The International Boxing Hall of Fame and its inductions that have yet to come

Holly Stein

Every year Canastota, NY is the home to new Hall of Fame enshrinements. What new faces can we expect to see there in the years to come?

After 5 complete years have passed since a boxer's last fight he becomes eligible for the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF). Some fighters get inducted based on greatness, others get in on popularity, and the extra special get in on both. As 1990 was the initial IBHOF induction year all 20 modern inductees were all-time greats. Candidates who had their last fight no earlier than 1943 are considered modern. There were 11 more inductees in 1991, 7 in 1992, 4-5 from 1993-2005, and 3 each year ever since. Being an all-time great probably stopped being a pre-requisite as early as 1992 when Ken Norton was inducted (all due respect to Norton who might still be a cut above some that have been inducted since).

So, 23 years later after exhausting pretty much all of the eligible and undisputed greats, what's the caliber of modern fighters that get into the Hall today? Well, that depends. Some years you'll be hard pressed to find 3 new eligible greats and other years the choices are stacked. 2013 was one of the lesser years. These are the relevant (to my article) choices voters considered:

2013

Arturo Gatti (made on 1st ballot)

Virgil Hill (made on 1st ballot)

Myung-Woo Yuh (made on 14th year of eligibility)

Henry Maske (missed on 1st ballot)

Fernando Vargas (1st year eligible but didn't make ballot)

Diego Corrales (1st year eligible but didn't make ballot)

Not that I personally agreed with it, but I knew that Gatti and Hill would both be inducted. Yuh on the other hand was a pleasant surprise, although he wouldn't have necessarily gotten my vote either (if I could vote). Members of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and an international panel of boxing historians cast votes, per the IBHOF website.

In any event Gatti and Hill got in on the 1st ballot while Maske, Vargas, and Corrales did not. As far as boxing ability goes Gatti was easily the worst of the lot but made up for it with 4 "Fights of the Year." Corrales had 1 FOTY, arguably the fight of the decade, and was genuinely an elite fighter, but c'est la vie. Vargas was an elite action fighter too who managed to get decisions over Winky Wright (debatable) and Ike Quartey (definitive) but fell short against fighters that couldn't really beat them (Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya).

And no, Oscar De La Hoya did not beat Ike Quartey. I don't care what anyone tells you. It never happened. You scored it for DLH? Well, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Moving on...last (but not least?) is Henry Maske. Obviously the loss to Hill ensured that Hill would get priority vote over him. Maske did come out of retirement to avenge it over 11 years later, but by then the rematch was hardly relevant. Hill had a few million miles on his in-ring odometer and Maske got to retire (again) with victories over every man he ever faced. Ironically, perhaps Maske's greatest triumph came in dethroning the man that Hill forever ducked, Prince Charles Williams. Both enjoyed long reigns as the IBF light heavyweight champion. Maske was additionally an Olympic Gold Medalist, which actually does help a fighter get inducted (see Laszlo Papp). Not sure that should have been enough to make the ballot over Corrales and Vargas, but again, such is life...
Alright, enough about the past (for now). Let's look at future inductions in the years to come!

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Class of 2014

Oscar De La Hoya

Felix Trinidad

Riddick Bowe

Joe Calzaghe

Vernon Forrest

Michael Moorer

Honorable mention: Manuel Medina, Reggie Johnson, Stevie Johnston, Yutaka Niida, Verno Phillips, Ray Mercer, Saoul Mamby, Chatchai Sasakul, Wayne McCullough, Raul Marquez, Corrie Sanders, Melchor Cob Castro

Semi-honorable mention: Markus Beyer, Henry Akinwande, Tommy Morrison, Sultan Ibragimov, Katsushige Kawashima, Nelson Dieppa, Imamu Mayfield

Now this is a stacked class. I won't even bother discussing the merits of De La Hoya and Trinidad, 2 obvious 1st ballot inductees, because any boxing fan that reads my blogs (ie a select few) should already know them well enough. They're getting in and there's no need for discussion.

