Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, the man who put the Kronk Gym on the map, and Freddie Roach, who trains Manny Pacquiao, will lead the class of 2012 into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Hearns was perhaps the most dynamic offensive fighter of his era. He waged legendary battles with Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran. Now Hearns joins his three rivals in the hall.
In addition to Pacquiao, Roach has trained Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, Michael Moorer and Virigl Hill.
Here's the official release:
The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the newest class of inductees to enter the Hall. Living inductees include multi-division champion Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, two-division champion Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” ring announcer Michael Buffer, trainer Freddie Roach, broadcaster Al Bernstein and journalist Michael Katz.
“To me this is an amazing accomplishment," said Hearns, in a release. "It makes me so happy to know that I made it after all these years and so many fights. I’m thrilled! Muhammad Ali is my idol. He’s the man that got me into the boxing business. It’s great that I will be on the Hall of Fame Wall with him.”
The 23rd Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 7-10th in Canastota, NY. Over 20 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, parade and autograph card show, are planned. An impressive celebrity lineup of boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year’s Induction Weekend. The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 10th to welcome the newest members.
"I'd like to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who voted for me and congratulate those inducted with me today," said Roach. "I started my career in professional boxing with Eddie Futch and now we will be together, forever, enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the greatest legends of the sport. I am truly honored and humbled."
The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees: Cocoa Kid in the Modern Category; Newsboy Brown, Leo Houck and Jake Kilrain in the Old-Timer Category; promoters Hugh D. McIntosh and Rip Valenti in the Non Participant Category; and James Wharton (Young Molineaux) in the Pioneer Category. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.