Boxing Hall of Fame honors Chavez, Tszyu and Tyson

The 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees (l to r) boxing trainer/manager Nacho Beristain, boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, actor/screen writer Sylvester Stallone, boxers Kostya Tszyu and Mike Tyson plus referee Joe Cortez show off their brand new Hall of Fame rings. Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The 22nd Annual International Hall of Fame Weekend, June 9-12th, at Canastota, New York, featured over 20 events, which included a golf tournament, banquet, parade, autograph show, plus an impressive array of boxing greats. On Sunday, the festivities concluded with the formal induction ceremonies honoring the newest Hall of Fame members: three-division champion Julio Cesar Chavez (Mexico), junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu (Russia/ Australia), heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (USA), trainer Ignacio Beristain (Mexico), referee Joe Cortez (USA) and screenwriter Sylvester Stallone (USA).


They also announced the names of the posthumous honorees: bantamweight Memphis Pal Moore, light heavyweight champion Jack Root, and welterweight and middleweight Dave Shade in the Oldtimer Category; promoter A. F. Bettinson in the Non Participant Category; broadcaster Harry Carpenter in the Observer Category; and John Gully in the Pioneer Category. Inductees are voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

Like other grand affairs it was a joyous time. It’s great to see the boxers receive recognition for what they did in preparation for fights and their performances inside the ring. The haters of boxing will always point to the integrity discrepancy between boxing and the other sports; surely boxing’s Hall of Fame standards are far less stringent than those of say Major League Baseball. Why? Because Boxing fans, like no other fans, can set that all aside while acknowledging a boxer’s courage, durability, and at times indestructibility.

Mike Tyson waves to the crowd while holding his daughter Milan during the Parade of Champions ceremonies. Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images


The reason for the above prologue is apparent when you consider the first inductee is Mike Tyson who once labeled himself, “the baddest man on the planet.” Without a doubt he was one of the most intimidating boxers ever.

After being inducted, an emotional Tyson (50-6-0, 44 KOs) paid tribute to Cus D’Amato, his former mentor who became his legal guardian after his mother passed away.

In 1984, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion at the age of 20 after knocking out Trevor Berbick. At times, “Iron Mike” could be the nicest guy on the planet and at a times a menace to society.

Tyson’s response to the announcement: “I am honored to be nominated in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The sport of boxing has given me so much and it is truly a blessing to be acknowledged alongside other historical boxing legends, because they paved the way for me as I hope I have inspired others in this great sport.”







Julio Cesar Chavez was a crowd pleaser, Mexico's numero uno when it comes to being a folk hero.

Considered one of the greatest boxers in history, Julio Cesar Chávez won six world titles in three weight divisions. Over his career, he defeated 15 World champions and finally retired in his 25th year as a professional with a record of 107 wins, 6 losses and 2 draws, 89 knockouts. He holds records for: most successful consecutive defenses of a world title (27), most title fights (37), most title-fight victories (31), and he’s tied with Joe Louis for most title defenses won by knockout (21). He also has the longest undefeated streak in boxing history, 13 years. His record was 89-0-1 going into his first loss to Frankie Randall.

Chavez’s response to the announcement: “I am honored and feel humbled. At this moment in my life, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is very special. I feel great to know that my name will be inscribed with the best of the best, to join some of my heroes and to leave a mark for my family and my country.”

Kostya Tszyu had a record of (259-11) as an amateur and (31-2-0, 25 KOs) as a pro. He was the first champion to unify the junior welterweight division in over 30 years.

Tszyu’s response to the announcement: “This is unbelievably great news! I’m actually speechless. I can’t describe my feelings. My job was to make sure the people enjoyed themselves when they were watching me and I spent all my life doing so. I still continue to be involved in boxing to this day because boxing has been so great to me. To be inducted next to Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Jeff Fenech, who’s a good friend of mine, is a huge, huge honor.”

The list of champions that trainer Nacho Beristain (r) has helped is a very long one.

Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, a Mexico City based trainer and manager, is considered by many to be Mexico’s top trainer. He currently trains the Marquez brothers, Juan Manuel and Rafael, and guided the careers of Daniel Zaragoza, Ricardo Lopez, Gilberto Roman and Ricardo Lopez. His boxers have acquired a reputation for their heart and technical skills.

Beristain’s response to the announcement: “I have no words to express how I am feeling. This is one of the most emotional moments of my life. Thank you so much. I will proudly represent the International Boxing Hall of Fame.”






From boxer to referee, from coach to teacher, Joe Cortez has done most everything in the sport of boxing.

After a good amateur boxing career and winning various Golden Gloves tournaments, in 1963, at the minimum age of 18, Joe Cortez jumped into the pro ranks where he had a record of 18 wins and one defeat. Then, in the early 1970s, he started working as a referee. Over time he became one of Nevada and New York’s preferred boxing referees for world title fights, refereeing over 170. His catchphrase during pre-fight instructions includes: “I’m fair but I’m firm.” Cortez also appeared in the film Rocky Balboa.

Cortez’s response to the announcement: “I’m very touched by this honor. It took a lot of years in boxing to get here, but I love the sport very much. This is the best award and it couldn’t get any greater. The biggest award anyone in boxing – fighter or official – can receive is induction into the most prestigious entity in boxing, the International Boxing Hall of Fame. This is the highlight of my career.”

Yo, Rocky! Nobody could have done a better job of portraying the character, Rocky Balboa, than Sylvester Stallone.

Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone gained worldwide acclaim after starring in the 1976 movie Rocky. After seeing the Muhammad Ali-Chuck Wepner fight in late March of 1975, he was inspired to write the foundation idea for a story about a journeyman boxer. In three days he wrote an interesting script. After that, he went about peddling this script with the intention of playing the lead role. A year later, Rocky was being nominated for 10 Academy Awards to include Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

The first of six Rocky movies ended up winning three Oscars, one for best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing. Over the next 10 years, the Rocky sequels (five in number) thrived at the box office and of course kept renewing the public’s interest in boxing.


The consummate entertainer Sylvester Stallone gives the "Yo Adrienne" cry during his speech at the induction ceremonies at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Stallone’s response to his induction: “It has been my privilege to have been blessed with the ability to write about the incredible courage and commitment of the many thousands of real-life Rockys whom we have watched perform honorably in the ring.”


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