By Thomas Gerbasi - Itís been the same ritual every year for the last few. The International Boxing Hall of Fame sends out its ballot in the fall, I check off the name Naseem Hamed and send it back to Ed Brophy and his stalwart crew in Canastota, New York.
By the time the ballots sent in by the rest of my colleagues are counted, Hamed is nowhere to be found on the list of inductees. That wonít stop me from believing the ever-polarizing ďPrinceĒ deserves induction among boxingís best, and it certainly wonít stop me from voting for him.
The question is, will he have company on the deserving but not voted in list as Arturo Gatti is added to the ballot? Thatís the question floating around the boxing world as ballots are being distributed this week. Should a fighter who doesnít qualify as one of the best ever be included in a fraternity that, in theory, should be reserved for the greatest boxers to ever lace up the gloves?
Itís a question Iíve asked since 2005, two years before the end of Gattiís career, and four years before his tragic death in 2009.
For the record, in a piece I wrote in January of 2005, I believed Gatti deserved induction to the Hall based on his body of work and impact on the sport up to that date. In those final two career years, he only won two of five fights, beating a legitimate former world champion in Jesse James Leija and 37-0 European standout Thomas Damgaard. The losses were to a lock for Canastota, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and two decent, but not superstar-level, foes in Carlos Baldomir and Alfonso Gomez. [Click Here To Read More