Tyson and Stallone Among Honored at IBHOF Weekend
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (June 16, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Mike Tyson

It was 2011 IBHOF induction time at Canastota, NY. Best acceptance speech was by referee Joe Cortez who thanked several of his fellow inductees like “Iron” Mike Tyson, Sylvester “Sly” Stallone (for movie parts), Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Julio Cesar Chavez and Kostya Tszyu. Then, while walking away he returned to thank his beautiful daughter Cindy, who suffered a serious injury in a car accident and is paraplegic and two other daughters Sandy and Christine. Then his thanked his wife Sylvia and finally long-time contender Gasper “Indian” Ortega who helped raise him was in the audience.

Also on stage were “Irish” Micky Ward, Dickie Ecklund, Jesse James Lejia, Billy Backus, Don King, Bob Arum, Ken Norton, Aaron Pryor, Gene Fullmer, Jeff Fenech, Leon Spinks, Lou Duva, Jake LaMotta and Ruben Olivares.

Stallone probably got the biggest hand next to Tyson from the yuppies he attracted. Stallone remarked he was given a proposal to box with Tyson and he said “whatever I got paid I would put toward my life support”. Tyson started out talking about Cus D’Amato, switching over to Carmen Basilio and when he got to Bobby Steward who introduced him to D’Amato from a youth detention center, he got so emotional he had to walk back to his seat. Tyson seemed overwhelmed with the audience and the award.

Kostya said he wanted his 2 boys not to have it easy growing up and said he looked forward to the day they would be up here getting inducted. Marco Antonio Barrera was on the grounds with the Spanish TV Network obliging whoever with picture together. This writer reminded him of how he pushed Prince Naseem’s Hamed’s face into the turnbuckle in their fight and he got a big smile.

Fans seated under the overhead of the pavilion were told to sit down when all of a sudden fan’s poured into the area. Security and state police had more than a difficult time getting people out of the area. On Sunday the IHOF museum before and after the parade was only open to “certain people” per Showtime. For this writer’s first trip it was quite disappointing.

Under the overhead at the pavilion were numerous officials such as Adalaide Byrd, Robert Byrd, Benjy Estevees, Jr., Tony Weeks, Vic Drakulich, Kenny Bayless , Michael Ortega and Vic deWysocki.

If you wanted to see some of the boxers “close-up” you waited for hours for them to come into Graziano’s Restaurant (host Tony Graziano) which is a fine place that needs a handicap bathroom. George Chuvalo, one of the most popular and gracious of the boxers sat for 15 minutes at our table. Chuvalo never got a shot at the British Empire title. Others who came in were Leon Spinks, Marlon Starling, Aaron Pryor, Ruben Olivares and Iran Barkley.

On Saturday the memorabilia 5 hour event at a local high school was overcrowded. With 2 people to each side doing signings there was only one line the length of the school. Sergio Martinez, Chuvalo, Ortega, Ward, Eckland, Chavez, Azumah Nelson, Fullmer, Cortez and Ortiz were among the boxing people. Ortiz is second to none in signing for the fans. J Russell Peltz as usual had his booth. John Scully and John DiSanto (www.phillyboxinghistory.com) were among attendees. Ruff even found a Ring Magazine edition with a story on him in it (Pernell Whitaker on cover).

Ward and Ecklund were co-grand marshall’s of the parade whose lives were on film in “The Fighter”. A sequel that will have Arturo Gatti and Ward’s fights is rumored in the making! All in all though disorganized at times, it was one of the biggest attended events in memory of most!

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