Tampa, Florida - May 22, 2009 - The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame has announced the inaugural class of 2009 inductees. Living inductees include: heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas, three division world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., longtime middleweight contender Florentino Fernandez, trainer/manager Angelo Dundee, Steve Canton, and Jimmy Williams, promoter Tuto Zabala Sr., referees Brian Garry and Max Parker Jr., and in the non-participant category, Mark Beiro, Johnny Bos, Bobby Goodman, Rick Folstad, Dr. Allan Fields, and Dr. Ferdie Pacheco. The Florida Hall of Fame also released the names of the posthumous inductees: world champions Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Ralph Dupas, and Willie Pastrano, historians Hank Kaplan and Irv Abramson, promoter Chris Dundee, and Marty Cohen, in the non-participant category.
An inaugural kickoff dinner will be held on June 27, 2009, at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, in Tampa. All living inductees are expected to be in attendance, as well as Phil Alessi, Pete Fernandez, and Terry Trekas, who will be receiving special awards, at that time, from the Florida Hall of Fame.
An induction weekend is being planned for November 2009, at which time, inductees will receive a Hall of Fame Ring, and Plaque, and be on hand to participate in many activities with the public.
Angelo Dundee, Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Willie Pastrano, Hank Kaplan, and Chris Dundee have all previously been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in Canastota, New York, and Bobby Goodman is being inducted two weeks prior to the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame dinner, in June.
The Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel will have a special room rate of $69.00 per night, and reservations can be made by calling them direct at (813) 223-1351.
Tickets for the dinner will be $75.00 per person, or $100.00 per couple. For making dinner reservations or for more information on the events planned contact the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame president Walter “Butch” Flansburg at 813-884-7711 or e-mail: flabhof.aol.com. The web site is: www.floridaboxinghalloffame.com
STEVE CANTON TO BE INDUCTED INTO
FLORIDA BOXING HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2009
3833 Maxine St.
Fort Myers, Florida 33901-8522
On behalf of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, I want to personally congratulate you on being chosen to be inducted in this, our inaugural year, 2009. As you know, the state of Florida has long been one of the leading states in the country in regards to the sport of boxing. Creating The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, to honor those who have had a longtime commitment and success within our sport is long overdue. We are proud to be part, and to have you as a part, of the realization of this dream.
We will have our inaugural kickoff dinner on Saturday, June 27'h, 2009, at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, 111 West Fortune Street, Tampa, Florida 33602. Cocktails will start at 6:00 PM and dinner will be served at 7:30 PM. Inductees who are being honored, and a guest, will receive an excellent dinner choice of either a London broil or Lemon Pepper Chicken, (or a Vegetarian meal, if requested). Entertainment will be provided. We will have a silent auction to help raise funds for the hall. There will be a special hotel rate of $69.00 per night for other out of town people coming in for the event.
We are presently looking for a building to house the Hall of Fame and hope to have one in place in the very near future.
We are planning an induction weekend in November 2009. At that time, all inductees will receive a Hall of Fame Ring, and a Plaque. We will have many other activities, such as a memorabilia show, Celebrity Workout Sessions, "Ringside lectures", question and answer sessions, and photograph and autograph sessions with the inductees. We will keep you informed as plans develop. Again, congratulations and best regards,
Sincerely, Walter "Butch" Flansburg, President
Florida Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend Highlights--Class of 2009
ADDITIONAL HALL OF FAME VIDEOS ARE UNDER "VIDEO" SECTION.
Luis Manuel Rodriguez. Born in Cuba on June 17, 1937, Rodriguez is considered by many to be one of the greatest welterweights of all time. His four fights with Emile Griffith were all extremely close. Rodriguez was unbeaten in 36 fights before losing a split-decision to Griffith in 1960, in a non-title fight. His style was so appealing that Muhammad Ali adopted many of his moves when the two trained together at the Fifth Street Gym, in Miami Beach. In 1963, Rodriguez won the welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Griffith. Six months later, fighting in Madison Square Garden, Griffith won his title back with a split decision win. In their fourth and final fight, Griffith retained his crown, again by split decision. Griffith’s greatest margin of victory over Rodriguez was three rounds. Rodriguez finished with a career record of 107-13, with 49 KO’s. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997. He died in 1996, at the age of 59.