However, what I do want to discuss is who gets slot #3? Bowe, Calzaghe, Forrest, and Moorer are all strong candidates. If any 1 of them was eligible in 2013, they would have got in. But (yet again) así es la vida. And yes, I really have written "such is life" in 3 different languages now...

So, who's going to make it? I've narrowed it down to Bowe and Calzaghe, Bowe because I think he's the best of the bunch and Calzaghe because apparently he's the front runner. Why is Calzaghe the front runner? Well, probably because people have short memories and his days as an elite fighter are most recent. Forrest was never the same after Ricardo Mayorga wrecked him in 2003. Moorer lost his passion for the sport following the loss to Foreman in 1994. And Bowe was noticeably past his prime since the 2nd half of the 90s.

On the other hand, Calzaghe remained an elite fighter all the way to his final fight (even though he did get dropped by the ghost of Roy Jones Jr in the 1st round). His credentials are mostly in the numbers. Calzaghe retired undefeated (46-0) with world titles in 2 divisions. After defending his WBO super middleweight title 21 times (a division record shared with Sven Ottke) he finally became the undisputed super middleweight champion by beating a prime Mikkel Kessler. Well, I suppose Lucian Bute fans might dispute that...

Nonetheless, by the numbers Calzaghe's record screams Hall of Fame. Unfortunately upon taking a closer look at the fighters Calzaghe beat, and when he beat them, his resume leaves a lot to be desired. In 46 wins I only count 10 opponents that were world class and 4 of them had seen better days. I also thought he got a gift against Robin Reid (but to be fair I thought Bowe was lucky to defeat Tony Tubbs). At the very least Reid and Bernard Hopkins did well enough to deserve rematches, but Calzaghe "didn't do rematches," that is, aside from a guy he knocked out in the 1st round. And yes, I understand the rematch happened because Mario Veit became the WBO mandatory. Those WBO title defenses were precious to Calzaghe, even though the WBO wasn't actually recognized as a legit world sanctioning body through the majority of his reign.

So let's be honest, how much of a "lock" is Joe Calzaghe really? He wouldn't be the first qualified UK fighter to not get in on the 1st ballot. Hell, Chis Eubank, Nigel Benn, and Naseem Hamed still aren't in. Also, it's not like Calzaghe is a heavyweight, a division the IBHOF CLEARLY has lower standards for.

Thus we move back to "Big Daddy" Bowe, easily the greatest eligible heavyweight not already in the IBHOF. His trilogy with the great Evander Holyfield (more on him later) is one of the most memorable rivalries in boxing. It even has its own ESPN Ringside Special. The first fight, which Bowe won, was the 1992 Fight of the Year. That accomplishment alone is greater and more famous than anything Joe Calzaghe has ever done. Holyfield was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and Bowe beat the hell out of him (particularly in the 1st half 10th which ultimately became the Round of the Year).

However, aside from Holyfield, Bowe's resume is somewhat similar to Calzaghe's, but that's because he washed out after only 7 years as a professional. What's Calzaghe's excuse for doing no better in twice the amount of time?
Nonetheless, it must be noted that Bowe was first eligible for induction in 2002 before unfortunately coming out of retirement in 2004. How he was beat out by Ingemar Johansson that year I will never fully understand. All due respect to Ingo, but a serious heavyweight rankings list has never existed with his name above Bowe's.

Alright, that was fun, but, time to keep it light from here on. I can write more about the fighters getting nominated down the line, down the line...

