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West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2023 (Series 2 of 4)


PhilBoxing.com




The prestigious West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame is proud to announce their Class of 2023 to be feted at The Banquet of Champions— dedicated to upholding the integrity, accuracy, and memory of great boxers.

Set for March 12, 2023 at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California, Rick Farris has arranged a boxing gala for the ages.

Jun Aquino, painter of champions, will once again share his ‘Art of Boxing’ honoring the greatest boxers and personalities in boxing. Mr. Aquino has been kind enough to give us a peek into his masterpieces.

In this second of four installments, the 2023 WCBHOF introduces the next set of its inductees.



George Edward Foreman seemed destined for greatness in and out of the ring. He was born on January 10, 1949 and grew up in the tough and tumble streets of Houston, Texas. Juvenile delinquency and hooliganism dotted his youth before he found his salvation in boxing.

In a colorful career from 1967 to 1997, he became an Olympic heavyweight boxing champion then two-time world heavyweight champion in two distinct and dramatic phases; first, he beat Joe Frazier as a young man then lost the crown to Muhammad Ali in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, then much later at middle age, he decisioned Michael Moorer in an improbable comeback becoming heavyweight champion a second time.

Foreman became a devout born-again Christian, an ordained minister, and became the reverend at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston. He dedicated his life for the needy and created a youth center that bears his name, just like the grill he successfully sells.

”It's very important that people know that I really enjoy everything that has happened to me. And I tell my kids, you're not going to be the tallest, fastest, prettiest, the best track runner, but you can be the nicest human being that someone has ever met in their life. And I just want to leave that legacy that being nice is a true treasure,” the affable Foreman once said.



Eddie Futch, August 9, 1911 – October 10, 200, was one of the fight game’s best trainers and greatest of mentors.

Born and raised in Hillsboro, Mississippi and grew in a rough and tumble Black Bottom neighborhood. He played for a semi-professional basketball team despite only being 5-foot-6-inches tall.

Eddie Futch was married to Eva Marlene, whom he called the love of his life, from March 21, 1996 until his death.

The Futch Gym in Baltimore, Maryland is dedicated to the trainer.

His hall-of-fame career as master tactician graced the the corners of Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, and Trevor Berbick— four of the five fighters to beat Muhammad Ali. He also guided IBHOF fighters Riddick Bowe against Evander Holyfield and also Montell Griffin against Roy Jones, Jr. resulting in the latters’ first professional losses. He also trained Ireland’s first ever WBC World Champion, Wayne McCullough.

In Frazier-Ali I, ‘The Fight of the Century’, at the Madison Square Garden, Futch instructed Frazier to bully Ali into the ropes, work the body, then pummel the head. Frazier also forced Ali to throw right upper cuts which made Ali susceptible to Joe Frazier’s trademark left hooks.

In the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, Futch stopped an eager, but battered Frazier from coming out in the 15th round.

"It's all over. No one will forget what you did here today,” Futch told a battered but willing Frazier as reported by my late father Hermie Rivera who was at ringside next to legendary announcer Don Dunphy.



Berry Gordy, Jr. created a legendary career in music, film, radio and television as executive producer from 1953-2019.

Born November 28, 1929 (age 93) and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he is an everlasting influence to many artists.

According to Rick Farris, “Many professional boxers became famous as a result of their boxing careers being showcased at L.A.'s Olympic Auditorium, but this kid from Detroit's boxing career was cut short by the Korean War in the late 1940's. After three of his 17 pro fights were held at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, a young Berry Gordy Jr. joined the Army and fought for his country, then came home to create his fame in the world of music. He borrowed a few hundred dollars from his older sister and created MOTOWN RECORDS. The rest is history - "Hitsville U.S.A..”

As a songwriter, Mr. Gordy composed or co-composed a number of hits including "Lonely Teardrops" and "That's Why" (Jackie Wilson), "Shop Around" (the Miracles), and "Do You Love Me" (the Contours), all of which topped the US R&B charts, as well as the international hit "Reet Petite" (Jackie Wilson). As part of the Corporation, he wrote many hit songs for the Jackson 5, including "I Want You Back" and "ABC". As a record producer, he launched the Miracles and signed acts like the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Stevie Wonder. He was known for carefully directing the public image, dress, manners, and choreography of his acts. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2016, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2021. In 2022, he was inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.



Álvaro “Yaqui” López was born May 21, 1951 underneath a bull ring at the Plaza de Toros in Zacatecas, Mexico. Raised in an adobe casita near a famed bullring, Lopez’ aspirations of being a matador ended when his ankle was gored in his first bullfight.

Lucky for us boxing fans, he set his sights on boxing, chose to fight a different kind of beast, and wrote a fighter’s story for the ages.

Always an action-packed boxer, the 6-foot-3 Lopez fought the likes of Mike Rossman, Mike Quarry, Tony Mundine, Jesse Burnett, James Scott, S. T. Gordon.

Álvaro lost controversial decisions to Víctor Galíndez (WBA-light-heavyweight), and John Conteh (WBC light-heavyweight). He was stopped via TKO 14 by Matthew Saad Muhammad (WBC light-heavyweight and The Ring’s 1980 Fight of the Year) and later via TKO 4 by a youthful Carlos De León (WBC Cruiserweight).

His sterling record remains at 61 Wins (39 KO’s), and 15 Losses in 76 fights.

Álvaro “Yaqui” López will always be known as the greatest uncrowned boxer, Mexican or otherwise. Lopez is a member of both the California Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

He has his own gym named after him, Yaqui Lopez's Fat City Boxing.

www.yaquilopezsfatcityboxing.com



Bob Case, IBA Vice President, Business Manager/Advisor to Champions

“Hundreds of the world's greatest athletes have entered Bob Case's office and left their mark & Hall of Fame memorabilia. Bob is more than a friend & trusted advisor to the greatest of boxers, athletes and entertainment industry superstars,” Rick Farris, Founder and President of the West Coast Boxing Hall Of Fame announced.



Two 2023 West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, Bob Case & Manny Pacquiao. During the 20+ years that have passed Manny never forgot Bob Case and mentions the memory every time they cross paths. Their next reunion will be at the 2023 WCBHOF event.

“A great story behind this photo.
Bob Case met the "Pac Man" on this day at the Wildcard Gym. At the time Manny was a hungry boxer and had no money. Bob told Manny he would give the future world champ $500 for a pair of his trunks, and a grateful future boxing legend ate well on this day,”
Rick Farris reminisced.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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