Ralph Dupas.One of 11 children born to a New Orleans fisherman, Dupas turned pro at the age of 14 and was taken to Miami to train by Angelo Dundee. A win over Armand Savoie in 1953 moved Dupas into the rankings and he was the top-ranked lightweight in the world by 1955. In 1957 he challenged Joe Brown for the title but lost by an eighth-round technical knockout. Moving up to welterweight, he defeated future middleweight champ Joey Giardello in 1961, but lost in a title shot to Emile Griffith the following year. Dupas, a close friend of IBHOF member Willie Pastrano, won the light-middleweight championship in 1963 with a 15-round decision over Denny Moyer. He finished with a record of 106-23-6, with 19 KO’s.
Another New Orleans native and a good friend of Ralph Dupas, Pastrano was also trained by Angelo Dundee. Fighting out of Miami Beach just like Dupas, he boxed in every division from welterweight to heavyweight. Turning pro at 16, he was a smooth fighter with quick hands who would often spar with stablemate Muhammad Ali early in Ali’s career. Pastrano won the light-heavyweight championship when he out-pointed Harold Johnson. He successfully defended his title twice, stopping Gregorio Peralta of Argentina, and Terry Downs of England. He lost his crown when he was stopped by Jose Torres in nine rounds, tasting the canvas for the only time in his career when he was dropped by a left hook to the liver in round 6. A 2001 inductee of the IBHOF, Pastrano finished with a record of 62-13-8, with 14 KO’s.
Born on March 6, 1936, in Santiago de Cuba, Florentino “The Ox” Fernandez was a left-hook artist who fled to Miami Beach when professional boxing was outlawed in his home country. Following a string of knockouts, Fernandez earned a shot at middleweight champion Gene Fullmer. Fighting in Ogden, Utah in August 1961, he lost a split decision to Fullmer, and was never given a rematch. Often appearing on TV on fight cards promoted by Chris Dundee, Fernandez became a fan favorite, with most of his fights ending with either Fernandez or his opponent being stopped. In one of his most famous fights, he was stopped by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter just seconds into the opening round of their fight in 1962, but a year later he rebounded to stop future world light-heavyweight champion Jose Torres in five rounds. He finished with a record of 50-16-1 with 43 KO’s.
Undefeated with a record of 24-0-1, Thomas got his heavyweight title shot against WBC champion Tim Witherspoon on August 31, 1984, in Las Vegas. Known for his solid chin, a great left jab, and his pink boxing trunks, Thomas boxed his way to the heavyweight championship by a majority decision. Ten months later, he defended his title against ex-champion Mike Weaver, stopping Weaver with a single punch in the eighth round. Thomas lost the WBC title to Trevor Berbick, in March 1986, by a decision. In a comeback attempt in May 1987 against champion Mike Tyson, Thomas went down in the sixth round for the first and only time in his career. Though Thomas beat the count, the fight was over. His final record was 43-7-1 with 34 KO’s. Thomas now works as a counselor, and has long been active with his organization, project PINK (Pride In Neighborhood Kids), in Orlando
Wilfredo Vazquez Sr.
Born in Puerto Rico, Vazquez didn’t start boxing until he was 18, making his pro debut on Jan. 29, 1981, losing a four-rounder by decision. But it wasn’t until May 18, 1996 that Vasquez really reached the record books. Fighting WBA featherweight champion Eloy Kiki Rojas in Las Vegas, Vazquez was trailing on all scorecards when he dropped Rojas twice in the eleventh round, the referee stepping in to stop the fight. With that victory, he became one of the few fighters in the world to win world titles in three divisions (bantamweight, super-bantam and featherweight). He was also the first boxer in history to win three different divisions under the umbrella of the same organization when he became the WBA featherweight champion. He finished his career with a record of 56-9-2 with 41 KO’s.