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Class of 2015

Chris Byrd

Julio Cesar Vasquez

Joichiro Tatsuyoshi

Vassiliy Jirov

Artur Grigorian

Honorable mention: Nikolay Valuev, Clinton Woods, Keith Holmes, Daniel Santos, Javier Castillejo, Kevin Kelley, Oscar Larios, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin

Semi-honorable mention: Victor Emilio Ramirez, Kelvin Davis, Lou Del Valle, Denis Inkin, Carl Daniels, Michele Piccirillo, Carlos Hernandez, Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai, Mahyar Monshipour, Bernard Dunne, Isaac Bustos, Brahim Asloum, Daniel Reyes

Needless to say 2015 is not a very strong class. Chris Byrd is the front runner. I mean, I love Byrd. That's my man 100 grand. But come on. He's the front runner? Fighters unlucky to be part of the 2014 class may get the green light this year.

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Class of 2016

Hector Camacho Sr

Veeraphol Sahaprom

Israel Vazquez

Edwin Valero

Honorable mention: Gerry Penalosa, Shannon Briggs, Lamon Brewster, Jose Luis Lopez, Jesus Chavez, Guty Espadas Jr, Volodymyr Sydorenko, Daisuke Naito, Andriy Kotelnik

Semi-honorable mention: John Ruiz, Herbie Hide, Arthur Williams, Jeff Lacy, Eric Lucas, Julien Lorcy, Nestor Garza, Jorge Rodrigo Barrios, Somsak Sithchatchawal, Steven Luevano, Clarence Adams, Felix Machado, Martin Castillo, Takefumi Sakata, Isidro Garcia

Hector Camacho Sr leads the 2016 class and I've previously already detailed why he'll get in. This class is solid, but I doubt newcomers will get all 3 modern induction spots. I like Veeraphol Sahaprom the next most, but who really knows him? Veeraphol is most famous for winning a legitimate world title in his 4th pro fight and his 4 fight series with Toshiaki Nishioka (which he won 2-0-2). His 2-0 mark against Joichiro Tatsuyoshi is pretty awesome, too.

Then of course there's Israel Vazquez. Vazquez probably will get in because he's the closest thing to Arturo Gatti in terms of entertainment since Gatti, and he was actually an elite fighter. His 4 fight series with Rafael Marquez (which should have ended as a trilogy) will never be forgotten. Fights 2 and 3 were voted Fight of the Year (both of which Vazquez won).

No comment on Edwin Valero. I know he's an undefeated 2 division world champion with all of his victories by way of knockout, but let's be serious. For a guy with 8 world title fights, his resume is awful. If only he wasn't a suicidal/homicidal maniac; he might have really accomplished something great. OK, I guess that does count as a comment.

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Class of 2017

Evander Holyfield

Marco Antonio Barrera

Johnny Tapia

Joel Casamayor

Antonio Margarito

Honorable mention: O'Neil Bell, Montell Griffin, William Joppy, Ricardo Mayorga, Freddie Norwood, Medgoen Singsurat

Semi-honorable mention: Samuel Peter, Alfred Cole, Hugo Hernan Garay, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, Adrian Diaconu, Santiago Samaniego, Maselino Masoe, Roman Karmazin, Kassim Ouma, Sebastian Sylvester, Diosbelys Hurtado, David Diaz, Jorge Solis, Nicky Cook, Cesar Soto, Yonnhy Perez, Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, Jose Antonio Aguirre, Muhammad Rachman

And once again we have another stacked class. Holyfield and Barrera are locks for sure, no questions asked. Then Tapia leads the rest of the pack. But, it's difficult to say if Tapia gets in over all outstanding members of prior classes. He's a 3 division world champion who got to 46-0-2 before his 1st (dubious) loss, dubbed the 1999 Fight of the Year, but still...

Also, shout out to Casamayor and Margarito too. They won't get in on the 1st ballot but deserve to be in the conversation. Many fans will take exception to Margarito making my top 5, but oh well. Unless they go back and change his wins to no contests (they won't) I will accept what the man accomplished (a lot). If you don't think his resume is worthy regardless, feel free to voice your displeasure. I'm willing to debate it unless of course I've got something better to do that day (most likely) and might have to defer to the president of the Margarito fan club (readily willing to argue with anyone on twitter). What up jro?

