More than 300 people packed Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, NY this past Sunday for the fifth annual New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF) induction dinner.
NYSBHOF Class of 2015
World welterweight champion (’90-91) Aaron “Superman” Davis Bronx
World junior welterweight champion (’93-94) Charles “The Natural” Murray Buffalo
Two-time world lightweight title challenger Vilomar Fernandez Bronx
World lightweight title challenger Edwin Viruet. New York City
4-time, 3-division world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho Spanish Harlem
World middleweight champion (1952) Rocky Graziano Brooklyn
World lightweight (’25-26) titlist Rocky Kansas Buffalo
2-time world bantamweight titleholder Joe Lynch Brooklyn
“Uncrowned welterweight champion” Joe Miceli Buffalo
International Boxing Hall of Fame executive director Ed Brophy Canastota
Promoter Joe DeGuardia Bronx
Commissioner/media personality Randy Gordon Melville
Promoter/manager Dennis Rappaport Queens
Manager Howie Albert Bronx
Trainer/cutman Freddie Brown Manhattan
New York City television commentator Howard Cosell New York City
Boxer/referee Ruby Goldstein Manhattan
Manager Jimmy Jacobs New York City
Each inductee will receive a custom-designed belt signifying his induction into the NYSBHOF. Plaques are on display at the New York State Athletic Commission.
The 2016 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members: Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Don Majeski, Henry Hascup, Ron McNair, Angelo Prospero 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 or during the prime of their respective career.
Ed Brophy: “I’d like to thank the committee of the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame and Ring 8, a wonderful group that sponsors the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. I’m so proud to have been born in New York, in the small town of Canastota, where boxing is in our blood. I’m thrilled to be honored today. My name is attached to the International Boxing Hall of Fame as director, but so many different people help out. I only accept this honor on their behalf. Boxing is the greatest sport. Congratulations to all of the inductees. This is the greatest day of my life.”
Aaron Davis: Thanks, Ring 8. Boxing is a hard sport. It was much harder in the gym. I saw Gerry Cooney, Iran Barkley and Roberto Duran and wanted to do what those guys did and it made me a fighter I was. I’d like to thank my father and Billy Giles, who was my trainer. I’d also like to thank Joe DeGuardia, who managed me later in my career, and thanks to everybody who supported me.”
Dennis Rappaport: “It seems like yesterday when a six or seven year old living in Brooklyn watched a fight between Jake LaMotta and Jim Hairston. This young man was mesmerized. The next month he watched Sugar Ray Robinson knockout Rocky Graziano and that was the start of a love affair that’s lasted 63 years. Boxing, at its best, is poetry in motion. It’s Shapespeare, Picasso, Rembrandt. But it can also be crude. I started in boxing managing three fighters: Ronnie Harris, Gerry Cooney and Howard Davis. Jr. Because of the creative marketing of our fighters, one reporter called me and my partner, Mike Jones, ‘The Gold Dust Twins’ but then the media starting calling us, ‘The Wacko Twins.’ I preferred ‘The Gold Dust Twins.”
Joe DeGuardia: It’s a real pleasure, honor and privilege to be inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. Like many of you here, I live and bleed boxing, which has been a big part of my life. Four months ago, I received the (Ring 8 at its Holiday awards dinner) Promoter of the Year award. I said then that we are truly a family of boxing; it’s a real brotherhood. I also talked about how boxing tied into lire. In that room – not with us now – was my father who passed away three weeks ago. Because of him, I developed this love of boxing that I’ve carried in life: work hard to do the best you can in life. I’m truly honored to be inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. In honor of my father and everybody else who loves this sport. I accept on behalf of my father who, I know, is watching us now.”
Charles Murray: “They called me, ‘The Natural.’ I appreciate this, being honored for my contributions to boxing. Thank you very much.”
Vilomar Fernandez: “It wasn’t easy fighting guys like Roberto Duran and Alexis Arguello. They were the best in the world. I’m thankful for the opportunities to fight them, I’m honored today.”
Randy Gordon: “Thank you, everyone. This amazing event we have every year, I never expected this would happen. My career was born out of the aches of one of boxing’s biggest scandals, the US Championships on ABC, promoted by Don King, and Ring Magazine produced the ratings for the tournament. It turned out the ratings and some of the records were padded and it just about knocked Ring Magazine out of business. Bert Randolph Sugar hired me to be its Editor In Chief. Working together, we brought Ring Magazine back from the dead. I burst into tears when Jack Hirsch called to tell me I was being inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. This is an absolute dream. Anybody who has ever or will ever be inducted into any hall of fame, nobody can possibly enjoy this more than me. I love boxing with every ounce of my body. My wife and family drive me back into boxing. This is the greatest honor. I can’t get enough of boxing. I’m truly the luckiest man ever placed on this planet.”
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 Giambra, 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.