This excerpt first appeared in this week's issue of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which releases each Thursday morning at Fightful.com
The 2018 international Boxing Hall of Fame was announced on December 5 with a strong class among all categories.
In the modern category, the most noteworthy of all the Hall of Fame categories, former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, Mexican legend Erik Morales and former world champion and defensive stalwart Ronald “Winky” Wright were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Also elected were broadcasters Jim Gray and Steve Albert in the observer category and German promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl in the nonparticipant category. Elected posthumously were Sid Terris, a New York lightweight contender in the 1920s, in the old-timer category, and ring announcer Johnny Addie and promoter Lorraine Chargin in the nonparticipant category.
To be eligible in that category, fighters must not have boxed for at least five years but have had their last fight no earlier than 1989. Klitschko, Morales and Wright all fought for the final time in 2012. They were elected by full members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a panel of international historians.
Below are a brief summary of the careers of all the inducted individuals:
Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KO): One of the most dominant heavyweight boxers of the 21st century. Klitschko held the WBC heavyweight title from 2004-2012. Finished his career on a 13-fight win streak since losing to Lennox Lewis in 2003. He and brother Wladimir are the first pair of brothers to hold world heavyweight titles at the same time. Klitschko is 15-2 in world title fights. With an 87.23 knockout percentage, he holds one of the highest knockout-to-fight ratios of any world champion in heavyweight boxing history.
Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KO): Morales was the first Mexican-born boxer in history to win world titles in four different weight classes, having held the WBC super bantamweight title from 1997 to 2000; the WBC featherweight twice between 2001 and 2003; the unified WBC and IBF super featherweight titles in 2004; and the WBC super lightweight title from 2011 to 2012. ESPN ranked Morales at number 49 on their list of the 50 greatest boxers of all time. Morales is also best known for his legendary trilogies against Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. Morales defeated Hall of Famer Daniel Zaragoza to take his junior featherweight world title and send him into retirement in 1997. Morales also scored notable wins against Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough, Kevin Kelley, Guty Espadas (twice), In-Jin Chi, Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez and Carlos Hernandez.
Ronald (Winky) Wright (51-6-1, 25 KO): Owns wins over Bronco McKart, Angel Hernandez, Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartley. He is a two-time junior middleweight world champion and remains the last boxer to ever hold the undisputed title at that weight and the only one of the group of undisputed junior middleweight champions to hold the WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring and lineal junior middleweight titles at the same time. Has an 11-3-1 record in world title fights.
Sid Terris (93-13-4, 12 KO): Terris had a standout amateur career and boxed professionally from 1922 to 1931, mainly in New York. Terris was a lightweight contender but never got a chance to fight for the world title. The closest he came was in 1925, but he lost a 12-round decision to Sammy Mandell in an eliminator.
Johnny Addie: Addie was the longtime ring announcer at Madison Square Garden and other venues in New York from the late-1940s to the early 1970s. He was the ring announcer for more than 100 world title fights, including the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight.
Jim Gray: Gray is one of the top boxing broadcasters for the past few decades, beginning his broadcasting career in 1977. He began broadcasting boxing in 1978, working closed-circuit telecasts for Top Rank and KingVision and eventually covered the sport for ESPN's SportsCenter and NBC. Since 1992 has been part of the Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast team, serving as interviewer and ringside reporter, known for his hard-hitting questions and being a part of various world championship boxing broadcasts.
Steve Albert: Albert covered major boxing fights on Showtime Championship Boxing for 17 years as the network's lead play-by-play announcer, including the infamous "Bite Fight" between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997. Albert is part of the famous Albert broadcasting family, the younget of the three brothers (Marv and Al)
Lorraine Chargin: Chargin, who died back in 2010, was half of an all-time great promotional team with her husband, Don Chargin, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. They promoted shows for decades, mainly at the old Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles from the mid-1960 to the mid-1980s. They were also largely responsible for a thriving Sacramento, California, fight scene during the 1980s and '90s. Together they helped develop such fighters as former champions Bobby Chacon, Tony "The Tiger" Lopez, Loreto Garza and Willie Jorrin.
Klaus-Peter Kohl: Kohl founded the now-defunct Universum Box-Promotion, which for much of the 1990s through the mid-2000s was the dominant promoter in Germany and one of the most significant promoters in the world until it went out of business in 2011. Kohl promoted numerous top fighters and European stars, including the Klitschko brothers and many other world titleholders, including Felix Sturm, Dariusz Michalczewski, Juan Carlos Gomez, Artur Grigorian, Juergen Braehmer, Istvan Kovacs and Gennady Golovkin throughout the early portion of his career.
As explained previously, if I had a vote, I would have voted for Klitschko, Morales and British superstar Ricky Hatton, but Wright would have gotten a top 5 vote for me. Overall, this is a very good class, but this was was going to be a strong one regardless. Some of the names that missed the Hall of Fame this year include Hatton, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Ivan Calderon, Wilfredo Vazquez and Michael Moorer.
As for what the potential 2022 ballot is going to look like, the list of candidates is going to be extremely deep. Floyd Mayweather is a lock for the Hall of Fame if he stays retired. Vitali’s brother Wladimir, who has a better pro career and slightly better accomplishments than Vitali, will also be a lock for the Hall of Fame.
As far as what the third Hall of Fame spot will go to, chances are the top two candidates will be Andre Ward, if he stays retired, and Miguel Cotto. Both men have strong cases to be first-ballot Hall of Famers, with Ward being undefeated, winning the Super Six tournament and owning wins over Sergey Kovalev, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Chad Dawson. Cotto’s case, in favor and against, was thoroughly explained in last week’s newsletter, but the key points going for Cotto are the world titles in four weight classes, the many wars and long list of Hall of Fame fighters he has fought.
Other boxers that have retired this year and are eligible for the Hall of Fame starting in 2022 include Robert Guerrero, Nathan Cleverly, Takashi Miura and Takashi Uchiyama. They all have a decent chance of entering the Hall of Fame ballot, but as far as actually being voted in, none of these fighters have a realistic shot of being voted in, save for Guerrero. Guerrero has the strongest case among the aforementioned four boxers, but it will take years on the ballot as well as an overall weak ballot before Guerrero ever gets inducted.