Twenty-three members of the Class of 2018 were inducted into the New York Stare Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF), this past Sunday afternoon during the seventh annual NYSBHOF induction dinner, at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
“Those being honored tonight are humble, honorable people,” NYSBHOF president Bob Duffy said. “We do this as an act of love. Many of the inductees are here today and those no longer with us are represented by family members. This is our way of saying thank you to all the inductees for what they have done for boxing in New York.”
Class of 2018 living boxers inducted heading into the NYSBHOF included (Long Island) WBA light heavyweight Lou “Honey Boy” Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs), (Central Islip) IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion Jake Rodriguez (28-8-2, 8 KOs), (Brooklyn) world lightweight title challenger Terrence Alli (52-15-2, 21 KOs), undefeated, No.; 1 heavyweight contender “Baby” Joe Mesi (Buffalo) and former world cruiserweight champion Al “Ice” Cole (Rockland County).
Posthumous participants inducted were NBA & NYSAC World Featherweight Champion (Manhattan) Kid “Cuban Bon Bon” Chocolate (136-10-6, 51 KOs), (New York City) 20th century heavyweight James J. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett (11-4-3, 5 KOs), (Williamsburg) World Lightweight Champion Jack “The Napoleon of The Prize Ring” McAuliffe, (Kingston) WBC Super Lightweight Champion Billy Costello (40-2, 23 KOs), (Beacon) NYSAC Light Heavyweight World Champion Melio Bettina (83-14-3, 36 KOs), (Brooklyn/Yonkers) world-class middleweight Ralph “Tiger” Jones (52-32-5, 13 KOs) and (Port Washington) heavyweight contender Charley “The Bayonne Bomber” Norkus (33-19, 19 KOs).
Living non-participants now in the NYSBHOF are (Troy) Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Dave Anderson, (Brooklyn) trainer/advisor Pete Brodsky, (Rockaway) boxing historian/editor Herb Goldman, (Bronx) matchmaker Bobby Goodman, (Ardsley) NYSAC chairperson/judge Melvina Lathan, and (Brooklyn) NYSAC Chairperson/matchmaker/promoter Ron Scott Stevens.
Posthumous non-participant inductees were (Brooklyn) ring announcer Johnnie Addie, (Brooklyn) matchmaker Johnny Bos, (Bronx) boxing publicist Murray Goodman, (New York City) boxing writer/historian Bert Randolph Sugar and (Lower East Side) radio & television announcer/journalist Sam Taub.
Each attending inductee (or direct descendant of) received a custom-designed belt signifying his or her induction into the NYSBHOF.
The 2017 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members: Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Randy Gordon, Henry Hascup, Don Majeski, Ron McNair, and Neil Terens.
All boxers needed to be inactive for at least three years to be eligible for NYSBHOF induction, and all inductees must have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their boxing careers or during the prime of their respective career.
Boxers who attended the seventh annual NSBHOF included NYSBHOF past inductees Iran Barkley, Junior Jones, Mustafa Hamsho, Bobby Cassidy, Sr., Bobby Bartels, and Renaldo “Mr.” Snipes, as well as Monte Barrett, Ray Mercer, Dennis Milton, Richard Kiley, Scott Lopez, Michael Corleone, Tommy Rainone, Kevin Collins, Cletus Seldin, James Duran, Victor Paz, and Jaime Dugan. Other notable attendees from the boxing world included Mike Reno (FDNY Boxing), Darryl Peoples (IBF), international judges Steve Wesisfeld and John MacKay, and NYSBHOF inductees Tommy Gallagher and Bobby Miller, and Emmy-award winning producer Bobby Cassidy, Jr.
David Diamante served once again as Master of Ceremonies. Special presentations were made to the daughter of the late Steve Acunto, Donna Acunto, and Miller’s close friend, Dave Wojcicki.
JAKE RODRIGUEZ: “I want to thank Ring 8 for the opportunity for me to be here. I’d also like to thank my wife for always being there for me, and my trainer.”
HERB GOLDMAN: “If I have made any contributions to boxing – I hope I have – I did by redefining record keeping and creating a new perspective on boxing history. I’m proud of that, but I didn’t do it alone.”
JOE MESI: “I have so many people to thank for this honor. I’m a Buffalonian. There’s nobody more in favor of one New York, but it’s not. This is special for me because it’s the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. This solidifies me and makes me think I’m not just a local boy. There was a huge disadvantage coming from a small city, sparring wasn’t the same as in the gyms of New York City, but I had an advantage coming from Western New York. Nobody was welling out like we did in Buffalo with 10,000, then 16,00 and finally 18,000 people. They were always behind me and I share this with them because their support made me. My dream was to fight in Buffalo and to continue to fight there.
“One of the highlights of my life was fighting Monte Barrett on HBO in Madison Square Garden. He was one of the greatest fighters in the world who fought for the world title. I always wanted to get my world title shot, but I never got it. That’s okay, I was little bitter for a while, but I couldn’t be happier with my career. The best part of boxing is the brotherhood we share.
RON SCOTT STEVENS: “I know people always say it, but this is the truth: I owe so many people who have supported me throughout my career. Boxing has always been home away from home for me and today I feel like I’m home.