There’s not much you can say about Angelo Dundee that hasn’t already been said. He’s one of the few trainers in boxing who can boast of being a household name. A trainer for world champions like Carmen Basilio, Muhammad Ali, and Sugar Ray Leonard, he has also been in the corner with world champions such as Willie Pastrano, Jimmy Ellis, Pinklon Thomas, Ralph Dupas, and Sugar Ramos. He was in George Foreman’s corner in 1994, when Foreman won the heavyweight title from then undefeated Michael Moorer. The Boxing Writers Association of America named Dundee its manager of the year in 1968 and 1979. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1992.
Steven J. Canton
Steve Canton has been involved in every aspect of boxing for more than 52 years, or since he was a small boy. Along with his own successful amateur and professional boxing careers, he has promoted shows and been a matchmaker for fights and fighters all over the world. Along with his work in the corner, he has worked as a ring announcer, television commentator, judge, referee, and timekeeper. Considered a world-class cutman and trainer, he has worked with some of the best fighters in the world. For seven years he co-hosted a popular Las Vegas-based boxing radio talk show with James “Smitty” Smith, and for several years he wrote a monthly Florida boxing column for Flash/Update. Canton is well respected in the boxing community as a historian, is a proud member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a voting member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame that elects new inductees, in both the modern and old-timer categories. He was instrumental in arranging the first internet broadcast of a boxing event. He was also involved in the promotion of the first casino boxing in Florida, and the first pay-per-view boxing event in the Bahamas.
For more than 60 years, Jimmy Williams has been one of the most highly respected teachers of the sweet science. A professional dancer by trade, Williams was born in Florida, moved to New York, and returned to Florida, where he‘s been a Tampa resident for 39 years. Now 81 and still going strong, Williams is the man behind former world light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, teaching Tarver the fundamentals of boxing going back to his amateur days. Some of the other fighters taught by Williams include Cornelius Boza Edwards, Brian Mitchell, and John “The Beast” Mugabi.
Along with bringing big-time boxing to South Florida and opening the famous Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, Dundee was responsible for breaking some barriers that needed to come down in the fight game. In a career that spanned six decades, Dundee promoted hundreds of fights, including eight world championships. Among the fighters he promoted were Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Archie Moore, and George Foreman. One of his most famous promotions was the championship fight won by Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), who stopped Sonny Liston on Feb. 25, 1964, in Miami Beach. In 1952, Dundee promoted what is believed to have been the first interracial bout in Florida when Kid Gavilan of Cuba defended his welterweight title against Bobby Dykes. Dundee was inducted into the IBHOF in 1994. He passed away at the age of 91, in 1998.
Tuto Zabala Sr.
A Miami-based boxing promoter and manager, Tuto worked with more than 50 fighters over 40 years, including many champions and top contenders.
A Cuban, Zabala fled his country in 1961 and after several odd jobs he became a boxing promoter in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1980 he relocated to Miami where he went to work for Muhammad Ali Professional Sports, Inc., though he did continue promoting fights in Puerto Rico and continued to do what he could to help Puerto Rican fighters. Among the fighters Zabala promoted were Alfredo Escalera, Angel Espada, Miguel “Happy“ Lora, Wilfredo Vasquez Sr., Pedro Miranda, and Sammy Serrano. In all, he was involved in a dozen world title fights.
When the movie makers needed some sound advice on making a boxing picture for the big screen, they usually called Hank Kaplan down in South Florida to make sure they got things right. Considered one of the world’s foremost boxing historians, no one knew or loved the fight game better than Hank Kaplan. And no one could match his collection of boxing memorabilia, which included photos, boxing articles and books dating back to the 1800’s. His knowledge of boxing history earned him the nickname, “Lord of the Ring.“ Founder and editor of the Boxing Digest, Kaplan worked as a boxing consultant for ESPN, HBO and Showtime, and served on the International Boxing Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. But being on the committee prevented anyone from nominating Kaplan. It wasn’t until 2006, the year before he passed away, that he volunteered to step down so he could be nominated and inducted into the IBHOF.
A native New Yorker who retired to Florida, Abramson was a fighter’s best friend going back to the days he was a gunner on a B-25 during World War II, and staged fights on military bases. Playing a big role in the formation of the Florida State Athletic Commission, Abramson helped establish a medical plan for Florida boxers, staged fund raisers for needy fighters, and helped down-and-out fighters find jobs. Among the fighters helped by Abramson were former champions Beau Jack, whom he found shining shoes in a Miami hotel, and Kid Gavilan. Founder of the National Boxing Association, Abramson served as its non-salaried president for 18 years.