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Class of 2018

Ronald (Winky) Wright

Paul Williams

Ricky Hatton

Ivan Calderon

Toshiaki Nishioka

Kelly Pavlik

And then there was the mediocre class of 2018. In a way I'm glad it's mediocre because I had my doubts about Winky Wright getting in someday. This should make it pretty easy for him. He has no real competition even though my next top choice is the 1st man to clearly beat him since Julio Cesar Vasquez did 15 years earlier. Wright was old and semi-retired by the time Williams got to him.

At the end of the day Winky Wright is the greatest junior middleweight since Terry Norris and his middleweight resume is pretty damn solid too. I had him a comfortable winner over Harry Simon and Fernando Vargas (although judges thought otherwise). Speaking of Harry Simon, he's still undefeated and has a fight scheduled next month (September, 2013). Him and Paul Spadafora just keep on keeping on...

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Class of 2019

Finally we arrive at the last year I can even begin to speculate about, as fighters retiring in 2013 first become eligible in 2019. If Erik Morales retires this year, which looks likely, then he's your guy in 2019. I'm not sure who will join him as the year is far from over, but he's a lock (provided he actually retires). That being said, I really don't want to think about 2019 anymore. By then I'll be an old man (if I'm even alive).

Anyways, let me finish by listing some active fighters I don't think we need to speculate about finding their way to a ballot someday.

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The Future

  • Bernard Hopkins
  • Chris John
  • Fernando Montiel
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr
  • James Toney
  • Jorge Arce
  • Juan Manuel Marquez
  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Miguel Cotto
  • Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
  • Rafael Marquez
  • Roy Jones Jr
  • Shane Mosley
  • Vic Darchinyan
  • Vitali Klitschko
  • Wladimir Klitschko

Note: I'm probably forgetting a few locks and I'm obviously leaving out a lot of lesser candidates that could easily make the ballot depending on the strength of the year.

Alright, casual fans can stop reading now (if they even bothered to get this far to begin with). I said I was done, so, if you stop reading as far as you know I've kept my word...

However, for those of you who remain, it's history time! So let me whip out all of those candidates from yesteryear that I referred to earlier...

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Modern Candidates Lost in the Shuffle, Pre-2013 (first year of eligibility in parenthesis)

