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IBHOF Modern Ballot: Rule Changes Create Tough Decisions For 2020


And all of a sudden, it’s a challenge once again.

After many years in which a few names separated themselves from the pack of “modern” fighters angling for International Boxing Hall of Fame induction, we’ve got ourselves a horse race.

Thanks in part to some rules changes implemented by the Central New York brain trust, several of the 11 first-time candidates on the ballot have serious cases to make when it comes to inclusion.

Foregoing the standard five-year waiting period between retirement and listing on the ballot, the powers-that-be at the IBHOF trimmed two years off – meaning fighters who’d last competed in either 2015 and 2016 and were not yet eligible under previous rules are now up for consideration.

Three of the 41 fighters on the ballot will be elected, in addition, thanks to another rule change, to anyone else receiving votes on at least 80 percent of the ballots.

Each modern elector can choose up to five fighters.

Among the new-rule newbies are Timothy Bradley, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley, each of whom last fought in 2016; along with Antonio Tarver, who was last active in 2015.

Not to mention the class of fighters who’d reached five years off and became eligible this year as scheduled – Jorge Arce, Carl Froch, Sergio Martinez and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Those eight fighters alone won championships in 19 weight classes.

“It’s an honor to be considered,” Tarver, a champion in two weight classes and winner of 31 fights across an 18-year pro career, told Boxing Scene on Monday.

“And it’ll be a dream realized if I’m fortunate enough to be elected,”

Now 50, Tarver turned pro in 1997 after winning bronze at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and captured his first world title at light heavyweight in 2003 with a decision over Montell Griffin.

He lost the belt to Roy Jones Jr. seven months later, but scored one of the most memorable knockouts in boxing history in the rematch, starching Jones with a single left hand in the second round of their May 2004 fight in Las Vegas.

He split a subsequent pair of fights with Glen Johnson and outpointed Jones in their trilogy match before a surprise loss to underdog Hopkins in 2006 in Atlantic City. The lifelong Floridian briefly held the IBF and IBO titles again in 2007 and 2008 before dropping two straight decisions to Chad Dawson.

He moved to cruiserweight and won another IBO belt with a TKO of Danny Green and ultimately jumped to heavyweight for three fights – winning two by stoppage and fighting to a draw in what turned out to be his final bout against Steve Cunningham in August 2015.

The 2020 induction ceremony, by the way, is pegged for June 14.

bernard-hopkins (5) (720x474)

And in keeping with a tradition in this space that’s yielded hate mail for suggesting no one named Gatti belongs in the hall without paid admission, here’s a wide-open look at my 2020 ballot.

My voting criteria, while admittedly not as scientific as some colleagues, is simple.

Was the fighter among the best in his peer group for a prolonged stretch of time? Not a one-year star or a popular guy who got TV time solely due to persona or style, but was he one of those guys – for at least a handful of years – who simply had to be on a short list of the best fighters in the world?

If the answer is yes – think Mayweather and Pacquiao – he’s got my vote.

If the answer is no – think Butterbean and Kardashian – he’s got my apologies.

So, with that, gentlemen… start your vitriol.


Yuri Arbachakov
Career: 1990-1997
Record: 23-1 (16)
Titles at: 112

Jorge Arce
Career: 1996-2014
Record: 64-8-2 (49)
Titles at: 108, 115, 118, 122

Paulie Ayala
Career: 1992-2004
Record: 35-3 (12)
Titles at: 118, 122

Nigel Benn
Career: 1987-1996
Record: 42-5-1 (35)
Titles at: 160, 168

Timothy Bradley
Career: 2004-2016
Record: 33-2-1 (13)
Titles at: 140, 147

Vuyani Bungu
Career: 1987-2005
Record: 39-5 (19)
Titles at: 122, 126

Ivan Calderon
Career: 2001-2012
Record: 35-3-1 (6)
Titles at: 105, 108

Joel Casamayor
Career: 1996-2011
Record: 38-6-1 (22)
Titles at: 130, 135

Sot Chitalada
Career: 26-4-1 (16)
Record: 1983-1992
Titles at: 112

Diego Corrales
Career: 1996-2007
Record: 40-5 (33)
Titles at: 130, 135

Chris Eubank
Career: 1985-1998
Record: 45-5-2 (23)
Titles at: 160, 168

Carl Froch
Career: 2002-2014
Record: 33-2 (24)
Titles at: 168

Leo Gamez
Career: 1985-2005
Record: 35-12-1 (26)
Titles at: 105, 108, 112, 115

Ricky Hatton
Career: 1997-2012
Record: 45-3 (32)
Titles at: 140, 147

Genaro Hernandez
Career: 1984-1998
Record: 38-2-1 (17)
Titles at: 130

Bernard Hopkins
Career: 1988-2016
Record: 55-8-2 (32)
Titles at: 160, 175

Chris John
Career: 1998-2013
Record: 48-1-3 (22)
Titles at: 126

Mikkel Kessler
Career: 1998-2013
Record: 46-3 (35)
Titles at: 168

Santos Laciar
Career: 1976-1990
Record: 79-10-11 (31)
Titles at: 112, 115

Rocky Lockridge
Career: 1978-1992
Record: 44-9 (36)
Titles at: 130

Miguel Lora
Career: 1979-1993
Record: 37-3 (17)
Titles at: 118

Sergio Martinez
Career: 1997-2014
Record: 51-3-2 (28)
Titles at: 154, 160

Juan Manuel Marquez
Career: 1993-2014
Record: 56-7-1 (40)
Titles at: 126, 130, 135

