Quality Quintet: Hatton, Morales and Winky highlight IBHOF class


By Lyle Fitzsimmons

It’s probably not his fault, but I’m still going to blame Edward Brophy.

The executive director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame had zero impact on when my parents met, married and decided to have children, so my blessed arrival on day No. 45 of Richard Nixon’s presidency was likely not determined by anything over which he or his minions had control.

But make no mistake, as I look at the envelope that originated from his 13032 postal code, it’s him who’s making me feel each one of my 48 years, seven months and five days.

As it has each year since I became a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Mr. Brophy’s enveloped correspondence again contained the hall of fame voting ballot that gives me a small sliver of influence on the fighters that will and will not be included for induction the following year.

The 2018 ceremony, by the way, is pegged for June 18.

And if you haven’t been a part of an induction weekend in Canastota, do yourself a favor.

Anyway, continuing a recent swerve from past ballot procedures, the timeframe constituting old-timers up for consideration has been greatly expanded, and this year again includes those whose final bout was as recent as 1989.

For all those walking with me through the early steps of middle age, I’ll let that sink in a bit.


We were in college. We had jobs. We had cars. We had girlfriends. In fact, come to think of it, we had all the preliminary trappings of eventual adulthood, minus the mortgage and the kid and the 401K.

Then, I was 20. Now, I’m an old-timer.


I can’t speak for the similarly creaky masses, but when I hear the phrase “old-timer,” I still conjure black-and-white movie visions of Joe Louis pounding the fight out of Max Schmeling in their 1938 rematch.

Or, at the very least, the image of my grandfather-in-law, Granville Cowden, standing alongside Jack Dempsey in the framed restaurant photo that hangs about five feet from where I sit as I write this.

When I was a young fight fan, the matches that occurred 28 years prior seemed so old that they might as well have been witnessed by dinosaurs. Last year, a guy whose amateur swan song and professional debut I watched as a teenager – Evander Holyfield – was voted in to the hall.

But lest I spend too much time in a nostalgic self-pitying funk, there’s work to be done. Alongside relics of my youth whose last fights came no later than the first year of the first Bush Era, there are no fewer than 32 names up for consideration as “modern” inductees – meaning their last fights came somewhere in the 21-year stretch between Jan. 1, 1989 and Dec. 31, 2012.

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 ballot for those “fresh” faces.

My voting criteria, while admittedly not as scientifically eloquent 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.

And with that, gentlemen, start your vitriol.
Yuri Arbachakov
Career: 1990-1997
Record: 23-1 (16)
Titles at: 112

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

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

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

Donald Curry
Career: 1980-1997
Record: 34-6 (25)
Titles at: 147, 154

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

Julian Jackson
Career: 1981-1998
Record: 55-6 (49)
Titles at: 154, 160

Vitali Klitschko
Career: 1996-2012
Record: 45-2 (41)
Titles at: HWT

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

Buddy McGirt
Career: 1982-1997
Record: 73-6-1 (48)
Titles at: 140, 147

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

Erik Morales
Career: 1993-2012
Record: 52-9 (36)
Titles at: 122, 126, 130, 140

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 Pazienza
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

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

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

Winky Wright
Career: 1990-2012
Record: 51-6-1 (25)
Titles at: 154

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Weekly title-fight schedule:

IBF junior middleweight title – Brooklyn, New York
Jarrett Hurd (champion/No. 5 IWBR) vs. Austin Trout (No. 11 IBF/Unranked IWBR)
Hurd (20-0, 14 KO): First title defense; Three fights beyond six rounds (3-0, 3 KO)
Trout (30-3, 17 KO): Eighth title fight (5-2); No wins since September 2015 (0-1, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Trout, a title-level veteran, surely has the skills to give his younger foe some rough moments. But it’s a good guess that Hurd will ultimately get his work done. Hurd by decision

IBO/WBA super welterweight titles – Brooklyn, New York
Erislandy Lara (IBO, WBA champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Terrell Gausha (No. 6 WBA/No. 29 IWBR)
Lara (24-2-2, 14 KO): Fifth WBA title defense; Second fight in New York (1-0, 0 KO) 
Gausha (20-0, 9 KO): First title defense; In 20 fights, has competed in nine states
Fitzbitz says: The challenger is accomplished and skilled, but he’s had zero experience on the highest level and is facing the wrong guy when it comes to trying to gain traction. Lara by decision

WBA super middleweight title – London, England
George Groves (champion/No. 3 IWBR) vs. Jamie Cox (No. 9 WBA/No. 57 IWBR)
Groves (26-3, 19 KO): First title defense; Lost first three title fights before winning No. 4
Cox (24-0, 13 KO): First title fight; Third fight scheduled for 12 rounds (2-0, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Groves finally broke through to the championship level after years of misfires and he doesn’t figure to drop the jewelry to a comparatively untested opponent. Groves by decision

WBA featherweight title – Carson, California
Leo Santa Cruz (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Chris Avalos (No. 11 WBA/No. 18 IWBR)
Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KO): First title defense; Held IBF title at 118 pounds and WBC belt at 122
Avalos (27-5, 20 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Third fight in featherweight division (1-1, 1 KO)
Fitzbitz says: It’s a nice opportunity for a rugged guy like Avalos to get, but he’s never proven his mettle on the brightest stage and it’s likely to be a grinding, painful trip to the exits. Santa Cruz in 9

WBC super welterweight title – Brooklyn, New York
Jermell Charlo (champion/No. 3 IWBR) vs. Erickson Lubin (No. 1 WBC/No. 7 IWBR)
Charlo (29-0, 14 KO): Second title defense; Second fight in New York (1-0, 1 KO)
Lubin (18-0, 13 KO): First title fight; Only one fight has gone past eight rounds (1-0, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: A good fight that matches a pair of high-quality unbeaten youngsters. Charlo gets the nod here because he’s accomplished more on the championship level, but it’s close. Charlo by decision

Last week's picks: 1-0 (WIN: Eubank)
2017 picks record: 70-25 (73.6 percent)
Overall picks record: 892-299 (74.8 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Mzembe on 10-12-2017

[QUOTE=yankees7448;18127826]Correcting unsubstantiated bias is not a small matter. To those who harp on such things. No one put an asterisk next to Sugar Ray Leonard's victory over Marvin Hagler. I am not going to do the same. And for the…

Comment by yankees7448 on 10-11-2017

[QUOTE=Dr.Cool;18127032]Michalczewski doesn't deserve to be in. Though DM was a huge miss for RJJ. RJJ in his prime had DM who was vying for best in the same weight class and Hopkins vying for best p4p. This was the scene…

Comment by yankees7448 on 10-11-2017

[QUOTE=Mzembe;18127514]-------------------------------------------------------------- So the only response you have is that you are not British. Ok, I take that back. [/QUOTE] Correcting unsubstantiated bias is not a small matter. [QUOTE] Controversial win is still a win, no doubt about that but it…

Comment by Mzembe on 10-11-2017

[QUOTE=yankees7448;18126018]I am not British. I am not here to fight battles from the past. Controversial wins still count as wins.[/QUOTE] -------------------------------------------------------------- So the only response you have is that you are not British. Ok, I take that back. Controversial win…

Comment by Teetotaler on 10-11-2017

[QUOTE=OnePunch;18126118]Hatton had a good career, but beating old Zoo and old Castillo and losing to Collazo shouldnt get you in the HOF Lockridge should get in just for the street KO in front of the[/QUOTE] He lost to collazo?…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (39)
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