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Hall of Fame dinner draws crowd

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Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:30 AM
TAMPA -

As Butch Flansburg prepared for the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame dinner, he thought he would be lucky if he could get 75 people into the downtown Tampa Howard Johnson's banquet room.

Saturday night, his worries about attendance were eased and invoked all at once.

"I'm going to be scared to death to get up on the podium and talk to these people, that's what's going through my head," Flansburg, president of the National Boxing Association and the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, said with a nervous laugh.

The inaugural Florida Boxing Hall of Fame dinner welcomed more than 275 fighters, promoters and fans. Of that group, many of the hall's first inductees - Angelo Dundee, Ferdie Pacheco, Jimmy Williams, Rick Folstad and Brian Garry, to name a few - were present.

Also in the crowd were current boxers Nate Campbell, Tampa's Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson and Hector "Macho" Camacho.

The Hall of Fame will be located in Tampa.

"I see all my old friends here," said Dundee, Muhammad Ali's former trainer. "If they're in boxing, I know them."

He then pulled over Bob Goodman, who once worked with Don King. They joked about their time in Zaire when they ate monkey, thinking it was chicken.

Making the event more special for Dundee was the fact five of his former fighters - Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Ralph Dupas, Willie Pastrano, Florentino Fernandez and Pinklon Thomas - will be inducted during a ceremony in November.

According to Flansburg, the Veterans Boxers Association attempted to create a Hall of Fame in the state in the 1970s, but once members began to die, that undertaking faded.

Williams, who has trained Tarver, was thrilled about his induction.

"I think it's the greatest," said Williams, decked out in a black suit and fedora. "I think the Hall of Fame should be one in Florida. ... We have a lot of boxers in Florida. Look at this, this is for boxing. This is what it's all about. I feel like I'm on the mountaintop of my career now."

HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2009

FIGHTERS: Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Ralph Dupas, Willie Pastrano, Florentino Fernandez, Pinklon Thomas, Wilfredo Vazquez Sr.

TRAINERS/MANAGERS: Angelo Dundee, Steve Canton, Jimmy Williams

PROMOTERS: Chris Dundee, Felis "Tuto" Zabala Sr.

HISTORIANS: Hank Kaplan, Irv Abramson

NON-PARTICIPANT: Mark Beiro, Marty Cohen, Johnny Bos, Bob Goodman, Rick Folstad, Allan Fields, Ferdie Pacheco

OFFICIALS/COMMISSION: Brian Garry, Max Parker Jr.

SPECIAL AWARDS: Phil Alessi, Pete Fernandez, Terry Trekas

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