Coming out of West Tampa, Beiro started his announcing career at a young age, doing play-by-play for the West Tampa Little League. He must have been pretty good because it wasn’t long before he was recruited to do play-by-play at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. His announcing career includes doing wrestling play-by-play and becoming known as the “Voice of Jai Alai” at the Tampa Jai Ali Fronton, reporting all the action on several bay area radio stations. But it was in the boxing ring that he got his big break. Doing the announcing for some of the bigger fights all over the world, he was hired by the producers of BattleBots. The rest is history.
Cohen did a little bit of everything in the boxing world. Along with being an amateur fighter at the age of 13, he was also a promoter, a manager, a trainer, a judge and, maybe most important, he was a friend of the fight game. Along with managing and promoting such fighters as Michael Dokes and Hector Camacho, he served as a vice president with both the WBC and the USBA. Founder and chairman of the IBC, he was also a member of the Homestead Boxing Commission. At the age of 91, he received one of boxing’s most prestigious awards when he was presented the James J. Walker Award for Long and Meritorious Service to boxing by the Boxing Writers Association of America. How much did Marty love boxing? When he was 18, he and a buddy went to Miami and hopped a banana boat to Havana to see the Jack Johnson - Jess Willard heavyweight championship fight, on April 5, 1915.
Matchmaker extraordinaire with his Fu Manchu moustache and dark shades, Bos has always been one of boxing’s true characters. Growing up a boxing fan in Brooklyn, NY, before moving to Florida in 1989, he became a writer for Boxing World and Boxing International before turning to matchmaking in 1977. It didn’t take long before he discovered he was pretty good at matching fighters. Some of the matches he put together include Azumah Nelson versus Wilfredo Gomez in 1984, James “Bonecrusher” Smith versus Marvis Frazier in 1986, and Gerry Cooney versus Larry Holmes in 1982. A matchmaker for Main Events, he also arranged fights for Frank Bruno, Howard Davis Jr., Evander Holyfield, and Mike Tyson.
One of boxing’s most highly respected executives, Goodman has worked as a matchmaker, promoter, publicist and manager for more than 50 years. His honors include being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this year (2009) in Canastota, NY, (where his father, Murray, is already a member). Goodman recently agreed to join Square Ring Promotions as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining up with SRP, Goodman served as vice-president of boxing operations and public relations for Don King Productions. The former head of Madison Square Garden Boxing, Goodman helped develop many champions, including James “Buddy” McGirt, Aaron Davis, Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson, and Tracy Harris Patterson.
A former amateur and professional fighter, Folstad has been involved in boxing for over 43 years as a fighter, promoter, trainer, cornerman and journalist. His boxing columns have won several writing awards, including three first-place awards from the Florida Press Club for “general excellence in sports writing,” while writing for the Naples Daily News. His piece on club fighters for the Rocky Mountain News was named “best sports story of the year,“ in 1998 by both the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists. A 17-year Florida resident, his boxing features and columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, including the Palm Beach Post, the Washington Times, the Toledo Blade, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the Knoxville News-Sentinel. A long-time contributor to TheSweetScience.com, his first book, a successful boxing novel called, “Cornered,” was published in 2008.
Dr. Allan Fields
A resident of Hollywood, Fla., Fields has been a surgeon since 1973, specializing in general and pelvic surgery. The attending physician at Sinai Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Dr. Fields has been involved in sports medicine his entire career. His resume and list of honors is long and impressive and includes serving as team physician to the USA Olympic Team (Florida 1996) and serving as chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for the Florida State Athletic Association. A member of the USA Olympic Boxing Committee, he was vice-president of the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians, and was named Physician of the Year, in 2004, by the AAPRP, he was also chief physician for both the Florida Kickboxing and Karate Association, and the Florida Gold Coast Boxing Association.
Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
Born in Ybor City in Tampa, Dr.Pacheco (also known as the “Fight Doctor”) has been a part of boxing history since the early 1960’s. That’s when he began working with Muhammad Ali, who was still going by the name “Cassius Clay,“ while training at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach. A cornerman for several world champions, Dr. Pacheco was also a personal physician who became a boxing analyst in the late 1970’s for several networks, including Showtime. Along with being an award-winning artist, Pacheco is the author of several books, plays, screenplays, and short stories. Among his books is his autobiography, “Blood in My Coffee.“ He now lives in Miami.
After more than 25 years as a referee, Garry officially retired from the ring in January 2009, ending a career that saw him officiate more than 1,300 pro bouts, including 59 world title fights. Along with refereeing in 33 different cities in his home state of Florida, Garry has worked as the third man in the ring in five continents and 22 countries. Some of the fighters he’s been in the ring with include Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Roberto Duran, Roy Jones Jr., Oliver McCall, Alexis Arguello, Tommy Morrison, and Winky Wright. Considered to be one of the best referees in the world, he was listed as being one of the top 50 ref’s worldwide by Ring Magazine in 1998-99. He was named the National Boxing Association’s Referee of the Year in 2004.
Max Parker Jr.
Parker traveled the world “calling fights,” as he liked to tell it. Over his 22 years as a referee, he called hundreds of fights, sharing the ring with fighters like Marco Antonio Barrera, Reggie Johnson, Saoul Mamby, Antonio Tarver, Junior Jones, and Roy Jones Jr. He was a member of the NBA, IBF, and the WBU, working championship bouts for all those organizations, as well as “calling fights” for the WBC, WBA, and IBO. Along the way, he also served as the Florida Boxing Commission’s assistant executive director. “It was an honor and a pleasure working with Max over the years,” said fellow referee and Hall of Fame Inductee, Brian Garry. “Our bond is for life.”
Involved in the fight game since 1967, Alessi has promoted fights in places like New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, London, Atlantic City, Nashville and Philadelphia, along with his hometown of Tampa. In all, Alessi Promotions has put on more than 300 fight cards, more than 150 national television broadcasts and more than two dozen championship bouts. Some of the fighters he’s promoted include John “The Beast” Mugabi, Marlon Starling, Bobby Czyz, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Edwin Rosario, Clint Jackson, and James Tillis. A third-generation resident of Tampa and the operator of his family’s long-standing bakery, Alessi had a reputation for honesty and professionalism in the boxing world. “Alessi Promotions can hold its collective head high,“ wrote Randy Gordon, former editor-in-chief of Ring magazine. “It is a finely-tuned team of professionals the likes of which I’ve yet to find an equal in this sport.” Ferdie Pacheco, the Fight Doctor, once said of Alessi, “He‘s one of the few promoters the networks can take at his word. They love to work with him.”
An amateur boxer at 13, Fernandez turned pro at the young age of 17. One of the fondest memories of his pro career was scoring a seventh round TKO over Bud Harris in Savannah, Georgia on April 3, 1965 on the undercard of the great Sugar Ray Robinson. After leaving the pro ranks, he stayed away from the fight game for several years before returning to the ring in 1995 as a trainer. It wasn‘t long before he and his wife decided to promote fights. Starfights Productions, Inc., was born in April 2001, promoting such fighters as former lightweight champ Nate Campbell, and top contender Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry. Some 60 boxing shows later, Fernandez is still going strong in the fight business, recently opening the Fight Factory gym in Tampa, where he trains several fighters, and offers boxing fitness classes.
became a boxing promoter in 2001 after attending boxing shows he and his buddies didn’t think were very good, with mismatches and poor fights. Challenged by his buddies to see if he could do better, Trekas took on the challenge, and eight years and about 30 boxing shows later, he’s still at it. He has taken a little time off recently because he’s been busy with former lightweight champ Nate Campbell - who he advises and co-promotes - and he’s been doing site coordinator work for some of the top promoters in the world, like Don King and Gary Shaw. He’s been involved in some of the Tampa Bay area’s larger promotions over the past few years, including Antonio Tarver - Roy Jones Jr. III, Winky Wright - Ike Quartey, for Golden Boy Promotions, and the Antonio Tarver - Clinton Woods light-heavyweight championship fight.
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