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KO SUCCESS! NY State Boxing Hall Induction Dinner Report

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All Agree! New York State Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2014 Induction Ceremony Is A  Knockout; A Sellout Crowd Roared With Delight

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NYSBHOF CLASS OF 2014

(L-R) Seated – Mustafa Hamsho, Tracy Patterson, Billy Backus, Gene Moore, Howard Davis Jr and Juan LaPorte; Standing – Steve Farhood, Keven Kelley, Lou DiBella, Teddy Atlas and Gerry Cooney.

(All photos by Peter Frutkoff)

NEW YORK CITY (April 1, 2014) – A sold-out crowd turned out this past Sunday night to honor  20 members of the Class of 2014 inducted into the third-year New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF), sponsored by Ring 8, at Russo's On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.

“This was our largest crowd we've ever had with more than 500 people,” Ring 8 & NYSBHOF president Bob Duffy said.  “Everyone was so receptive, commenting about how much they enjoyed the ceremony, and there was a lot of emotion displayed. The whole point of starting the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame was to recognize New Yorkers in boxing and to honor them for their contributions.  New York has been the centerpiece of boxing for the past 50 years.  Some of our inductees may not have been international stars, but they helped make boxing what it is in New York.  We wanted to do the right things and recognize the New York guys who made boxing was it is today.”

Living boxers inducted into the NYSBHOF were Tracy Harris (63-8-2, 43 KOs), the former WBC/IBF Super Featherweight Champion from New Paltz; former WBC/WBA Welterweight Champion Billy Backus (49-20-5, 23 KOs), of Canastota; former WBC Featherweight Champion Kevin Kelley, of Flushing, Queens; former WBC Featherweight Champion Juan LaPorte (40-17, 22 KOs), of Brooklyn; Huntington's World Heavyweight title challenger Gerry Cooney (28-3, 24 KOs), Brooklyn's two-time World Middleweight title challenger Mustafa Hamsho (44-5-2, 28 KOs) and Glen Cove's Howard Davis, Jr. (36-6-1, 14 KOs), a 1976 Olympic gold medalist as well as Outstanding Boxer, and a three-time World Lightweight title challenger.

Posthumous participants inducted were two-time World Heavyweight Champion Patterson (55-8-1, 40 KOs), of Brooklyn, World Lightweight Champion Lou Ambers (91-8-7, 28 KOs), of Herkimer; three-time World Welterweight Champion Jack Britton (239-57-44), of Clinton; and World Featherweight Champion Terry McGovern (55-8-1, 40 KOs), of Brooklyn.

Living non-boxers inducted were ESPN boxing commentator and trainer Teddy Atlas, of Staten Island; promoter Lou DiBella (DiBella Entertainment), of Brooklyn; boxing historian and Showtime analyst Steve Farhood, of Brooklyn; trainer and Sunnyside Gardens matchmaker Gene Moore, of Queens; and boxing writer/historian Angelo Prospero, of Rochester.

Deceased non-boxers in the Class of 2014 are trainer/cutman Whitey Bimstein, of Manhattan's Lower East Side; legendary trainer Cus D'Amato (Bronx and Catskill), who launched the career of “Iron” Mike Tyson as well as Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres; trainer William Muldoon (Belfast/Caneadea and Westchester County), who was also the first Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission; and manager Tom O'Rourke, of New York City.  

Steve-Farhood-Howard b6fe2  (L-R) – NYSBHOF inductee Howard Davis, Jr. and presenter Steve Farhood 

HOWARD DAVIS JR.: “I want to thank Bob Duffy for putting on such a great ceremony.  I want to dedicate my career to my father.  I dedicated my gold medal (Olympics) to my mother who died three days before my first fight.  A coach looked me straight in the eyes and said, what would your mother want you to do?  The last thing she said to me was I better bring back that gold.  I made a promise to my mother that I do it.  I felt the only way I wouldn't is if I died in the ring.  I was into music when I was young.  One day my father asked me if I wanted to go the movies with him.  He didn't say the name of the movie.  It was in 1971, 'AKA: Cassius Clay.' It moved me to teats and to get up at 4:30 to run the next morning.  I'd never run before.  My father trained my amateur team and a few became pros.  I fired him later in my career and I still regret that.  He (Howard David Sr.) was a great trainer.  I said was because he passed away three years ago due to complications from diabetes.  I also want to dedicate this to my children who didn't see me as much as could be because of my training.  And to my wife, Carla Davis, who been there through the good and the bad.  It's wonderful being here.  I got to see some guys I hadn't seen in a long time like Tony Santana.  We fought in the 1970's Golden Gloves together but not against each other.  Tracy Patterson, Kevin Kelley and Gerry Cooney, who I go way back with.”   

