The International Boxing Hall of Fame, located in Canastota, NY, is a popular destination for boxing fans, participants, and those with curiosity about the sport’s fascinating history and continued cultural relevance. What originated in the 1980s as a memorial to two local Canastota champions (Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus) grew to become a full-fledged shrine to the sport of boxing in 1989.
Plaques with biographies of inductees (Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Leonard, and George Foreman to name a few) are featured on the Hall of Fame Wall. The wall is organized into five categories: Pioneers (last bout in or prior to 1892), Old-Timers (last bout between 1893-1942), Modern (last bout after 1943), Non-Participants – others who have made significant contributions such as trainers, cut men, and referees – and Observers, such as photographers, journalists, and historians.
Also on display are the eye-catching accouterments that have long made boxing so dramatic and spectator-friendly, such as world-championship belts, shoes, trunks, robes, and gloves used in such fights as the 1901 world title featherweight bout between George Dixon and Terry McGovern.
Perhaps the most delightful of the displays allows visitors to compare their fist size to life sized cast fists of legendary boxers from Jack Johnson to Primo Carnera. Visitors can then make their way over to the audiovisual section of the Hall in which varied classic fight footage is played on repeat.
The Hall’s event pavilion is home to the ring used at Madison Square Garden for memorable boxing matches such as “The Fight of the Century” (Ali vs. Frasier, 1971).
Researchers and fans alike seek out the Hall of Fame’s extensive library that includes hundreds of books, photos, and magazines (including “Ring Magazine” issues from 1922 to the present).