CANASTOTA, N.Y. – The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced today Canastota’s two world champions Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus have been named Grand Marshals of the 21st Annual Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions scheduled for Sunday, June 13th at 1 p.m.
This year the Village of Canastota is celebrating it’s Bicentennial (1810 – 2010). The Hall of Fame is honored to join the community in celebrating this landmark occasion by naming our two world champions the 2010 Parade Grand Marshals. The distinction of having two world champions from one small village is even more special as they are related – Basilio is Backus’ uncle.
“Carmen and Billy focused world attention on Canastota and the Hall of Fame is extremely excited about paying tribute to them by having them lead the parade,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy.
Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight crown in 1957.
“I always like being around friends and family. There is nothing like being in my hometown and I am very honored to be named grand marshal along with my nephew, Billy Backus,” said Basilio.
Backus turned pro in 1962 and was ranked in the Top 10 by 1968. In 1970, behind an aggressive, slugging style, he defeated welterweight king Jose "Mantequilla" Napoles via 4th round TKO to take the championship. He held the title until 1971 and remained a Top 10 force until his retirement in 1978. “Leading a parade was always on my wish list…I can see us now driving down Peterboro Street in our town seeing all of our friends. It will be great,” said Backus.
The Parade of Champions, set for Sunday, June 13th at 1:00 p.m., will pass through the streets of Canastota and lead to the grounds of the Hall of Fame Museum prior to the start of the Official Induction Ceremony honoring the new class of inductees. Living inductees to be honored at the Official Induction Ceremony on Sunday, June 13th are light flyweight champion Jung-Koo Chang (South Korea), featherweight champion Danny “Little Red” Lopez (USA), manager Shelly Finkel (USA), referee / commissioner Larry Hazzard (USA), promoter Wilfried Sauerland (Germany), matchmaker Bruce Trampler (USA) and journalist Ed Schuyler (USA). Posthumous inductees will also be honored.
Over 40 boxing stars, including Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Tony DeMarco, Ken Norton, Nino Benvenuti, Leon Spinks, Gerry Cooney, Angelo Dundee, Micky Ward, Lou Duva and many others will be highlighted in the Parade of Champions.
"With the lineup of marching bands, boxing celebrities and community organizations, this should be our biggest parade ever and an unforgettable day for all," said parade chairperson Charlene Barres.
The June 10-13th Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will feature many exciting events including a banquet, boxing autograph card show, cocktail party and the Official Induction Ceremony honoring the Class of 2010.
For more information on the Hall of Fame’s 21st Annual Induction Weekend please call (315) 697-7095 or visit www.ibhof.com.