Mayweather, Casino, DiBella among honorees at 91st BWAA dinner
NEW YORK CITY ÔÇö It took a little while for him to arrive, but when he did, Floyd Mayweather Jr. captivated the room at the 91st annual Boxing Writers Association of America dinner on Friday at the Copacabana.
Mayweather was selected the BWAA’s Fighter of the Year for the third time in his hall of fame-worthy career, joining notables Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and Manny Pacquiao.
“I can’t really (tell you) what the honor means, words can’t explain it,” Mayweather said. “You reach such a level, and you’re embraced by so many different people, you get love from so many different people, the only thing you can be is appreciative to what people give you.
“This is a dream come true. All I did was I kept believing and kept dreaming. I think about my career every day I wake up. I’ve made smart investments. When people look back at my career, I also want to be known for making smart investments outside of the ring, but who also fought inside the ring and left with all of his faculties. I want to thank all of the writers and everyone else that’s supported me through a 20-year career.”
Mayweather said he’s retired and plans on staying retired, because he likes retired life.
Others honored at the BWAA dinner was long-time promoter Lou DiBella, who was given the James A. Farley Award for Honesty and Integrity. It’s the first BWAA award given to DiBella, who was presented by veteran boxing writer Ron Borges and former world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, who came all of the way from Argentina to honor his former promoter.
“This means a lot to me,” said DiBella, who made sure to thank all of the people he worked with when he was head of HBO Sports. “It says something when the people in your industry think of you as a standup guy, and that’s all I ever really want. You’re straight up with people and you expect the same in return, though we know it doesn’t always work out that way.”
While Mayweather was the star of the night, the most poignant speech and honoree was Showtime photographer Tom Casino. It’s the first time Casino has been seen in public after battling a debilitating illness that almost cost him his life.
Casino received the Bill Crawford Courage in Overcoming Adversity award winner, and he was greeted with a standing ovation at the packed Copacabana.
“I’m lucky to be alive, and I think I have my boxing family to thank for that,” said Casino, who joked during his acceptance speech that the doctors can rebuild him again. “I was a dead man walking. I started to feel like people didn’t care anymore. And then I get this, from the great people at Showtime and all of the support that they’ve given me. I want to make sure I thank everyone who’s supported me. It was a tough battle and I beat it. The doctors and nurses who treated me started calling me the ‘Miracle man.'”
He was greeted with another standing ovation when he left the stage.