Bob-Duffy-Tracy-Patterson-Brian-Burke c5871 (L-R) – NYSBHOF & Ring 8 president Bob Duffy, NYSBHOF inductee Tracy Patterson and presenter Brian Burke 

TRACY PATTERSON:  “I want to thank everyone for supporting this big event.  Without a doubt I had a tremendous role model (father Floyd Patterson).  Dad was my super hero.  We'd see him put on a suit and go down to the city and then he'd be at the gym later that night.  He was a very special man.  I can't thank him enough for what he did.  I want people to know he did real good things for me that I'll never forget.  I miss him very much.” 

Jack-Hirsch-Juan-LaPorte 8c622 (L-R) – Presenter Jack Hirsch and NYSBHOF inductee Juan LaPorte 

JUAN LAPORTE:  “I finally got here, huh?  I want to thank these guys up here.  I wish the best to the Class of 2014.  This is my world, this is what I love.  A lot of guys forget where they came from.  I didn't and you guys will always be with me.  I miss a lot of Ring 8 guys, my trainer, Emile Griffith, who aren't here today with us but they will always have my back.”

Teddy-Atlas-Bob-Duffy b397b (L-R) – NYSBHOF & Ring 8 president Bob Duffy and NYSBHOF inductee Teddy Atlas  

TEDDY ATLAS:  “I have five tables of friends and family, some have come from Las Vegas and Florida, and I'm proud to have them here.  Boxers don't always get the same respect athletes in other sports do.  All they need are loyal fans and boxing fans are the best.  Cus (D'Amato) didn't believe in long visits home because you'd be away from the gym.  Nearly 40 years later in the fight game, I think I've done okay.  I want to thank my wife, Elaine, and my children Nicole and Teddy.  You can't win any fight without a good corner and my family has given me the best. There are some people here today who are part of my life and family.”

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(L-R) – Presenter Bobby Cassidy Sr., NYSBHOF inductee Gene Moore and presenter Bobby Cassidy Jr. 

GENE MOORE:  “Who is Gene Moore?  Nobody knew but I'm here anyway.  Boxing's a great game.  I used to go to fights with my father in the '40s…..1840s.  I've been doing this 40 years and it's been a great trip.”

Mustafa-Hamsho-Steve-Farhood e71ff (L-R) – NYSBHOF inductee Mustafa Hamsho and presenter Steve Farhood 

MUSTAFA HAMSHO:  “I want to thank everyone for this.  I saw two guys here I go back 35 years with, John Turner and Bobby Cassidy, Sr.  I'd also like to thank my family and friends for supporting me.”

Steve-Farhood-Gordon-Hall 756fc  (L-R) – NYSBHOF inductee Steve Farhood and presenter Gordon Hall 

STEVE FARHOOD:  “I'm a little emotional right now.  Any mentions of Nick Charles does that to me.  This honor is very special to me.  I'm a typical New Yorker and proud of it.  I've never been away from New York for more than two weeks.  This is special being inducted with friends like Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella.  And with the exception of Billy Backus, I've covered all of these guys.  For 36 years it's been boxing all day, every day for me and I've never been bored.  I've been blessed.”

Bobby-Cassidy-Gerry-Cooney-Bobby-Cassidy bf897 (L-R) – Presenter Bobby Cassidy Jr., NYSBHOF inductee Gerry Cooney and presenter Bobby Cassidy Sr. 

