IBHOF Induction Ceremonies Bittersweet – The International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York has kicked off their 2016 Induction Ceremony this weekend. The festivities run from June 9th to the 12th and the featured inductions of Mexico’s Lupe Pintor, Panama’s Hilario Zapata and Hector “Macho” Camacho are a celebration of their storied careers.
Picture: In Canastota, New York, the flags hang at half-mast in memory of Muhammad Ali.
This year however, the atmosphere is tinged with a more somber air for two reasons. The first is the death of the great Muhammad Ali, obviously a Hall of Famer already enshrined here in Canastota. The second is the theft of six championship belts from the Hall of Fame grounds last November.
The death of Ali has impacted the entire world, and all of the attendees in Canastota this weekend, be they fighters or fans, were touched by the man. The flags outside the Hall of Fame hang at half-mast in memory of “The Greatest.” The IBHOF has also planned several events celebrating Ali’s life, led by an open microphone talk where fans and fighters will be able to share their recollections on Ali. That is set to start at noon on Friday.
The theft of four of Carmen Basilio’s world title belts along with two of Tony Zale’s belts last November shocked the IBHOF to the core. The Canastota police continue to look into the theft and have received help from the FBI. Despite the ongoing investigation, it has been eight months and the much hoped for “break” has not come.
The world of boxing memorabilia is vast, but it is unlikely that the belts can be sold. Collectors of boxing artifacts are a tight knit group of people who are unlikely to aid the thieves.
Check out the IBHOF website.
Canastota is the hometown of Carmen Basilio who emerged from this area of upstate New York to become a world champion in the welterweight and middleweight divisions in the 1950s. He and his family were influential in establishing the IBHOF in this location. Tony Zale preceded Basilio in holding the middleweight title by a few years. The theft of Basilio’s belts in particular open up the possibility of a local angle.
Nevertheless, the IBHOF ceremonies are set to go down this weekend. Do not miss the festivities, but if you do, you can check back here at The Sweet Science for more reports from the scene.
IBHOF Induction Ceremonies Bittersweet