Luminaries from the boxing world hit North Hollywood when the doors open for the third annual West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Sunday.
The Banquet of Champions event is sold out.
A number of prizefighters from the past and those associated with the world of boxing in different capacities will be honored at the Garland Hotel Event Center. Aside from notable boxers will be promoters, announcers and publicists.
The first ceremony took place in 2015. The group is led by former boxer Rick Faris who is well known in Southern California fight circles.
Those inducted this year will be Frankie Crawford, Paul Banke, Loreto Garza, Albert Davila, Frankie Duarte, Randy Shields, Andy Heilman, Paul Vaden and Oscar Albarado. Also included posthumously will be Pancho Villa and Ernie Lopez.
Several non-boxers inducted this year are Blanca Gutierrez, Dick Enberg, Bill Caplan, Bobby DiPhilippis, and Mickey Davies.
The Garland Hotel Event Center is located at 4222 Vineland Avenue in the North Hollywood area.
Non Boxer Inductees for 2017
Blanca Gutierrez – promoter and business woman from the San Francisco Bay area. She has been a major influence for both male and female boxing in the amateur and pro levels for years. She continues to bring first class boxing promotions in Northern California and has kept the sport vibrant in that area.
Dick Enberg – broadcast announcer who recently retired as the San Diego Padres baseball voice. He also covered UCLA basketball and many other major sports teams. Enberg was also a voice in boxing and voiced the weekly boxing shows from the Olympic Auditorium during the mid-60s. Fans of many sports have enjoyed his professional broadcast style that began in boxing.
Bill Caplan – a publicist for decades his influence on the sport of boxing cannot be measured. He’s truly one of the unsung heroes of the sport and many boxing reporters owe a great debt to him. Fans of the sport may not know Mr. Caplan but those behind the scenes know and respect the publicist who currently works with Golden Boy Promotions. Where would boxing be today without him? He is truly one of the unsung greats.
Bobby DiPhilippis – a promoter out of San Diego he has continued to keep boxing alive in the border city. For decades he’s promoted first class boxing shows including introducing prizefighters from Tijuana to San Diego and vice versa. No one can say an unkind word about the promoter and his shows continue to draw big.
Mickey Davies – was known for being the matchmaker at the Olympic Auditorium from 1965 to 1969 when weekly shows were produced at the Los Angeles venue. It was one of the most significant boxing runs in the country and competed with a rival show at the Inglewood Forum. Davies brought many stars to the venue during his time including “Scrap Iron” Johnson, Mando Ramos and “Irish” Jerry Quarry.
Frankie Crawford – “Irish” Frankie Crawford was a popular figure at the Olympic and fought memorable battles from featherweight to lightweight against Mando Ramos, Jose Pimentel and Sho Saijo for the world title. Crawford, who for a time was managed by actor Robert Conrad, passed away at the young age of 36 in 1982.
Paul Banke – Captured the super bantamweight world title against Mexico’s Daniel Zaragoza in 1990 and had a total of three memorable wars with the Mexican southpaw at the Inglewood Forum. Banke had a crowd pleasing style and all of his fights were sure fire hits. Banke lives in Ontario, Calif. and is a regular at many boxing shows. His legend lives on.
Loreto Garza – The former super lightweight world champion put Sacramento, Calif. on the map as a boxing town. Among those he fought were Vinny Pazienza, Juan Martin Coggi, Frankie Warren and Edwin Rosario. Garza was a great crowd pleaser and when he fought the fans arrived. He only lost twice in his pro career.
Albert Davila – The slick fighting Davila won the bantamweight world title in 1983 and held it until 1986. He trained out of the old Main Street Gym in Los Angeles and was a skilled boxer who was among the top bantamweights in the world for over a decade. Among those he fought were Carlos Zarate, Wilfredo Gomez, Rodolfo Martinez and Lupe Pintor.
Frankie Duarte – Known for his many wars Duarte had many peaks and valleys during his career but was never known for quitting. The battles he had against Alberto Davila, Richie Sandoval, and George Garcia kept those turnstiles turning at the Forum and Olympic Auditorium. He was a big fan favorite during his era.
Randy Shields – For 16 years he fought the very best in the fight game in the welterweight division including Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, Wilfredo Benitez, and Pipino Cuevas. One thing always clear is the man had no fear and one of the best chins in the business. Anybody who could go 12 rounds against Hearns and Cuevas had to have an anvil chin. Shields was a very under-rated boxer for his day.
Andy Heilman – The middleweight fought against some of the best in the world and was never stopped until his last pro fight when he did not answer the bell in October 1970. But before that, he exchanged blows with a number of sterling middleweights such as Emile Griffith, Andy Kendall, and Charley Shipes from 1962 to 1970.
Paul Vaden – The San Diego super welterweight was one of two remarkable fighters from the same area. Both held world titles and showed that the coastline city could produce elite prizefighters too. Vaden and Terry Norris were a hot item and when they met in 1995 it was electric. Vaden was a tall 154-pounder who clashed with Shibata Flores, Keith Holmes and Vince Pettaway.
Oscar Albarado – Known as “Shotgun” Albarado the Texan wasn’t tall but packed serious firepower in that small frame. Among his victims and foes were Ryu Sorimachi, Koichi Wajima, Armando Muniz and Adolph Pruitt. All were top challengers in the super welterweight and higher divisions. Albarado fought out of Uvalde, Texas and was no stranger to fans at the Olympic Auditorium in the 1970s.
Pancho Villa – although he bore the name of a famous Mexican revolutionary he was a Filipino great who was the first Asian to win a world championship in 1923. The flyweight gem only fought once in California and it was his very last bout that took place in San Francisco. It was a non-title bout against Jimmy McLarnin. A few days after the fight, on July 14, 1925, Villa died from an infection at age 23. His real name was Francisco Guilledo.
Ernie Lopez – The welterweight known as “Indian Red” Lopez drew large crowds for his fights at both the Olympic Auditorium and Sports Arena in Los Angeles and numerous fights in Las Vegas. From 1963 to 1987 the welterweight redhead fought many of the best such as Hedgemon Lewis, Jose Napoles, Armando Muniz and Emile Griffith. Lopez was the older brother of Danny “Little Red” Lopez who would reign in the featherweight division. Ernie Lopez passed away in 2009 but many still remember his battles in the boxing ring.
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