Interview with Ed Brophy of The International Boxing Hall Of Fame

10.11.06 - By Ted Sares: Ed Brophy is the Executive Director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Cannastota , NY. In 1990, as a consequence of an initiative by Ed to honor Canastota's world boxing champions Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus, the city of Canastota inaugurated the new museum, which showcases boxing's rich history. Award winning artist Richard T. Slone was named their official artist of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997 and remains so to this day. Since 1990, the IBHOF, under the leadership of Brophy, has added one wing to the Museum and an event pavilion adjacent to the Hall. The Hall holds annual induction ceremonies in early June as the highlight of a four-day celebration of boxing and its legends. These ceremonies are attended by many former world boxing champions, boxing celebrities and Hollywood celebrities.

Recently, I had occasion to interview Mr. Brophy as follows:

Ted The Bull: Hi Ed. I missed going to the Hall this past year but I'll be attending the Induction Ceremonies in 2007. Will there be anything new for 2007?

Ed Brophy: The highlight of the weekend will honor the middleweight division. Among other things, it will mark the 50th anniversary of Carmen Basilio's Ring magazine Fight of the year....not the only such fight in which he was involved. Carmen engaged in five Ring Magazine Fights of the year We will also be honoring the late Sugar Ray Robinson being named Fighter of the Year. The ceremonies will run from June 7-10 and the NIGHT OF MIDDLEWEIGHTS will be celebrated at the Rusty Nail Party House on Friday night, June 8.

This year the Banquet of Champions will be held at the nearby Syracuse Oncenter Complex which will allow us to accommodate more people and implement some other fun ideas. The Syracuse Chamber of commerce has greatly cooperated with the Canastota Chamber in this. As you know, Ted, former champions and Canastota natives Billy Backus and Carmen Basilio both won their titles in Syracuse. It promises to be a spectacular affair. The Banquet will on Saturday night, June 9, and as always will be preceded by the popular Gala Cocktail Reception in Canastota at 5:30.

Bull: Sounds super. The cocktail reception, one of my personal favorites, is a great opportunity to visit up close and personal with the boxers and inductees. By the way, speaking of inductees, one question that keeps popping up is the process for selecting them. Can you shed some light on that?

Ed: Well, we at the Hall, our staff, prepare the ballots and send them out to the writers and historians. The distribution is an international one. Once they are returned, the results are tallied by a professional organization and submitted to us.The induction results will be announced (along with a press kit) at a press conference on December 7, 2006 which is a month earlier than normal. We will continue this practice in the future in order to give more preparation and travel time for the attendees and also avoid conflicts with other ceremonies at other Hall of Fames.

Bull: Any plans for expansion of the Hall? I remember being involved in a small way with the new Pavilion and that was an exciting addition. Anything like that on the horizon?

Ed: We have a number of ideas for the future that are in the conceptual stage. As you are aware from your many visits, the Hall contains the World's largest storage of research material. We have great files on history, records and we have a storehouse of magazines and articles so we likely will need a library room down the line. In this connection, sketches will be drafted in 2007 and hopefully we will move into that direction shortly after, maybe by 2009.

Bull: Put e down as a financial contributor when the time comes, Ed. Now then, a few years back, I attended an affair in Lantana, MA (near Boston) that was conducted by the Hall. I recall that Tommy Morrison, Iran Barkley, Jamie Clampitt, Tony Demarco and Micky Ward were in attendance. My wife and I had a super time. I know you have had a few of these in New York state. Any chance for some in Southern New England in the future?

Ed: We have had then in many different places and they have all been very positive. Boston is a strong boxing town and there is a good possibility we will be having one down in that area again.

Bull: I think I know the answer to this one before I even ask it, but I'll go ahead it anyway. Any hints or clues as to who the inductees will be in 2007?

Ed: All I can say is that the December 7 press conference will be an exciting one and I hope you attend to find out who the inductees are.

Bull: Great, anything else you would like to add? Any plugs for the Hall?

Ed: Well, we are always overwhelmed by the support of the fans and the boxing community and the networks without whom it would be difficult to operate. We also have a strong team of local volunteers from the Canastota area to help keep things running smoothly. This will be our 18th anniversary. We have made tremendous progress over the years and we are already looking forward to a big 20th anniversary ceremony in 2009. In closing, I'd like to say let's keep the magic alive and rolling and let's preserve the history of boxing.

Bull: You have been there from the start, right, Ed?

Ed: Yes

Bull: Thanks so much. I'll see you in June if not sooner.

Article posted on 10.11.2006

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