Calling on The Hall of Fame: An Open Letter to The International Boxing Hall of Fame
By Antonio Santiago, Doghouse Boxing (June 23, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Jackie Kallen
On June 10th, the International Boxing Hall of Fame welcomed it’s new members, including Thomas “Tommy” Hearns, Freddie Roach, Michael Buffer and my countryman, Puerto Rican Herbert “Cocoa Kid” Hardwick. They are all well deserving, but, at the same time, for many, the non-selection of some fighters and boxing persons who keep getting ignored was disappointing. One boxer whose Facebook account is connected to mine and whose name I shall not reveal (he will be in my list) said that “One thinks after so much done in the ring, people will consider you”, after the latest elections were announced.

Here are then, what in my opinion are the Roger Marises of boxing, the people who deserve to be inducted to the IBHOF and are not. I hope the IBHOF listens to this open letter. Many of these are already in the less noted but apparently better informed, WBHOF.

United States:

Bennie Briscoe: 66-24-5, 53 KO’s. Many of Briscoe’s losses came late in his career. During his prime, he drew with Carlos Monzon, and lost to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, Luis Rodriguez and Rodrigo Valdez. Briscoe beat Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Vicente Rondon.

Marvin Johnson: 43-6, 35 KO’s. A three time world Light Heavyweight champion, the first to do so in history. Johnson fought Matthew Saad Muhammad, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Michael Spinks, and he beat Victor Galindez, Mate Parlov and Leslie Stewart (he also lost to Stewart).

Tony De Marco: 58-12-1, 33 KO’s: De Marco was once the world Welterweight champion and he beat Paddy De Marco, Johnny Saxton, Wallace “Bud” Smith, Kid Gavilan and Don Jordan, also facing Carmen Basilio (twice), Denny Moyer and Virgil Akins (twice).

Jackie Kallen: It seems, in boxing, that being a woman disqualifies you for the Hall of Fame. Except for Aileen Eaton, that is. Kallen is known as the manager of James Toney, Bronco McKart and many, many other famous boxers. She was the inspiration for the movie “Against The Ropes”. Kallen should be the drop that leads to a waterfall of women International Boxing Hall of Fame members.

Herbert Goldman: What this writer has done for boxing is paramount to, say, what Niles Rodgers did for anglo-music during the 70’s and 80’s. His work cannot be overlooked.

Ed Brophy: Yep, Mr. Brophy. You yourself. You may not think about it that way, but putting up a Hall of Fame in one building, making it respectable like all other Hall of Fames, makes you deserving if this honor.

Argentina:

Santos Laciar: 79-10-11, 30 KO’s. A two time world Flyweight and once Junior Bantamweight world champion, Laciar fought Luis Ibarra, Sugar Baby Rojas and Charlie Magri. He beat Peter Mathebula, Juan Herrera, Betulio Gonzalez, Prudencio Cardona, Hilario Zapata and Gilberto Roman (he lost and drew with Roman in subsequent bouts).

Colombia:

Rodrigo Valdez: 68-8-3, 42 KO’s. A two time world Middleweight champion, Valdes fought Carlos Monzon and Hugo Corro. He beat Bennie Briscoe, Gratien Tonna and Max Cohen. His two losses to Monzon were particularly close fights that sent the Argentine to retirement.

Cuba:

Teofilo Stevenson: The recently deceased Stevenson, a 3 time Olympic Heavyweight Gold medalist, did not turn professional and thus does not have a record or titles as a pro, but this is not the International Professional Boxing Hall of Fame, is it? Political ideas aside, he deserves to be in.

England:

Naseem Hamed: 36-1, 31 KO’s. Hamed was world Featherweight champion for six years. He beat Steve Robinson, Juan Polo Perez, Manuel Medina, Tom Johnson, Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., Kevin Kelley, Wayne McCollough, Paul Ingle, Cesar Soto and Vuyani Bungu, his only loss to Marco Antonio Barrera. Hamed was to 1990’s boxing what Sugar Ray Leonard was to the 80’s as far as flair and excitement. Love him or hate him, how could you tell me he does not belong?

Japan:

Jiro Watanabe: 26-2, 18 KO’s. Watanabe was the WBA and WBC world Super Flyweight champion at a time when dual champions were already at a prime. He lost to Gilberto Roman and to Chul Ho Kim, but he beat Rafael Pedroza, Payao Poontarat, Gustavo Ballas, Koji Kobayashi and Shoji Oguma. Although news reports have recently tied him to the Yakusa, denying him membership at the HOF is just criminal.

Mexico:

Jose Luis Ramirez: 102-9, 82 KO’s. A two time WBC World Lightweight champion, he fought Ruben Olivares, Alexis Arguello, Ray Mancini, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Hector Camacho Sr. and Juan Martin Coggi. He beat Edwin Rosario (having already lost to him), Cornelius Boza-Edwards and Pernell Whitaker (by controversial decision, he lost a rematch to Pernell). His loss to Arguello was debated.

Lupe Pintor: 56-14-2, 42 KO’s. WBC world Bantamweight and Super Bantamweight champion. Pintor fought Leo Cruz, Samart Payakaroon and Wilfredo Gomez, the latter in a holy cow war. He beat Carlos Zarate (by controversial decision), Alberto Davila (he had lost their first fight) and Juan ‘Kid” Meza.

Panama:

Hilario Zapata: 43-10-1, 14 KO’s. Zapata was a two time world Junior Flyweight champion and once world Flyweight champion. He fought Amado Ursua, Santos Laciar, Fidel Bassa and Sun Kil Moon. He beat Juan Guzman, Shigeo Nakajima, Joey Olivo, German Torres, Nertroi Sor Vorashing, Tadashi Tomori twice, and Jung Koo Chang (he lost to him in a rematch).

Philippines:

Ceferino Garcia, 107-13-1. World Middleweight champion, Garcia fought the likes of Barney Ross, Ken Overlin and Henry Armstrong, holding Armstrong to a draw in defense of his Middleweight crown, the only thing that kept Armstrong from being the first four division world champion in boxing.

Puerto Rico:

The four Puerto Ricans: Carlos Sugar De Leon, 52-8-1, 32 KO’s, Alfredo Escalera, 53-14-3, 31 KO’s, Samuel “Sammy” Serrano, 50-5-1, 17 KO’s, and Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., 56-9-2, 41 KO’s, all, except for Escalera, were multiple time World champions. Escalera was champion only once, but he defended that crown ten times before giving it in a battle royal with Alexis Arguello. All deserve to be in.

So what’s it gonna be, IBHOF? The ball…or glove, whatever way you want to say it, is in your court (or ring).
Please send all Questions and comments to Antonio at TJ69662094@aol.com.

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