More than 300 people attended this past Sunday’s second annual New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF) induction dinner, sponsored by Ring 8, at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York, as 20 inductees from the Class of 2013 were honored.
- (L-R) Standing: NYSBOF & Ring 8 president Bob Duffy, Tony Graziano, James “Buddy” McGirt, Mark Breland, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad: seated: Junior Jones, Shelly Finkel, U.S. Congressman Peter King, Bobby Cassidy and Iran Barkley.
- Jones (L-R) NYSBHOF Nominating Committee member Henry Haschup, Junior Jones and Bob Duffy
- Barkley (L-R) John Reetz, Iran Barkley and Bob Duffy
- Graziano (L-R) NYSBHOF Nominating Committee member Don Majeski, Tony Graziano and Bob Duffy
- Cassidy (L-R) U.S. Congressman Peter King, Bobby Cassidy, Chris Cassidy, Bobby Cassidy, Jr. and his two children.
- Breland (L-R) Master of Ceremonies David Diamante, Brian Adams, Mark Breland, Bob Duffy and Breland’s son.
- Finkel (L-R) NYSBHOF Nominating Committee member Steve Farhood, Shelly Finkel and Bob Duffy
- McGirt (L-R) NYSBHOF Nominating Committee member Henry Hascup, James “Buddy” McGirt, NYSBHOF Board of Directors member Tony Mazzarella, and Bob Duffy.
- Muhammad (l-R) Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, NYSBHOF Board of Directors member Tommy Gallagher and Bob Duffy.
“This is the second year for the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame,” NYSBHOF and Ring 8 president Bob Duffy explained.
“This is for New York but it could be the Brooklyn Boxing Hall of Fame with so many of this year’s inductees from Brooklyn. The New York State Boxing Hall of Fame is for New Yorkers and one by New Yorkers. All of these inductees are responsible New Yorkers. We remember their services from the 40s, 50s and 60s, when boxing was so big in New York, and it’s big again today. A lot of people in the audience will be inducted for years to come. The dream of Tony Mazzarella was to have the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame – New Yorkers for New Yorkers.”
The 2013 NYSBHOF inductees were (participants) Jack Dempsey (61-6-9, 50 KOs), Johnny Dundee (83-32-20, 17 KOs), Sandy Saddler (144-16-2, 103 KOs), Maxie Rosenbloom (207-39-26 (19 KOs), Joey Archer (61-6-9, 50 KOs), Iran Barkley (43-19-1 (27 KOs), Mark Breland (35-3-1, 25 KOs), Bobby Cassidy (59-16-3, 27 KOs); Doug Jones (30-10-1, 20 KOs), Junior Jones (50-6, 28 KOs), James “Buddy” McGirt (73-6-1, 48 KOs), Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (50-8-1, 39 KOs); (non-participants) Bob Arum, Shelly Finkel, Tony Graziano, Larry Merchant; Teddy Brenner, Mike Jacobs, Tex Rickard, and Don Dunphy,
Each inductee received a custom-designed belt signifying his induction into the NYSBHOF.
U.S. Congressman Peter King (R-NY), a strong supporter of boxing who introduced his close friend, Bobby Cassidy, was a guest speaker. “I congratulate all of the honorees today for their outstanding careers, especially my friend, Bobby Cassidy, for all he’s done,” Rep. King said. “I introduced, with Senator McCain, a bill (Muhammad Ali Act) to protect fighters and now we’ve introduced another bill asking the President (Obama) to pardon Jack Johnson. It’s an injustice.”
The inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members, including Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, 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 served once again as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Special guests in attendance included Vito Antuofermo, Luis Colazzo, Vinny Maddalone, Renaldo Snipes, Leona Brown, and Mia St. John.
“There are a lot of great fighters up here. This is a great event recognizing New Yorkers. I want to thank all of the people who were part of my team.”
“Teddy Brenner basically asked me, ‘You think you can fight.’ I told him I was going to be champion of the world and he said, ‘You’re never going to be champion.’ You don’t know how made he made me that day and I then beat everybody he put in against me.
“When I fought (Thomas) Hearns, nobody thought I could beat him, but I wasn’t afraid. I’m a Bronx guy and I was used to getting hits by bricks and bats. I won with blood, sweat and tears. I said to get ready to pick him up and carry him out.”
“It’s an honor being here with all these greats and in the New York Hall of Fame.”
“I truly appreciate and I’m honored to be standing here today. I started boxing in 1963. Teddy Brenner said I was a million-to-one shot but his long-shot paid off. Like a lot of guys, boxing saved me. It was go in the ring or go to jail. Everything I have is through boxing. I was sent all over the world. I was a fighter; just tell me where to show up. I never turned down a fight. I fought six opponents who fought for the title and beat four of them. All I ever wanted was to fight for the title. I never fought for the title and that really hurt me more than anything and I had 80 pro fights and 500 stitches. I’m a fighter and always will be. Standing up here makes up for never getting a title shot. I’m truly honored.”
“It’s good to be here with all these guys. I’ve always looked up to, and I don’t know if he knows it, Tony Santana. I sparred with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. It’s an honor to be here and accept this award. I had a lot of fights. I enjoy boxing; it’s a lot of fun. All my years in boxing, I always had a great manager, Shelly Finkel. He’s family.”
Anyone in the sport knows there are two families – one at home and the fighters. Somebody once asked me, when all is said and done, how do I want to be remembered? That I cared about my fighters. There have been so many incredible moments in the ring. I’ve had the greatest career with my fighters on the ring but, after the fighting, that I could help my fighters.”
James “Buddy” McGirt:
“This group of fighters up here, you don’t understand, it’ll be 100 years before you’d find a group of fighters like this. In 1987, Iran Barkley took to training camp. He didn’t need to do that and I was just another expense. But it helped me become world champion. In 1989, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad came to gym in Las Vegas everyday for five weeks to watch me train. As a fighter there are certain things you never forget. On November 29th, 1991, Eddie yelled my name and gave me a thumbs-up. It was the greatest night of my career. Everybody was yelling and what I remember was Eddie yelling, ‘McGirt.'”
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad:
“This is special to me. I am very appreciative and humbled to put me in the New York Hall of Fame with all these terrific fighters. But, if you invite me again to another festive occasion like this, please (jokingly) don’t sit me between McGirt and Breland. They’re friends of mine, like family. Iran and I won many titles together. I told him that, if he listened to me, he’d be a three-time world champion. He looked at me like I was crazy. I blew it….he became four-time world champion.
“Now, I have my newest world champion, Ishe Smith, and Chad Dawson. I thank God for allowing me to transfer any skills, what I learned from my former trainers, to my students. I’ve had 18 world champions in a young career. After I retired, I didn’t know what to do, and Bob Arum said I could train because he knew I was working with Mike McCallum, who became world champion. I brought Floyd Mayweather his first world champion (Smith). I’m a part of the ‘Money Team’ and thank him for having the trust in me to train some of his young fighters.
“This is like winning a world championship. I love this!”