafey, who knows a thing or two about being forgotten, has had a great year, starting with Dan Hanley’s “The Featherweight Wars ”, last years premier of the ”Toy Tiger” and culminating with his induction into the Hall of Fame. It’s a well deserved honor.
Lupe Aquino, the epitome of a humble man sated simply “I’m a man of few words” gave his thanks and left the podium. John Beyrooty ,on the other hand left no stoned unturned in accepting his honors and may very well be back in the near future to accept a newly created award for the longest and most drawn acceptance speech in any award, boxing or otherwise. Referee Pat Russell, a class act, accepted his award with his usual aplomb and was enjoying himself and interacting with fans. Russell, who’s name is synonymous with integrity is a referee’s referee.
The families of Junior Robles, Paul Palomino (Brother of Carlos Palomino) and Bryon Lindsay were there to accept the posthumous awards. All three were tragically killed on March 14, 1980, when, as part of a team that was headed to Warsaw, Poland, their plane crashed near the airport killing all 77 aboard the plane. It was a somber and touching moment as they recalled their loved ones.
There are so many personal stories for each and every fighter. There can be no greater honor than being inducted into the Hall of Fame for doing something that you loved. Especially a sport that can demand so much from an athlete. Boxing is a sport like no other and in my eyes boxer’s stand the tallest, at any weight.
Along with the honorees that were on hand to receive their induction were local boxing legends; Mando Muniz, Carlos Palomino, Bobby Chacon, Danny Lopez, Frankie Baltazar Jr., Ruben Castillo, Vince Delgado, Rodolfo “El Gato” Gonzales, Gwen Adair, Tony Cerda Sr. and Frank Baltazar Sr. and so many more.
A special thanks to Don Fraser and Frank Baltazar Sr. for a job well done. The 2010 California Boxing Hall of Fame was a success.
The Class of 2010 California Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees
Brad Pye Jr.
Ray De La Fuentes
Tony Cerda Jr
Young Corbett III
Congratulations to all the 2010 Inductees. Your legacy is preserved