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Boxing HOF inducts new class

By MIKE LEVIN

CANASTOTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Sunday saw the boxing world once again descend on Canastota for the annual Hall of Fame Induction, with Thomas "Hitman" Hearns headlining the 2012 class.  Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson was the only other living fighter to get in, with trainer Freddie Roach, ring announcer Michael Buffer, broadcaster Al Bernstein and journalist Michael Katz rounding out the living inductees.

Newsboy Brown, Leo Houck, Cocoa Kid, Jake Kilrain, Hugh D. McIntosh, Rip Valenti and James Wharton were inducted posthumously.

Former heisman trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard also attended the ceremony, right after his duties as Grand Marshall of the annual Hall of Fame Parade.

Among the topics of conversation all day was the controversial finish Saturday night in the WBO Welterweight title fight, in which Timothy Bradley best champion Manny Pacquiao by a questionable split decision.

Both Buffer and Katz mentioned the finish in their speeches Sunday.  "Last night's still getting to me," said Buffer.  "But you know what, it was a good fight, we're going to overcome it.  It's a great sport."

And with that, Buffer broke into his famous "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" catch phrase.

Bernstein, a veteran of boxing telecasts on both ESPN and Showtime, was emotional about how much getting in with this year's group meant to him.  "I take this as a supreme honor, that I'm allowed to be a part of this place that is so special.  It's a singular honor and it's made even more special to me by the other inductees who are on this stage.  I have a shared history with every one of them and I cherish that."

Hearns was the last to speak and had two of his biggest rivals, former inductees Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, on hand for his big day.

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