Dan and his father with Ruben Olivares

Carlos Ortiz, Ruben Olivares and Jesus Primental share stories. Must be great ones!!

World Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Night 2000

On Friday, October 20th, my Father (also Dan Hanley) and I made a pugilistic pilgrimage 
to Mecca. To be precise, Los Angeles, for the 21st annual Banquet of Champions' of the 
California based World Boxing Hall of Fame to be held on Saturday the 21st at the Westin 
Bonaventure hotel in downtown L.A. The intent of this exercise was not to confer some 
journalistic blessing on this event, for we were there as fans, nothing more. Pops and I 
came solely to feast upon those legends who indulged our love for the game. And believe 
me, we made pigs of ourselves.

My Father and I, separated only by a generation, shared a common goal on our journey 
west. To meet our all time favorite fighter. And, armed with a list of the fighters to be 
present at induction night, we were aware of their attendance. His of course, was Carmen 
Basilio. Mine, Armando Muniz. But we had our reservations on how accessible these 
fighters would be to the common fan at such a grandiose event as HOF induction night. A 
question that would soon be answered.

Upon checking into the lovely Bonaventure and satiating our out of sync appetites in an 
outdoor Cafe, it became obvious that the out of town attendees of Saturday's award-fest 
were slowly converging on the hotel. For suddenly, we found ourselves rubbing elbows with 
Juan LaPorte, Michael Carbajal and Jimmy Ellis. But what struck me most was not the 
accessibility to these pugs, but how approachable they were. And before Pops and I had 
completed one pass of the mammoth hotel lobby, it happened, and I froze. Working up the 
courage, I approached this ex-fighter who had suddenly given me a stomach full of 
butterflies and, putting my hand on his still rock-hard arm, I stammered, "Excuse 
me...Armando Muniz?" And let me tell ya, over the next hour my Dad and I had one of the 
best sessions with this most articulate of ex-pugs. Refreshingly honest, a sense of humor 
to die for, this recent recipient of a masters degree made my Father and I feel like his 
old friends. The revelation would continue.

Later, on our way to dinner, and seemingly unable to avoid anyone who made a living with 
leather gloves, one would think I was starting to get a little thick skinned to the event 
at hand. Well, again, let me tell ya, this wasn't wearing off, I couldn't settle down. As 
we turned a corner on a remote tier of the hotel, I gasped aloud once again as I walked 
face first into another pug from my youth. "Oh my God...Ruben Olivares!", I stuttered. 
And, although he speaks no English, Rockabye Ruben was as compliant with our camera as he 
was with that gap-toothed smile. Before the evening was done, Pops and I spent a 
hilarious evening in the lounge with Ken and Tommy Buchanan, not as a crowd, but just the 
four of us. Talk about approachable. By the time I hit the sack that night I had 
practically OD'd on fighters...and induction night hadn't even begun.

The following morning, breakfast in the hotel began where the evening left off. Carlos 
Ortiz dining on one side of us, the McGuigans on the other and Richard Steele hovering 
over us as he awaited his table, talking Chavez-Taylor, Tyson-Golota and his forthcoming 
assignment to a couple of guys from Chicago whom he had never before met. Pops was 
particularly taken with McGuigan, who had spent such an excess of time at our table his 
eggs required a reheat. Of Course, with Pops being from County Limerick it was like old 
home week between he and Barry.

After a brief roam around the town, we returned to the hotel where I ran into Johnny 
Tapia and his lovely wife Theresa. And contrary to the persona he exudes in the ring, 
Johnny was subdued, affable and made all kinds of time for a session with my Dad, who is 
a big fan of his. By the time we had showered and dressed, it felt like we had already 
attended the function, yet, we had only grazed the tip of the iceberg.

Easing our way to the lobby for a cold one before festivities began, Pops and I walked 
into a photo-shoot open to the public. And it was here we hit the mother lode. This time 
it was Pops turn to gasp. And Carmen Basilio welcomed a squared off stance with my Father 
while Pops explained how he was in Chicago Stadium the night he was robbed against Johnny 
Saxton in '56. To which, Basilio replied, "Yeah, well I took care of that decision twice 

Criss-crossing our paths throughout the shoot was Mike Weaver, Aaron Pryor, George 
Chuvalo, Art Aragon, Danny Romero, Troy Dorsey, Gaspar Ortega and Terry Norris. I tell 
yah, we were like kids in a candy store. But then, I gasped once again as I spied two 
former stablemates amidst the pugs meandering about the area. One, set the coast ablaze 
some 30 years ago and went by the name, Mando Ramos. The other, a fighter I have been in 
total awe of since I was 16, former Lightweight champ Rodolfo Gonzales. And it did my 
heart good to meet up with a couple of old fighters who look and sound great. 
Unfortunately, this was not the case with all the fighters.

By the time Pops and I got settled at our table in the spectacular ballroom we were both 
in a state of euphoria. And as we beheld the luminaries filing in, we were also treated 
to such fight classics as Zale-Cerdan, Patterson-Johansson II and Charles Walcott III on 
display on various video screens strategically placed throughout the hall. It would prove 
to be the perfect preliminary.

