Honorees such as Vitali Klitschko, Andre Ward, and Bernard Hopkins will all be in attendance at the 87th annual Boxing Writers Association of America's awards dinner June 6, 2012 at the Copacabana in New York City.That is a pretty impressive lineup by any measure, but the room will be filled with many other stars both past and present.
Andre Ward has won an Olympic Gold medal, professional world titles, and the Showtime Super Six Super middleweight tournament. For the unbeaten Ward the accomplishments keep growing. His latest milestone will come at the Copacabana in New York City this June 6, when he receives the 2011 Sugar Ray Robinson "Fighter of the Year" award from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
For the unbeaten Ward this award ranks with the rest. And what makes it extra special is that his mentor and long time trainer Virgil Hunter, will be honored that same evening as the "Trainer of the Year."
Reflecting on his good fortune, Ward had this to say. "I want to thank God for giving me the strength to put in the work year after year to get to this point. I also want to thank my manager James Prince, my promoters Antonio Leonard and Dan Goossen, everyone who is a part of team Ward, as well as all my family, friends, and loyal fans who have been behind me all these years" Ward 28, of Oakland, Calif., said. "This award is just as much for them as it is for me.
"Even in the midst of receiving this tremendous award, Team Ward is not going to let up. In 2012 and beyond we're going to push forward and God - willing, we can be considered for these awards every year. It's easy to get comfortable at a time like this, but I can assure everybody that I'm going to continue to put in the work to be the best that I can be. I'm going to stay humble, keep God first and, with that, the best is yet to come."
By a vote of the officers and the board of directors of the Boxing Writers Association of America, brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have been chosen to receive the James A. Farley award for "Honesty and Integrity in Boxing." They will be honored at the 87th Annual BWAA Awards Dinner, June 6, 2012 in New York City.
Professionals since 1996, the Klitschko brothers have conducted themselves with class and dignity both inside and outside of the ring. They have served as exemplary role models.
The Klitschko's are the only world champions in history to have attained doctorate degrees. Both are fluent in several languages.
Inside the ring their feats rank amongst the greatest in heavyweight history. Vitali 44-2 (40), holds the WBC heavyweight belt. Wladimir 57-3 (50,) is the WBA, IBF, and WBO champion.
<p >Outside the ring the Klitschko's have established themselves as first class humanitarians. In addition to the Klitschko Brothers Foundation, they are heavily involved in the Unesco Program for Children in need and the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation. The Klitschko Brothers have given back to the community by sponsoring charity and community outreach projects.
The Klitschko's have tried to help the people of Ukraine through the social arena as well. In fact, Vitali has twice run for mayor of Kiev, having campaigned on an anti corruption platform.
To the Klitschko's credit, they have not engaged in any of the behavioral antics which reflect poorly on boxing. They have shown remarkable restraint in this regard when the instinctive thing would have been to retaliate.As a result, they have diffused potential harmful situations from escalating.
Confirming their attendance at the event as well are former world lightweight champion Carlos Ortiz, former middleweight king Vito Antuofermo, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Mark Breland, 2008 United States Olympian and unbeaten pro Sadam Ali, former junior lightweight champion Tracy Harris Patterson, lightweight contender Hank Lundy, and unbeaten featherweight Patrick Hyland.
For Ortiz the BWAA dinner conjures up warm memories. It was 45 years ago when he was honored as it's "Fighter of the Year" on the way to a Hall of Fame career.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the event which serves as the Academy Awards of its sport. Full information on how to purchase seats can be had by going to BWAA.ORG
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?