By John J. Raspanti
Filled with tears, memories, and glory, The West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame held its second annual event this Sunday at the Garland Hotel in North Hollywood, California.
Inducted in rousing fashion were Bobby Chacon, Mike Weaver, Lucia Riker, Israel Vazquez, Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, Henry Armstrong, Armando Ramos, Jerry Quarry, Fidel LaBarba, Genaro Hernandez, Aileen Eaton, artist Jun Aquino, Jose Sulaiman, his son Maurcio, and William O’Neill.
Highlights included “Book of the Year” winner (“Becoming Taz” available for purchase on amazon.com) and former professional boxer Jeff Bumpus, recalling the night he fought legendary world champion Julio Cesar Chavez at the Olympic Auditorium.
“I called him Mr. Chavez,” said Bumpus. “In the first round I blocked a hook to the liver and nailed him with a right. His left knee did a little circle. I thought, I just knocked down the world…oops…I made him mad.”
John La Barba, son of former flyweight champion and sports writer Fidel La Barba, spoke with emotion about his father.
“He’s been gone over 30 years, but I miss him every day,” said La Barba.
Three-time former world champion Tony “The Tiger” Lopez reminisced about his time in and out of the ring.
“I loved it,” said Lopez. “I’m over 50 years old, and I still like to fight.”
Unveiled on the stage were two robes worn by Bobby Chacon, who died several weeks ago.
West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame president Rick Farris spoke of the importance of honoring boxing history.
“We’re going to put these in a museum,” Farris said, to the robes worn by Chacon in his fights Rafael “Bozooka” Limon and Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini. "That’s were they deserve to be."
Applause erupted as the audience viewed vintage fight films of Jerry Quarry, Mando Ramos, Mike Weaver, Genaro Hernandez, and Henry Armstrong.
The West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame is dedicated in upholding the integrity, accuracy and memory of the great fighters of the past.
All of the passion was on display Sunday afternoon.