Rafael Marquez
Career: 1995-2013
Record: 41-9 (37)
Titles at: 118, 122

Henry Maske
Career: 1990-2007
Record: 31-1 (11)
Titles at: 175

Dariusz Michalczewski
Career: 1991-2005
Record: 48-2 (38)
Titles at: 175, 190

Sung-Kil Moon
Career: 1987-1993
Record: 20-2 (15)
Titles at: 115, 118

Michael Moorer
Career: 1988-2008
Record: 52-4-1 (40)
Titles at: 175, HWT

Shane Mosley
Career: 1993-2016
Record: 49-10-1 (41)
Titles at: 135, 147, 154

Orzubek Nazarov
Career: 1990-1998
Record: 26-1 (19)
Titles at: 135

Sven Ottke
Career: 1997-2004
Record: 34-0 (6)
Titles at: 168

Vinny Paz
Career: 1983-2004
Record: 50-10 (30)
Titles at: 135, 154, 168

Gilberto Roman
Career: 1981-1990
Record: 54-6-1 (35)
Titles at: 115

Gianfranco Rosi
Career: 1979-2006
Record: 62-6-1 (18)
Titles at: 154

Samuel Serrano
Career: 1969-1997
Record: 50-5-1 (17)
Titles at: 130

Antonio Tarver
Career: 1997-2015
Record: 31-6-1 (22)
Titles at: 175, 200

Meldrick Taylor
Career: 1984-2002
Record: 38-8-1 (20)
Titles at: 140, 147

Fernando Vargas
Career: 1997-2007
Record: 26-5 (22)
Titles at: 154

Israel Vazquez
Career: 1995-2010
Record: 44-5 (32)
Titles at: 122

Wilfredo Vazquez
Career: 1981-2002
Record: 56-9-2 (41)
Titles at: 118, 122, 126

Ratanapol Sor Vorapin
Career: 1990-2009
Record: 59-8-1 (48)
Titles at: 105

* * * * * * * * * *

This week’s legit title-fight schedule:

IBF featherweight title – Leeds, England
Josh Warrington (champion/No. 2 IWBR) vs. Sofiane Takoucht (No. 4 IBF/Unranked IWBR)
Warrington (29-0, 6 KO): Third title defense; Five of six KO/TKO wins in 12-rounders (13-0, 5 KO)
Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KO): First title fight; Two of three losses in 12-rounders (4-2-1, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: The IBF says Takoucht is the No. 4 contender for Warrington’s belt. He’s got four career wins against foes who’d won two in a row. The last was in 2012. Ridiculous. Warrington in 9 (100/0)

WBA light heavyweight title – Chicago, Illinois
Dmitry Bivol (champion/No. 5 IWBR) vs. Lenin Castillo (No. 15 WBA/No. 67 IWBR)
Bivol (16-0, 11 KO): Sixth title defense; Three straight decisions after 11 KO/TKO in first 13 fights
Castillo (20-2-1, 15 KO): First title fight; Has never gone beyond nine rounds in a win (0-1, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Bivol has gone the distance a few times after a series of KO wins, but he ought to get back on the early stoppage run against a low-level contender with zero pedigree victories. Bivol in 7 (100/0)

Last week's picks: 2-0 (WIN: Kyoguchi, Golovkin)
2019 picks record: 78-14 (84.7 percent)
Overall picks record: 1,089-357 (75.3 percent)

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by juandabomb on 10-15-2019

Tarver needs to wait his turn

Comment by NachoMan on 10-10-2019

[QUOTE=xxlefthookxx;20113613]Luck is when preparation meets opportunity...yes...but his eyes are closed and he landed the perfect shot. The first fight was against a Roy losing 20+ pounds of muscle..the second finished him off. It still shouldn't get Tarver into the HOF.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by Zaroku on 10-10-2019

what about southerland.. sic. spelling.. the mullet mauler.. 1st ballot HOShameFighter.

Comment by xxlefthookxx on 10-10-2019

[QUOTE=NachoMan;20110199]Tarver wasn't dominant enough for me to consider him first ballot HOFer, but that was no lucky punch against RJJr. He talked big to Roy then backed it up. Went 2 for 3 against Roy, in fact, and was very…

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 10-09-2019

[QUOTE=BrometheusBob.;20111692]I think it's borderline disrespectful to put butterbean in the conversation of a legend like Gatti. My point is, even if they were wrong to do so, they didn't put him in based on resume. So comparing resumes to his…

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