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June 24, 2011     Post-Gazette
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June 24, 2011

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Page 20 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 24, 2011 Q 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees Class of 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame Induct- ees; Julio Cesar Chavez, Kostya Tszyu, Mike Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Trainer Nacho Beristain, Referee Joe Cortez, inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame Canastota, New York. An- other great induction cer- emony. I praise all inductees. Sylvester Stallone on Rocky, Rocky II, Ill, IV, V, and Rocky Balboa. I read here, that the film series has grossed more than $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office. A big shot in the arm for the sport of Boxing. I love the Rocky movies. I praise and compli- ment him, for Rocky. He could of chosen another name ? ? I'm glad he chose "Rocky!" You are tough Rocky. If we all re- member? No one in Boxing history has equaled, the Rocks record. Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone, is proudly one of our Fight Family Mem- bers. I'm speaking, with the original Iron Man now in Iron Mike Pusateri who says? "Abbott and Costello didn't play baseball and they're in the Baseball Hall of Fame ..." You're right Iron Mike. Thank you Sylvester Stallone, Ed Brophy, and thank you Iron Mike Pusateri. At Graziano's Inn & Restau- rant is Aaron the Hawk Pryor. Grand Marshall's, Dickie Eklund and Irish Micky Ward. World Champion great Carmen Basilio and wife Josie Basilio. Both love and think the world of Tony and Dottie DeMarco. World Champion Barry McGnigan. v(lou World Champions Marvel- ous Marvin Hagler and John H. Stracey. Heavyweight Champions Leon Spinks, Canadian who never got knocked off his feet George Chuvalo. Don King spoke at the Induction Ceremony. He said. "Only in America:" Great gentleman Tony Graziano, owner of great restaurant "Graziano's Inn & Restaurant " Chris Sarno, World Cham- pion Leon Spinks and Janet Bunting. In parade the great Bert Sugar. Speaking is Iron Mike Tyson, as Ed Brophy, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sylvester Stallone are seated. Shirley Wood is recover- ing at Braintree Rehab Hos" pital, 250 Pond Street, Room 3238 Braintree, MA 02134. rm sending her a card too, and visiting her. I went over to a table in Graziano's to speak with owner Tony Graziano. I noticed two pictures on the wall of NABF light middleweight Champion Rocky Fratto. I said to Tony Graziano. "Hey I fought Rocky Fratto in New York. The two individuals seated with Tony Graziano said "That's my father." Mario Fratto and Rocky Fratto Jr. We spoke for a little while, and they called their father Rocky. We had a great conversation. He won a decision over me with his fast hands and great Boxer ability. It ended the way it had begun some nine months be- fore for the Bruins -- in a quiet recessed area of a build- ing, away from the sounds of crowds. Here they were for one final time as a team -- together. It was Sunday, June 19 -- Father's Day in America -- and one last ritual was taking place inside the TD Garden, known as Breakup Day -- the time when the players appear for one last time in the locker room that was their center of preparation on game nights, gather together their per- sonal items and depart for at least the summer and per- haps forever. And despite the lyrics of the old song, breaking up was not hard to do. Virtually all the players were tired, many were hurt and had played through injuries of varying degrees and all were looking forward to a summer of rest and relaxation following their historic triumph in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just the day before the streets of Boston had been filled with the adoring crowds from Causeway to Copley as those that are never seen at the Garden because of seat- ing capacity and high ticket prices turned out in impres- sive numbers to cheer as their victorious heroes passed by in triumph. The team was together for just over nine months (275 days to be exact) -- from Sep- tember 17 -- four days before the first day of fall when the veterans reported -- to June 19, two days shy of the first day of summer when the play- ers bade farewell to the Gar- den. Over that span they played 114 games -- includ- ing seven preseason games, 82 regular season games and 25 postseason playoff con- tests. But now the end was near. Head coach Claude Julien went first, his f'mal press con- ference of the season. He noted how life had changed somewhat for him. Slowed in traffic on Route 93 on his way to the Garden, he was in- stantly recognized by fellow motorists who gave him thumbs up as they went along. He reflected on the fact that he had come from a mod- est background, had played hockey as a youngster and was fortunate enough to play some games in the NHL be- fore finding a second career in coaching. After that there was a long break as the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins took to the ice one final time. One final time they all suited up together. One final time they came out on the Garden ice together. And together they posed for a final team photograph -- one that will memorialize them forever. It was the final time that 43- year-old Mark Recchi put on an NHL uniform as a player. Owner Jeremy dacobs then spoke, reflecting on the events and reception the team received in recent days. Then for one last time, the doors to the locker room opened and members of the media proceeded past the por- tals once more for I'mal inter- views sessions before the summer beckoned. It was 3:24 p.m. when the interviews began. They were sandwiched around final meetings that each player individually had with Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli. Over almost two hours the inter- views went on as two or three players would appear, later to be replaced by two or three more. Even backup goalie Tuukka Rask, the only player on the roster who suited up for every playoff game but didn't play, would be interviewed. There was talk of summer visits home, of proud family members and what plans each player had for the Stanley Cup Trophy. A com- mon theme was how each player gave so much credit to his teammates, noting how none of this would have been possible without them. Some reflected on how the regular season had begun so far away -- in Prague, the Czech Republic and ended at such a distance in Van- couver, British Columbia. And just down the hallway, in .another room, an oppor- tunity for the players to arry an everlasting me- mento of their success on their person was made avail- able. The locker room notice board bore the message that a "tattoo guy" (notice that the word "artist" was not used) was on site for those who wished to avail themselves of his services. We thanked the various members of the Bruins me- dia relations staff who had provided us with hospitality and courtesy over the course of the year -- Matt Chmura, Eric Tosi, Heidi Holland, Kelly Mohr and John Bishop. At 5:20 p.m., nearly two hours after the interview ses- sions had begun, it was an- nounced that the Bruins locker room would be closing. We took our leave one final time and returned to the press conference area. There we gazed upon the logoed "Stanley Cup Champions  backdrop behind the podium one final time. Then we said goodbye to the few of our media colleagues that remained and departed. Down the elevator, out the door to Legends Way and Causeway Street. But still one final activity remained. The next day the ice, the surface necessary for the Bruins' success and the site of l0 of their 16 playoff victories, was melted down. The surface that the players had skated upon, that had been the focus of attention of TV cameras, media mem- bers and fans alike, was no more. The 2010-2011 Boston Bru- ins had moved from the present and into history. The NHL Draft loomed ahead and the first steps of the 2011- 2012 season were about to be taken. Time marches on.