By Nick Tywalk
The Hitman is taking his rightful place in Canastota, along with today's top trainer, the world's most famous ring announcer and Showtime's esteemed color commentator.
Next year's inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame were announced today, and the Class of 2012 will consist of 13 people. Chief among the boxers going in is Thomas Hearns, who represented the Motor City by racking up world titles in five different weight classes while battling the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez and Marvin Hagler.
Freddie Roach will also get a well-deserved enshrinement - for his work as a trainer, not for his 40-13 record as a prizefighter. Michael Buffer hopefully needs no introduction, and while Al Bernstein is probably best known to current boxing fans as the color man on Showtime Championship Boxing, he has a long career that includes time spent covering the stick and ball sports and the Olympics.
Another interesting choice is Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, the former flyweight and super flyweight champion who enjoyed a long unbeaten run in the 90s. He wasn't as successful during the last part of his career, though he spent it fighting some tough competition like Rafael Marquez, Fernando Montiel and Jhonny Gonzalez.
Congrats to all of the inductees, and if you've never been to Canastota for enshrinement weekend, definitely consider making the trip at least once in your life. You'll never get a better chance to get up close with past and present stars of the sport.
Get more great boxing stuff over at Boxing Watchers.