Iron Mike and Rocky inducted into Boxing HOF
“The baddest man on the planet” was at a loss for words, and “Rocky” was well-versed upon induction into the Boxing HOF in Canastota, NY, yesterday. Mike Tyson was the youngest champion at 20 years old in 1986, a year after his life-long trainer Cus D’Amato died. He became the WBF and WBC unified heavyweight champion in 1987, and regained the belts briefly in 1996. He recently did Argentina DWTS and a pigeon documentary on Animal Planet. Rocky got acclaim for its great writing (2006 awarded the Boxing Writers Association of America award for “Lifetime Cinematic Achievement in Boxing.”), and now is officially enshrined as the greatest boxing movie of all-time. Sylvester Stallone wrote and played Rocky, and released five sequels spanning from the late-1970’s to the late-1990’s. Mexican champ Julio Cesar Chavez, Russian-born junior welterweight Kostya Tszyu, Mexican trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, and referee Joe Cortez also were inducted. Julio Cesar Chavez, Mexico native, grew up in an abandoned railroad car with five sisters and four brothers, and had an amazing 88 KO’s and 32 title fight wins across three-division belts. Chavez retired with an amazing 107-6-2 record. Read the excerpt, courtesy espn:
“I’ve got to be goofy about this or I’ll get emotional up here,” Tyson warned before trying to honor the late trainer Cus D’Amato, who became his legal guardian after Tyson’s mother died and taught him the finer points of the sweet science in a gym in Catskill, N.Y., just a 2½-hour drive from the Hall of Fame.
“All this stuff started when I met Cus, and Bobby Stewart (a social worker and boxing fan who introduced Tyson to D’Amato),” Tyson said. “I was in reform school because I was always robbing people.
“All my life I watched these guys. I look at them different,” Tyson said as he looked around at a dais that included hometown heroes Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus, Jake LaMotta, Leon Spinks, George Chuvalo, and Marvin Hagler, among others. “Why would I want to be like these guys I always say. I don’t know.
Tyson paused briefly — the crowd erupted in “Come on Mike!” — and then he tried in vain to continue.
“Oh, man,” Tyson said. “I have to take my time with this because there’s other guys up here, you know. When I met Cus, we talked a little bit about money, but we wanted to be great fighters.
“Hey guys, I can’t even finish this stuff. Thank you. Thank you,” Tyson said, then sat down
“I’ve never pretended to be a boxer. I don’t possess those skills,” said Stallone, who skipped the annual pre-induction parade because of security concerns. “What I do think I have is an understanding of what goes on outside the ring. Outside the ring is sometimes maybe an even bigger struggle than what goes on inside the ring, and I was able to capture that. Then I believe that you can identify more with the fighter.”
Stallone paused as the crowd erupted again.
“More than that, you also realize that our life is a constant battle,” Stallone said. “Sometimes I write things that may seem a little sentimental, but I truly believe it’s not how hard you can hit — it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward because that’s really what makes the difference in your life.”
“There is special reverence for me,” Stallone said. “They are the greatest athletes in the world. They are our connection to the past and our way to the future. They are the guys that go in there and take the blows and show that if you really put it out there on the line, you are a champion. You may not be the champion of the world, but you’ll be the champion of your life.
“And Yo Adrian, I did it!” Stallone shouted in closing, repeating one of the more famous lines from the movie.
“My induction into the Hall of Fame is not for me, it’s for all of you and all of Mexico,” Chavez said through an interpreter in a brief speech.