By Ted Sares :dunno: :dunno:
By listing the following possible inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, I am not necessarily advocating for their induction as much as I want to stir your juices and fuel some reasonable arguments. I'll leave the decision up to you.
Arturo "Thunder" Gatti: 40 - 8. If being an exciting fighter is a reason for induction, Gatti should get in when he is eligible......but is that the right criterion. But all Gatti's positives can be used as negatives. Should a Hall of Famer be in a life and death struggle every time out? Sue, he was "Mr. Excitement," sure he was Rocky Balboa, sure he came from behind after taking tremendous punishment.................but guys like Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore and Michael Spinks avoided such wars because they had superior skill-sets. Moreover, does beating "Irish" Micky Ward twice erase losing to Ivan Robinson twice? On the other hand, if Matthew Saad Muhammad got in, how can you keep Gatti out? As Jim King said in an article from Wail Magazine entitled, "Undeserved Hall of Famers?," ".....As for a real life Rocky? That's nice, but in real life there should be no Rocky's in the Hall. Just Apollo Creeds....." What do you think?
Virgil "Quicksilver" Hill: 50-5. He beat nine world champions, faced top German fighters.....in Germany, beat Fabrice Tiozzo twice....in France, won five world titles, has a 50-5 career record, an amazing 28 world title fights, three of his losses were against Hall of Fame worthy opponents, and he was stopped only once (by Roy Jones Jr.).
In between his Atlantic City title “book-ends,” he has fought tough competition holding two wins over Frank Tate, 41-5, two victories over Fabrice Tiozzo, 48-2 including one in which he overwhelmed Tiozzo decking him three times in a remarkable one round onslaught in Villeurbanne, France. He also has defeated Donny LaLonde, 41-5-1, James Toney conqueror Drake Thadzi, 30-9-1, Lou Del Valle, 35-3-1, Rufino Angulo, 21-3-3, Adolpho Washington, 31-9-2, Lottie Mwale, 44-9, Marvin Camel, 45-13-4, Jean-Marie Emebe, 27-7, Ramzi Hassan, 35-12-2, Marcos Geraldo, 60-28-1, Leslie Stewart, 31-12, Bobby Czyz, 44-8, James Kinchen, 49-9-2, and Henry Maske, 30-1. His 1996 win over Maske was in Munich and was the popular Maske's first loss. The combined won-lost record of just the opponents mentioned in this article is an impressive 833-149. As a fearless road warrior, ten of his big career fights have been in other countries including England, Germany, Australia, France and South Africa. Amazingly, he won seven of them
He is scheduled to fight Maske again next year.
Danny "Little Red" Lopez: 42-6. He was the younger brother of world welterweight contender Ernie "Indian Red"
Lopez and always offered pure excitement in the ring. He was one of the greatest "television fighters" of all time, as fights often turned into full-blown melodramas in which he overcame early and severe punishment to score sudden and spectacular knockouts...not unlike Gatti. While soft-spoken and humble, he was ferocious and unrelenting once the bell rang. In an era in which fights were regularly seen free on non-cable television, his name guaranteed monster ratings. After knocking out champions Chucho Castillo, Ruben Olivares, and Sean O'Grady, Lopez captured the WBC World Featherweight Title by decisioning David Kotey in 15 rounds. He went on to make 8 successful title defenses. Following back-to-back knockout defeats to Salvador Sanchez, he retired in 1980. That he has not even been nominated this year bothers me a lot. He was a Morrison, Garza, and Saad type who would rise from the canvas and take out his opponent in sudden and savage fashion. He fought in a Fight of the Year against Mike Ayala and finally lost two wars to the great Salvador "Chava" Sanchez. "Little Red," like the rest of the boxers on this list, was an extremely popular fighter.
Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini: There has always been a lot of melodrama associated with Mancini's career. The Kim tragedy, the thing about his winning the title for his dad, Lennie "Boom Boom" Mancini, who laid the ground work for young Ray's career, his struggles to make weight, his gameness, and so on. But this is not about that; it's about his wins over Goins, Kim, Frias, Espana, Ramirez, Feeney, Romero, Torres, and Chacon and his prospects for getting into the IHOF. His first world title attempt came against the great Alexis Arguello and was a spectacular one. Mancini gave Arguello considerable trouble, but the champion used his great experience to his advantage, took control and then took out "Boom Boom" savagely in the the 14th round. The fight was selected by many magazines as one of the more spectacular bouts of the 80's. Six months later, he challenged the new world champion, Arturo Frias (24-1 coming in), for the world lightweight title. Frias stunned Mancini early in round one and had him momentarily wobbly and bleeding from his eyebrow, but Mancini stormed back with a fury and dropped the champion with a wild combination. Mancini the proceeded to capture the title by trapping Frias against the ropes and after many unanswered blows, forced the referee to halt the fight. Ray was recorded as having thrown 33 punches in 22 seconds during a battle that could only be compared to a cock fight.
He would then lose the title by upset stoppage to a then unknown Livingston Bramble, 20-1-1, in 1984 but not before giving an all out effort, the result of which was an overnight stay at a hospital and over 70 stitches to close cuts around his eye. The Mancini camp had badly underestimated the colorful Virgin Islander. For all practical purposes, that was the end of his career, though he did lose a close and controversial decision to Bramble in the rematch...one that I thought he pulled off. A later comeback against Greg Haugen proved disastrous.
Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Paz: 50 - 10. His career covered 21 years and spanned eras in which there were truly great fighters in his weight limits and he would never back down from any of them. His opponents included Joseph Kiwanuka, Herol Graham, Arthur Allen, Glenwood " The Real Beast" Brown, Esteban Cervantes, Eric Lucas (against whom he would make his last title try), Aaron "Superman" Davis (who carved up Vinny's face like a turkey), Dana Rosenblatt (twice), Roy Jones Jr, Roberto Duran (twice), Robbie Sims, Lloyd Honeyghan, Gilbert Dele, Rafael Williams, Dan Sherry, Greg Haugen (thrice) Loreto Garza (where I believe Vinny lost to the referee and not to Garza), Hector Camacho (36-0 coming in), Roger Mayweather, Roberto Elizondo, Harry Arroyo, Jeff Bumphus, Melvin Paul, Brett Lally, and Louis Santana among others. All tough fighters. All with very good won-lost records. Vinny fought eleven who were world champions at one time or another and did this on 16 different occasions. He feared absolutely no one.
He fought in 15 different title fights. His fight with Roy Jones Jr was ill-advised and he took a terrible beating, though he bounced back with an upset win over undefeated Dana Rosenblatt (Dana would avenge this loss in a rematch which he won by a razor thin margin). His trilogy with Haugen was outstanding (he showed considerable boxing acumen in the third fight). He also fought the legendary Roberto Duran twice winning two close ones. One fight that was never made was with Mancini but I suspect that would have been a war of epic proportions. Oh my!
Earnie "The Acorn " Shavers: 74-14-1. Earnie was not a great boxer, but he was a thunderous puncher. He would come out bombing and seldom had a contingency plan. If he didn't get you fast, you might have a chance at him later, but one Shavers punch at any time could close out matters quicker than you can say "Acorn." Oh brother, could he hit! He fought in the 70's.....the golden era of heavyweights when guys like Frazier, Ali, Henry Cooper, Holmes, Norton, Tillis, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Ellis, Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle, Tex Cobb, George Chuvalo, Oscar Bonavena and Roy "Tiger" Williams were doing their thing. Shavers had awesome punching power. The following quotes express what Ernie Shaver was all about better than I can. Jimmy Young: "If I had to be hit by Earnie Shavers or George Foreman, I would rather not be hit by either one, but if I had to be hit by someone, let it be George Foreman." Tex Cobb: "Earnie could punch you in the neck with his right hand and break your ankle." Muhammad Ali: "Earnie hit me so hard he shook my kin-folk back in Africa." His ko percentage was an astounding 92%! Earnie may well have been the best heavyweight who never became world champion.