GERRY COONEY:  “It's great being up here today.  I've had a great life.  I see a lot of old guys who used to be fighters.  I had some great fights and I'll always be connected with Larry Holmes.  I'm blessed, especially coming from my background.  This is a miracle.  There I was one night fighting in Madison Square Garden for the heavyweight championship of the world.  What a life! I got to know fighters like (Willie) Pep, (Carmen) Basilio, (Jake) LaMotta, (Muhammad) Ali, (Kenny) Norton….  I was recently diagnosed with CRS.  Do you know what that is?  Can't remember s***.  I will forever be connected to you guys.”

Lou-DiBella-Steve-Farhood 097c8  (L-R) – NYSBHOF inductee Lou DiBella and presenter Steve Farhood  

LOU DIBELLA: “It's an honor sitting here on this dais with so many New York men I've known and each I can call a friend.  I'm proud to be part of New York boxing. We're part of a great sports that sometimes stumbles and forgets it's the king of sports with a lot of angels.  Kevin Kelley got me started at HBO.  He handed me a pencil with Flushing Flash' and said there were a lot of hungry fighters like him to put on better shows.  Guys like, him Tracy (Patterson), Arturo Gatti, and others.  Teddy (Atlas) told me to be true to yourself and, Teddy, I hope I've done that. I bought two tickets for this dinner for my parents; my father passed away and my mother's in the hospital with a broken hip.  I'm going to bring this (belt) to her.”

Vinnie-Maddalone-Keven-Kelley 70fab  (L-R) — Presenter Vinnie Maddalone and NYSBHOF inductee Keven Kelley  

KEVIN KELLEY:  “Without you guys, like Howard Davis and Juan LaPorte, I wouldn't be here.  I wouldn't have been in boxing.  I'd like to thank everyone.”

Billy-Backus-Don-Majeski 7a851  (L-R) — NYSBHOF inductee Billy Backus and presenter Don Majeski 

BILLY BACKUS:  “In my older days I'm getting a little emotional.  When they (NYSBHOF) called, again, I got a little emotional on the phone.  Thank you all.  I appreciate being her with this class.”

Supporting the Class of 2014 were past NYSBHOF inductees such as Iran Barkley (2012), Mark Breland (2013), Jimmy Glenn (2012) and Harold Lederman (2013).  Other dignitaries in attendance included boxers Vinnie Maddalone and Steve Bujaj, Showtime executive Gordon Hall and legendary trainer Al Certo.

Each attending inductee received a custom-designed belt signifying his induction into the NYSBHOF.  Plaques honoring each class are on display at the New York State Athletic Commission and Waterfront Crabhouse.  Ring 8 also plans to build a monument in Long Island City with every NYSBHOF inductee's name inscribed.

The 2014 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members:  Jack Hirsch, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Don Majeski, Henry Hascup, Ron McNair and Neil Terens.

All boxers needed to be inactive for at least three years in order to be eligible for NYSBHOF induction, and all inductees must have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their boxing careers.

Dave-Diamante-Melvina-Lathan 4d00f (L-R) — Master of Ceremonies Dave Diamante and NYSAC Chairperson Melvina Lathan 

Go on line at www.Ring8ny.com for additional information about the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.

CLASS of 2012: Carmen Basilio, Mike McCallum, Mike Tyson, Jake LaMotta, Riddick Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Gene Tunney, Benny Leonard, Tony Canzoneri, Harold Lederman, Steve Acunto, Jimmy Glenn, Gil Clancy, Ray Arcel, Nat Fleischer, Bill Gallo and referee Arthur Mercante, Sr.

CLASS of 2013: Jack Dempsey, Johnny Dundee, Sandy Saddler, Maxie Rosenbloom, Joey Archer, Iran Barkley, Mark Breland, Bobby Cassidy, Doug Jones, Junior Jones, James “Buddy” McGirt, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Bob Arum,  Shelly Finkel, Tony Graziano,  Larry Merchant, Teddy Brenner, Mike Jacobs, Tex Rickard, and Don Dunphy.

About Ring 8: Formed in 1954 by an ex-prizefighter, Jack Grebelsky, Ring 8 became the eighth subsidiary of what was then known as the National Veteran Boxers Association – hence, RING 8 – and today the organization's motto still remains: Boxers Helping Boxers.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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