Whether it was among the boxers in attendance, the fans who came out to spend the afternoon with some of the legendary figures of the sport, the honoring of family members who impacted the boxing community or the gathering together to share support in the cause to help fighters in need, love was most certainly in the air this past Sunday at the Ring 10 3rd Annual Extravaganza held at Marina Del Rey in Throgs Neck, New York.
The event was kicked off with a display of love for our country with the singing of 'God Bless America' by 2nd grader Conner Delatorre. With only days remaining until the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, a moment of silence and tribute to the brave members of the NYPD and FDNY who sacrificed their lives during this tragic event was later observed during the event.
Respect, love and remembrance for those who passed away was granted with the honorary 10-count. Several members of the boxing community were lost during 2013 including Emile Griffith, Tommy Morrison, Johnny Bos, Carl "The Truth" Williams, Omar Henry and many others who will be remembered forever.
In his opening remarks, Ring 10 President Matt Farrago expressed his gratitude and esteem for all of the effort and personal support provided by those who have helped make the organization a success. After three years of hard work and determination, Ring 10 continues to fight for those in need within the boxing community.
"We treat everyone who steps into the ring with the same respect whether they were a world champion or not. Everyone has a tendency to look only to the future, the champs that are coming up, but Ring 10 does not forget those who made the sport of boxing what it is today. That is why we are not only honoring the present champs and the future champs, but also members of the fight world who have passed," Farrago said.
Homage was paid to some of the great fighters of the Bronx as an expression of admiration for local figures who have passed and impacted the sport. Tributes were made to the "Boxing Belloise Brothers" – Steve, Mike and Sal Belloise – and Harry "The Belting Brakeman" Balsamo, with respective family members fondly acknowledging their loved ones for achievements both inside and outside of the ropes.
The children of former referee Wayne Kelly, Ryan and Jackie, gratefully accepted the 2013 Arthur Mercante Award on behalf of their father who was posthumously awarded the honor.
With several opportunities for photos and autographs, fans spent a good portion of the event rubbing elbows with former champions Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Livingstone Bramble, Iran "The Blade" Barkley, Marlon "Magic Man" Starling, Mark Breland and Aaron "Superman" Davis, reigning WBO middleweight champion Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, former contenders John Duddy and Larry Barnes, and actor Danny Aiello.
Honorees Joe DeGuardia (2013 Steve Acunto Lifetime Dedication Award – "SALDA"), Tony Perez (2013 Jose Torres Renaissance Man Award) and emcee Harold Lederman (2013 Bert Sugar Award) were also shown some love by both Ring 10 and those in attendance.
Fans also expressed their love for the sport by bidding on several pieces of boxing memorabilia in the silent auction, including a framed painting of Gerald McClellan, boxing gloves signed by sluggers such as Riddick Bowe, Earnie Shavers, Canelo Alvarez and Micky Ward, autographed photographs of Emile Griffith, Carmen Basilio, Iran Barkley and Nonito Donaire, a unique set of signed hand wraps by WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, and several other items.
A signed framed photograph of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier II and two tickets to Star Boxing's 'Rockin' Fights 10' featuring Chris Algieri with former welterweight champion Joshua Clottey on September 14 at The Paramount, which includes a live telecast of Mayweather-Alvarez from the MGM Grand, were auctioned off to the highest bidders.
Perhaps the greatest love displayed was between the fighters themselves, both during their speeches and among each other throughout the event.
Larry Barnes recollected how he first found his love for boxing.
"The man to my right here and the man to my left here is the reason why I boxed for 10 years," said Barnes, referring to Mancini and Bramble who sat center stage on each side of the podium. "I remember Boom Boom Mancini losing to Alexis Arguello the first time [for the title], then he knocked out Arturo Frias – right then and there I wanted to be a prizefighter. So if it wasn't for him and Livingstone Bramble, I wouldn't be up here today being honored."
"When all is said and done, I want to thank and dedicate this award to the sport of boxing because boxing has meant an awful lot to me and it saved my life," DeGuardia said as he explained the perseverance and determination it took for him to survive the serious crash and walk out of the hospital three days later, despite the medical prognosis that he would require a lengthy rehabilitation process.
Five-time New York Golden Gloves champion and former two-time welterweight world titlist Mark Breland light-heartedly joked that although he did not like Aaron Davis and Marlon Starling during his boxing career, the two men to whom he lost the WBA title, he was honored to come together with them to support Ring 10.
The other reunion at the event involved the highly anticipated meeting between Ray Mancini and Livingstone Bramble whom had not seen each other in over 20 years. Their bitter rivalry was capped by a hard-fought February 1985 rematch where Bramble retained the WBA lightweight belt he took from Mancini by a fourteenth round TKO eight months earlier.
With all eyes and ears on both men as they shared the podium, it was nothing but love and respect.
"I thank him so much for being there and putting up the fight he did because it made me the person I am. Thank you, Ray," Bramble said as he acknowledged the heart of his former opponent in their two incredible fights and shaked Mancini's hand.
Mancini was equally gracious in his remarks.
"Once the fight is over, it's over. Whatever animosity you have, whatever bad feelings – it's over," insisted Mancini, dismissing the notion that any bad blood existed between them outside of the ring. "We had the perfect styles for each other. Two wars and he was victorious in both. He fought great and I admire what he accomplished."
"It's always a pleasure to be around fighters. Fighters are some of the greatest people I know. It's a sport that builds character and it helped me to become the man I am," Mancini said to end the festivities. "More than anything, it makes gentlemen out of most of us so when the fighting is over, all the animosity is gone. Love is in the air, baby! Love is in the air!"
The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.
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- Ring 10 Veteran Boxing Foundation 3rd Annual Extravaganza to Be Held Sept 8
- Ray Mancini and Livingstone Bramble to Reunite at 3rd Annual Ring 10 Event
- Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin Latest Champion to Attend Ring 10 Event on Sept 8
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