Splitting the announcing chores throughout the event was Jimmy Lennon Jr. and Rich 
Marotta. And after commencement proceedings, announcing the Board of directors and 
approximately 40 fighters at the head table, the two emcees cut to the heart of the 
matter beginning with the induction's posthumous category. In a well choreographed 
production, the screens came aglow with a pictorial history on Middleweight Lou Bogash, 
narrated by his grandson. This was followed by a similar tribute to Bantamweight Pete 
Sanstol, with the Hall of fame award accepted also by Pete's grandson. Next up was a 
tribute to avoided 1940's Middleweight Eddie Booker and accepted by members of his family 
including Eddie Jr. And lastly, vintage film of former Heavyweight champ Tommy Burns 
against Bill Squires and Gunner Moir was on tap, with Tommy's award appropriately 
accepted by fellow Canadian George Chuvalo.

In a special recognition category, former Super Bantamweight champion Paul Banke was 
awarded for his brutal three bout series with Daniel Zaragoza from the late '80's-
early '90's, but one might think he actually got the nod for this award for his well 
documented battle in life. In the expanded category, the late sports columnist, Allan 
Malamud received an emotional tribute from his peers, while Promoter Russell Peltz and 
Trainer Emanuel Steward's respective acceptance speeches was dotted with references to 
the previous night's Tyson-Golota fight. A buzzed about event which hung over this 
knowledgable fight crowd like a woeful stench. Steward's speech in particular hit home in 
his description of boxing's changing times as he stated, "Can you imagine a referee 
telling Carmen Basilio, 'You'll have to remove your earring before entering the ring' ". 
And lastly, Richard Steele accepted his award in the same manner in which he referees, 
without pretention.

The next two categories, Fighter of the year and Trainer of the year was a family affair 
as Sugar Shane Mosley and his Father Jack Mosley accepted their respective awards in an 
almost delirious state. One would think events of this magnitude would be common place to 
boxing's hottest commodity, but the euphoria was genuine.

Finally, the main event we had all been waiting for, the electees in the boxer category. 
The screens in the vast hall came alive once more as we were treated to Ralph Dupas 
displaying his long forgotten talents against Gil Turner and Charley Scott. Accepting the 
award for Ralph was Brother and former fighter himself, Tony Dupas, who explained of 
Ralph's ill health. A malady which was well known throughout the boxing community. Next 
on tap was former three divisional champ, the great Wilfredo Gomez. And while the screens 
displayed his bouts against Juan LaPorte and Rocky Lockridge I could only dwell on the 
fact that these were not the most flattering of choices to depict his fabulous career. 
Nevertheless, it was Gomez and his award we awaited to see and I must admit to being 
shocked at the sight of Gomez arising. Obviously spending his retirement excessively 
close to the 'Arroz Con Gandolez' table, Wilfredo's waistline would make an anemic 
envious. Speaking sparingly due to an announced problem with his vocal chords (indeed, 
his breathing sounded similar to snoring), Wilfredo's compatriot and former 
Lightheavyweight champ Jose Torres acted as interpreter. Next, Ken Buchanan, immaculately 
attired in traditional Scottish kilt, entered to the strains of the bagpipers in 
attendance and the entertaining clips of him against Carlos Ortiz and Frankie Otero. 
Moreover, it appeared those in attendance were aghast at just what a force he was some 
thirty years ago. In a moving tribute to his late Mother, Ken and Father Tommy accepted 
the award with tears of joy. Lastly, Barry McGuigan, who entered to the strains of his 
favored 'Danny Boy', and with the screens alive with his bouts against Eusebio Pedroza, 
Bernard Taylor and Danilo Cabrera, accepted his award to conclude a moving evening.

Before leaving the plush hall. we indulged our memories once more with photo sessions 
with Danny 'Little Red' Lopez and Bobby Chacon. God love Bobby, now sounding more like 
Anthony Quinn's Mountain Rivera, he still has a smile as broad as ever. In conclusion, 
and trying my level best not to sound like a shill, I can only say that, for the die hard 
boxing fan, the WBHOF Banquet of Champions is the place to be in October.

Departing the hotel and our memorable weekend on Sunday morning, I was left with a slight 
smile. You see, being the ever-present gadfly in certain situations, I found it humorous 
that my attempts to get the eccentric Bert Sugar to remove his hat left him with a 
pronounced scowl.

My weekend was complete. And I was content. 

                                    See ya next round
                                        Dan Hanley   

Basilio takes a shot with Jimmy Ellis looking on.

Johnny Tapia will be inducted in time!

Ken Buchanan shows off his fighting form. Dan tuck that chin in!

Bobby Chacon still punching and smiling

Armando Muniz looks fighting fit

Rodolfo Gonzalez with the Hanley's

Carlos Ortiz hands will always be raised

Barry McGuigan vs. Dan Hanley Sr. in a battle of the Irishmen!

Danny "Litlle Red" Lopez in a familiar position

Daniel Hanley