Arrived yesterday afternoon. We stopped at Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown NY on the way up. The GPS gave me the slowest possible route. My wife is fun to hang with so it wasn't bad.
Awoke at 0645 to get ready for the 5k run. Arrived on time ,got my race kit, got to the start of The race.
Holy S--t! What a crowd! My wife brought our bulldog , Mickey Walker, and the boxers loved him. Rosie Perez,John Ruiz,Glen Johnson,Mickey Ward ,Andre Ward and Calzhage's little dad all took pictures with him.
My wife and Rosie are Instagram friends now.
I started the race strong,too strong. I was huffing and puffing after the first turn. Canastota is such a beautiful small town, I tried to enjoy the scenery but it was hard. I was neck and neck with Ivan Calderone until he pulled out with some sort of injury. He was moving his arm so I have no idea why he stopped. The fans on the sideline were great providing times and cups of water.
I slowed down and paced myself and heard to guys talking right behind me. Sounded familiar.
It was John Ruiz and Mickey Ward. I'm staying right with them ! I ran from the 3 k mark until the Finish line with them. What an experience. What nice guys. Line of the race by Ruiz , " the 5 k race gets longer every year!"
On the final 400 yards Mickey Ward turns to Ruiz and says. , " Ready?" And they both take off to the finish line. I am one stride behind them and have photos of myself crossing the finish line with them.
The funny thing is our faces. They are happy and smiling. My eyes are closed and I'm am red faced.
What the hell. What a photo and what an experience!
After the race I meet Andre Ward, what a nice guy and a gentleman. He talks with us for about 5 minutes,which is a huge amount of time considering the location and fans. He is taller then I thought. I'm 6 ft 1 and we were eye to eye. He asked who named our dog , he was impressed. The pictures are great. My legs are killing me.
Time for some coffee,a hot shower and we will head back to the hall of fame for some ringside lectures and to enjoy the hall. I can't wait for the cocktail gala and banquet dinner. I will update later. I'm gonna find the Commish this afternoon.
Day 2. Mid Afternoon.
We arrive at the Hall of Fame. It is filled with plaques,pictures ,robes,boots,videos, bandages worn by boxers from fights , replicas of the boxers fists, championship belts. My wife loved Ken Buchanan's tartan robe. I thought of Radam G when I read a clip on the Boston Tar Baby ,Sam Langford. There is so much history in the building. You can spend a good 4 hours in there. I can mention so much more but I won't ,you guys must go and see for yourselves .
A ring is set up outside and they are giving lectures and demonstrations. Eric morales is in the ring and is giving an interview to the crowd. He says he is definitely retired. He came to support Oscar .
I missed the Trinidad ,DLH , Calzhage speeches from the day before but a guy at food tent fills me in and shows me some video. We order some Carmine Basilio sausage and peppers and soak in the atmosphere. Al Bernstein is right here and is very approachable and will answer any questions. A very nice man.
Later in the day , we get to Greystone Castle for the cocktail reception. Everyone is dressed nice and the venue is really cool. Boxers everywhere . We head to the 2nd level and only a few people are up there. An attractive lady starts chatting up my wife about her dress while I get a ringside beer to cool off. I notice these few people are the Calzhages, it's Joe's wife chatting it up with my wife. I get introduced Joe is polite but goes off with his son to talk in the corner. Enzo remembers me from the 5k run and talked about everything for at least 10 minutes. From the Lacy fight,to Gavin Rees ,to Froch, to my training, amateur style vs pro style, Gleason's gym ,living in Wales and more .
I run into Zab Judah, bump into Leon Spinks, admire Richard Steel's tux. Keeping an eye out for the Commish . The place is packed . I decide to get some fresh air and check on my truck outside. I come back in and my wife says she he been chatting it up with the Commissioners wife and she will introduce me. I finally see the Commish, doing an interview with Mr Gerry Cooney and referee Christoldoulou. Randy Gordon and his wife are a beautiful couple and very sweet people. It was a pleasure meeting you Commish.