TI have International Boxing Hall of Fame a new wing may have to be built to accommodate all the inductees after this weekend’s ceremonies.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. This alone makes Sunday’s event one of the most anticipated in recent years. Add fighters like Roy Jones Jr., Andre Ward and Bernard Hopkins – as well as a few trailblazing women – and the boxing gym in tiny Canastota, New York, is filling up fast.
The last two ceremonies have been canceled due to the pandemic. So there’s a three-year class of 27 fighters – and a total of 36 honorees – that should please even the most casual boxing fan.
This includes a new women’s category led by Leila Ali and Christy Martinwho rose to fame when she was featured on some of Mike Tyson’s fight cards in the 1990s.
The organizers report that the presence of all fighters is expected, except for one. former heavyweight champion Vladimir Klichko is in Ukraine with his brother Vitaliy, helping to run the capital Kyiv during the ongoing war against the Russian invasion. Vitaliy Klichkothe major of Kyiv, also a former heavyweight champion, was inducted in 2018.
There are so many fighters that the event will take place in a nearby casino, and not in Canastota. Instead of battling each other, the inductees will find themselves fighting for time for their acceptance speeches at the biggest intro in a small hall that honors the greatest boxers.
Here is a look at some of the conscripts:
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
One of the greatest fighters of all time and definitely one of the best defense fighters. His 50-0 record suggests perfection, but Mayweather is probably better known for capitalizing on his career better than any other fighter before him. He invented the Money May man, but the money was very real, including the roughly $200 million he earned to fight Manny Pacquiao in the richest fight ever. Mayweather also saved up similar money to fight UFC’s Conor McGregor, and his record as pay-per-view king could stand for a long time to come. Is he the greatest fighter he claims to be? No, but that doesn’t stop him from participating in the conversation.
The Executioner was by far one of the greatest middleweights of all time, with a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses, which he won in 1995. Hopkins later moved up to 175 pounds and set the record as the oldest champion when he defeated Jean Pascal at age 46 to win the light heavyweight title. Two years later, he won the title again at the age of 48. Hopkins made his biggest win when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya with a body punch in their 2004 decider, and then won again when he joined De La Hoya as a Golden shareholder. Boys stock. Not only a great fighter, but also a great speaker, especially when it comes to his career.
ROY JONES JR.
In his prime, he skillfully combined speed and power, so agile that opponents could hardly even hit him. Jones had his gold medal stolen from the 1988 Olympics, but won titles in four different weight divisions. One of those titles came at heavyweight when he defeated John Ruiz in 2003, but the abrupt transition from light heavyweight took its toll on Jones, who lost three of his next four fights at 175 pounds. His legacy was further eroded because after that he fought another 15 years with average results.
One of two bumbling heavyweight brothers who grew up in the Soviet boxing system, Klitschko’s career nearly ended in 2004 when he was stopped by Lamon Brewster. He returned from that loss to dominate the heavyweight division for nearly a decade, fighting most of the time in Germany where he had a large following. More casual fans didn’t like his cautious style, but Klitschko showed he could fight too when he ditched Anthony Joshua in front of 90,000 people in London before being stopped in 2017 in what was to be his last fight. Klitschko has been in Ukraine with his brother Vitali ever since Russia invaded their country.
Her story was as exciting as her fights, and Martin had a big scene on the undercard of some of Tyson’s pay-per-view fights. She was a resilient fighter who was constantly moving forward, and her bloody fight with Deidra Gogarty on the Tyson undercard in 1996 made many boxing fans realize that women’s fights were real. Martin is later shot and killed by her husband and trainer, who is currently serving a prison sentence. Also appointed on the women’s side was Layla Ali, who carried the weight of her famous father’s name as she fought for a 24-0 record at a time when women’s boxing was not taken seriously.
Take your pick from a group of current candidates including Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Shane Mosley and James Toney. They are all the best fighters who could headline any other ceremony that didn’t include some of the greatest fighters.