“I was 30, living in Brooklyn Heights, and back driving a taxi a waiting on tables. A light went off in my head: boxing is the sport of the underdog and I’m an underdog. The next day I went to Gleason’s Gym – the center of the universe. I made my way around all the gyms in the city, meeting promoters, managers and trainers. I started making matches for promoters and then Cedric Kushner hired me from 1980-2002. In 2002, I got a call to work for the New York State Athletic Commission as its Community Co-Ordinator and Director of Boxing. Then, I was made chairman and I served two terms. Today, I’m extremely proud to be part of the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.
BOB GOODMAN: “I can’t believe this crowd. In order to do what we do, the sacrifices and support you get from your family is so important and (in Goodman’s case) was for so many years. They allowed us to do what we do. All of us love boxing!”
AL COLE: “I thought boxing was the stupidest and dumbest sport ever. Who wanted to get punched in the face? I started boxing late. I played around some and people said I was pretty good. I started boxing when I was 20, in the Army, stationed at Ft. Hood. Four years later, I was on the Olympic Team. The reason why is I had a great sparring partner, Ray Mercer. If I was going to be in the ring everyday with Ray, I was either going to get beat up, or get better.
“I remember Bob Arum giving me his business card. I didn’t know him. I only knew of three people in boxing: Don King, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. I didn’t follow boxing and the only reason I boxed was I would have had to sleep in the woods if I didn’t (in Army). Boxing is: hit him, before he hits me.”
PETE BRODSKY: “I want to thank the board. I’m going to be 70 and started in boxing when I was 18. It created a new direction in my life. I’m so proud to be in company with guys who didn’t just talk it, they loved it. If you really love this sport, you really have to learn it. Any man who stepped in the ring, plus all the roadwork, time in the gym and sacrificing what they eat, did it to be the best they can be.
“In boxing, you’re not going to win every fight, but whether a fighter wins or loses, if he gives 100-percent, he’s a winner. They work a job, run five miles day, workout at the gym, and then went home to spend time with his family. Friends and family always have your back.”
MELVINA LATHAM: “I’m speechless. It’s wonderful. Randy (former NYSAC chairperson Gordon), do you remember this story? There were only three judges and, unfortunately, one called in sick. I was sitting at ringside with no responsibilities. Randy said I had to work tonight. I said that I wasn’t licensed and couldn’t do it. Randy said, ‘Raise your right hand’, and it was on. I was thrown in there, but it was okay.
“My greatest accomplishments are my children and husband. I couldn’t ask for a better situation. And Ralph Petrillo is part of my family; he was my second in command. I also had the best officials: deputy commissioners, inspectors, judges and referees. I wouldn’t be here with without them. Bob Duffy put this whole thing together. I personally think he’s amazing. My journey continues, I am blessed.”
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 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.
CLASS OF 2014: Floyd Patterson, Tracy Harris Patterson, Billy Backus, Kevin Kelley, Juan LaPorte, Gerry Cooney, Mustafa Hamsho, Howard Davis, Jr., Lou Ambers, Jack Britton, Terry McGovern, Teddy Atlas, Lou DiBella, Steve Farhood, Gene Moore, Angelo Prospero, Whitey Bimstein, Cus D’Amato, William Muldoon and Tom O’Rourke.
CLASS OF 2015: Saoul Mamby, Joey Giamba, Johnny Persol, Harold Weston, Lonnie Bradley, Paul Berlenbach, Billy Graham, Frankie Genaro, Bob Miller, Tommy Ryan, Jimmy Slattery, Bob Duffy, Mike Katz, Tommy Gallagher, Bruce Silverglade, Charley Goldman, Jimmy Johnston, Cedric Kushner, Harry Markson, Damon Runyon and Al Weill.
CLASS OF 2016: Aaron Davis, Charles Murray, Vilomar Fernandez, Edwin Viruet, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Rocky Graziano, Rocky Kansas, Joe Lynch, Joe Miceli, Ed Brophy, Joe DeGuardia, Randy Gordon, Dennis Rappaport, Howie Albert, Freddie Brown, Howard Cosell, Ruby Goldstein and Jimmy Jacobs.
CLASS OF 2017: Gaspar Ortega, Renaldo “Mr.” Snipes, Doug Dewitt, “The Bronx Bomber” Alex Ramos, Dick Tiger, Jose Torres, “Nonpareil” Jack Dempsey, Don Majeski, Ron Katz, Stan Hoffman, Bobby Bartels, Hank Kaplan, Al Gavin, Arthur Donovan and Dan Parker.
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 remains: Boxers Helping Boxers.
RING 8 is fully committed to supporting less fortunate people in the boxing community who may require assistance in terms of paying rent, medical expenses, or whatever justifiable need.
Go on line to www.Ring8ny.com for more information about RING 8, the largest group of its kind in the United States with more than 350 members. Annual membership dues is only $30.00 and each member is entitled to a buffet dinner at RING 8 monthly meetings, excluding July and August. All active boxers, amateur and professional, are entitled to a complimentary RING 8 yearly membership. Guests of Ring 8 members are welcome at a cost of only $7.00 per person.