International Boxing Hall of Fame’s class of 2019The International Boxing Hall of Fame’s 2019 inductees were revealed on Wednesday. Here’s a look:
Modern Era InducteesDonald “Lone Star Cobra” Curry: Finally, after 15 years on the ballot! He was a welterweight with a career record of 34-6 (25 KOs). I think he was hurt by not meeting extremely high career expectations. Media and public projected him to be a $10 million fighter in the 1980s, which today would be like a $100 million fighter. He became a $2 or $3 million fighter, but his talents amateur and professional certainly are Hall of Fame worthy. He held all the major titles in the welterweight division,. I.B.F., W.B.C. and W.B.A. James “Buddy” McGirt: An old-school professional, two-time welterweight champion with record of 73-6-1 (48). He was a smart boxer with tricks of the trade and a throwback fighter for his time. It’s also a case of perseverance as the victim of the politics of boxing. When his first reign as champion ended in 1988 at the hands of Meldrick Taylor, it took Buddy 17 bouts to get another shot at a world title and he took full advantage when he dethroned Simon Brown. Lost belts to Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker as shoulder injuries hampered him late in his career. Julian “The Hawk” Jackson: Light middleweight and middleweight champion with a record of 55-6 (49). He may be the surprise inductee of the year. He is one of the all time hardest punchers nonetheless, and his YouTube knockout highlights have earned him a millennial fan base for those that see the dynamic power. Quiet, soft spoken outside of the ring, he would transform into a beast inside of the ropes.
Old Timers“Boston Bomber” Tony DeMarco: Welterweight champion with a record of 58-12-1 (33). He was a very popular New England fighter who had wars with Gasper Ortega and Virgil Atkins.
Non-participants inducteesDon Elbaum, promoter/matchmaker: He promoted more than 1,000 shows and worked with the likes of Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson and Aaron Pryor. Lee Samuels, publicist: The Top Rank Promotions publicist is a well deserved inductee. On a personal note, thanks for always taking car of me at Top Rank events! He is one of boxing’s hardest workers and a real class act.
Observers inducteesTeddy Atlas, broadcaster: Atlas wasMike Tyson’s first trainer who should also be honored as a trainer. As a broadcaster he has not been shy about exposing the corrupt side of the sport or to just give his honest opinion from someone that has been in the sport for more than 40 years. Mario Rivera, writer: The longtime Puerto Rican journalist received a posthumous honor. Guy Jutras, judge: Jutras had a five-bout career before becoming a judge. The Canadian official also was an inspector and supervisor of events.
Notables who didn’t get inRicky “The Hitman” Hatton: I suspect his time is coming. He has only been on the ballot for two years. Chris John: With a career record of 48-1-3 (22), the Indonesian fighter was a longtime featherweight champion. Among his victories was a unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. He didn’t fight much outside of his home country, but he was a master boxer. Perhaps the lack of exposure through his career is holding up his Hall of Fame honor. Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez: The junior lightweight champion had a record of 38-2-1 (17). A pure master boxer from South Central Los Angeles, his only losses were to Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather. The honor, when it happens, will be posthumous as cancer took his life too soon. His brother Rudy is one of the best trainers/cutmen in boxing and MMA today. Ivan Calderon: ThePuerto Rican was a 105 pound technician with a career record of 35-3-1 (6). There seems to be a theme as I don’t know if the lack of knockout artistry is keeping a certain few from the Hall of Fame. Every round that he showed his Picasso-like boxing skills was a site to admire. Wilfredo Vasquez: With a record of 56-9-2 (41), the junior featherweight and featherweight champion took on all comers. He is definitely deserving of Hall of Fame honors someday.
Praying for Adonis Stevenson’s recoveryIn other action on Saturday from Canada, the five-year reign of light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson came to an end when he lost his title via 11th round knockout at the hands of rising phenom Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Stevenson left the ring under his own power, but later collapsed. He was taken to a Quebec Hospital, where he recently was upgraded from critical to stable condition. He remains in a medically induced coma. Stevenson, who turned his street-tough life around, doesn’t deserve many of the comments from the blogs. What is shameful is the lack of sympathy by many of the fans. No one should wish such an injury or claim that anyone “deserves” it. For those who enter the ring, it is a reality that they may not be the same after a competition. A motivation inside of the ring often is the battles fighters face outside the sport as they seek a better way of life. Overall, it has been a great year for boxing and MMA, with plenty to look forward to in 2019. Watch out for my New Year’s resolutions for the combat sport industry in the next Jabs and Hooks. Have a great holiday season and New Year!
— Simon Ruvalcaba