It’s not hard to figure out why, at an early age, Ed Brophy got hooked on boxing.
He was born in Canastota in 1956, the year Carmen Basilio lost and regained his world welterweight championship in bouts with Johnny Saxton. His Godfather is former welterweight champ Billy Backus, Basilio’s nephew and, as a teenager, Brophy’s next-door neighbor.
Ed worked odd jobs as a youngster to make money so he could buy Ring Magazine, the ‘Bible of the Sweet Science,’ as well as other boxing books. He would venture into countless aspects of the sport — amateur boxer, trainer, manager, promoter, historian — but found his niche literally creating a hall of fame.
As a teen, a big moment in Ed’s life was sitting ringside at the War Memorial and watching Backus win the title by upsetting Jose Napoles. In the early ‘80s, he and other community enthusiasts developed the concept for a Hall of Fame in Canastota, then began to get his project off the ground by pitching for financial support from area residents ($1,000 each). That launched the project.
Two New York state grants for $50,000 provided means for a feasibility study and preliminary work, and Ed secured the property. In ’84, he was named Executive Director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which opened its doors in ’89. The Hall of Fame has undergone two expansions and can be found just off Thruway Exit 34 in Canastota.
The IBHOF’s first class of inductees was in 1990. This year’s Induction Weekend takes place June 9-12, capped by Sunday’s Parade of Champions and the Induction Ceremony.
Ed Brophy’s life has been boxing. In April, he was inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame for his contribution to the sport.
Congratulations for that and for becoming a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.