  • Al Hostak (1990)
  • Alberto Davila (1994)
  • Alfonso Zamora (1990)
  • Alphonse Halimi (1990)
  • Armando Muniz (1990)
  • Benny Goldberg (1990)
  • Bert Gilroy (1990)
  • Betulio Gonzalez (1994)
  • *California Jackie Wilson (1990)
  • Ceferino Garcia (1990)
  • *Chris Eubank (2004)
  • Clarence Henry (1990)
  • Cleveland Williams (1990)
  • Cornelius Boza Edwards (1993)
  • Dariusz Michalczewski (2011)
  • Dave Sands (1990)
  • David Schultz Moore (1990)
  • Del Flanagan (1990)
  • Denny Moyer (1990)
  • Don Jordan (1990)
  • Donald Curry (2003)
  • Eddie Booker (1990)
  • Efren Torres (1990)
  • Ernesto Marcel (1990)
  • Ernie Terrell (1990)
  • Esteban De Jesus (1990)
  • Fabela Chavez (1990)
  • Freddie Mills (1990)
  • Gaspar Ortega (1990)
  • Genaro Hernandez (2004)
  • Georgie Abrams (1990)
  • Gerald McClellan (2001)
  • Glen Flanagan (1990)
  • Greg Haugen (2005)
  • Gus Lesnevich (1990)
  • Gustave Roth (1990)
  • Harry Jeffra (1990)
  • Hiroyuki Ebihara (1990)
  • Horacio Accavallo (1990)
  • *Ike Quartey (2012)
  • Jackie Graves (1990)
  • Jackie Wilson (1990)
  • Jerry Quarry (1998)
  • Jesus Pimentel (1990)
  • Jimmy Carruthers (1990)
  • Johnny Bratton (1990)
  • Johnny Famechon (1990)
  • Johnny Gonsalves (1990)
  • Johnny Saxton (1990)
  • Joey Archer (1990)
  • Joey Giambra (1990)
  • Jose Beccera (1990)
  • Jose Legra (1990)
  • Jose Luis Ramirez (1996)
  • Juan Zurita (1990)
  • Julian Jackson (2004)
  • Ken Overlin (1990)
  • Kenny Lane (1991)
  • Kid Azteca (1990)
  • Kid Tunero (1990)
  • Lauro Salas (1990)
  • *Leo Gamez (2011)
  • Lionel Rose (1990)
  • Lou Nova (1990)
  • Lou Salica (1990)
  • Lupe Pintor (2001)
  • Mando Ramos (1990)
  • Marty Servo (1990)
  • Marvin Johnson (1993)
  • Masao Oba (1990)
  • Melio Bettina (1990)
  • Miguel Lora (1999)
  • Naseem Hamed (2008)
  • Paul Pender (1990)
  • Pete Scalzo (1990)
  • Peter Kane (1990)
  • Phil Terranova (1990)
  • Pone Kingpetch (1990)
  • Rafael Herrera (1992)
  • Ralph Dupas (1990)
  • Raul Macias (1990)
  • Ray Lunny (1990)
  • Ray Mancini (1998)
  • Rinty Monaghan (1990)
  • Richie Lemos (1990)
  • *Rodolfo Casanova (1990)
  • Rodolfo Gonzalez (1990)
  • Samuel Serrano (2003)
  • Santos Benigno Laciar (1996)
  • Sean O'Grady (1990)
  • Sven Ottke (2010)
  • Tiger Jack Fox (1990)
  • Tippy Larkin (1990)
  • Tommy Farr (1990)
  • Tony DeMarco (1990)
  • Tony Olivera (1990)
  • Wilfredo Vazquez Sr (2008)
  • Yaqui Lopez (1990)
  • Yoko Gushiken (1990)
  • Yoshio Shirai (1990)

-Most candidates listed above have made IBHOF ballots in the past and/or are WBHF inductees. If I missed anyone that meets those parameters please let me know. Other names (starred) include personal picks of mine which I'm willing to argue for. There are several other candidates worth enshrinement, especially considering the caliber of some of the fighters listed above, but I'll let someone else argue their cases for now...

Gee willikers Batman, that's a lot!!!

And that's why we'll never run out of people to induct into the Hall of Fame. The end.

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OK I lied (again). There's one more subject I'd like to cover (for reelz this time, guyz, we swears; we swears...on the precious).

I'll wrap it up with a mini-rant about how female fighters are unjustly excluded from the IBHOF. It's sexism, plain and simple, and such a thing is uncalled for in this day and age. I don't want to call the people in charge of this decision misogynistic, but, if the shoe fits... Non-fighters like Sylvester Stallone get in. Are the greatest female fighters less deserving than him? Maybe some of you really do think so. Sigh.

Anyways, if I had my own female boxing hall of fame, these women would make up the 1st class (though some still need to retire):

  • Ana Maria Torres
  • Ann Wolfe
  • Anne Sophie Mathis
  • Christy Martin
  • Holly Holm
  • Laila Ali
  • Layla McCarter
  • Lucia Rijker
  • Marcela Eliana Acuna
  • Mary Jo Sanders
  • Mia St John
  • Regina Halmich

Some are pioneers. Some transcended the sport. And some are just plain great. But they all deserve enshrinement. Hopefully someone important will realize that someday and make it happen.

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Ryan Bivins is a staff writer for BadLeftHook. You can contact him on twitter (@sweetboxing) or through email (rgbivins@gmail.com).

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