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Boxing's greatest champs converge on Canastota

By By MIKE LEVIN

CANASTOTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Boxing's past and present will collide this weekend at the annual Hall of Fame Induction, with several big events still to come Saturday and Sunday.  The weekend is a celebration of the sport, which culminates in the induction of the 2010 Class at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Parade of Champions will lead into the Induction on Sunday, with Canastota natives and former champions Carmen Basillio and Billy Backus as the Grand Marshalls.

Hall of Fame weekend is always special for the boxing community, as well as to Canastota, which is celebrating its bicentennial this year. 

"It's the gathering of the greatest champions in the history of boxing, from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and current champions. We've got them all here," said Ed Brophy, Executive Director of the Hall.  "Anyone who wants to visit Canastota this weekend leaves with an exciting feeling that they've experienced something they've never experienced, whether it's getting an autograph from a champion, meeting a friend, a visitor from out of country or just enjoying the Parade of Champions."

The weekend brings together current stars, like Sergio Martinez and former ones like Tommy Morrison. 

Martinez, the current Middleweight champion, gave a public workout at the Hall on Friday, then stayed to sign autographs with his fans.  "The people are marvelous. It's unbelievable, the city, the town is great and on top of that, they love boxing like we love boxing," Martinez said through his manager.

Morrison, a former heavyweight champion who may be best known for his starring role as Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, has been here before, but this time spent a little more time at the museum.  He had the chance to see his old robe, which is hanging in a display.  "I'm glad to be here. This is an honor. When I was five or six years old I never thought I'd see my robe hanging in the Boxing Hall of Fame, but that's pretty cool."

The 2010 Hall of Fame Class consists of Jung Koo Chang, Young Corbett II, Howard Cosell, Shelly Finkel, Larry Hazzard, "Paddington" Tom Jones, Rocky Kansas, Danny "Little Red" Lopez, Lloyd Marshall, Billy Miske, Wilfried Sauerland, Ed Schuyler and Bruce Trampler.

Be sure to tune into NEWSChannel 2 at 6 on Sunday and Sunday Night Sports Extra at 11, as we'll have coverage of the Induction.

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