"The Real Deal" will be gracing the International Boxing Hall of Fame with his presence this upcoming year, as American legend Evander Holyfiend joined the late Johnny Tapia and Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera as the newest inductees into the prestigious club.
Having just become eligible this year, Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KO) was all but a guarantee to be elected into the International Boxing HOF, as his resume is unlike that of anything seen in boxing's history. After winning a bronze medal for the USA in 1984, Evander went on to be the first undisputed Cruiserweight champion, while also becoming the only boxer to ever win a heavyweight title 4 different times.
Holyfield is sure to be the major attraction on June 11th in Canastota, NY, where the induction ceremony will take place for its 28th annual ceremony. "The Real Deal" was in some of the biggest fights of the 80's and 90's facing a who's who of now-fellow hall of famer's, including Riddick Bowe, George Foreman, and perhaps most notably, Mike Tyson. After having massively upset Tyson to take the WBA heavyweight belt in November of 1996, there was an immediate rematch in June of 1997, a fight in which famously ended in a disqualification due to "Iron Mike" biting off a large chunk of Holyfield's ear. Evander was most recently seen in the ring in
Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 44 KO), competing from 1989-2011, won major world titles in three different divisions on his way to becoming one of Mexico's greatest boxers in its long and illustrious history. Watching any fight of Barrera's against arch nemesis Erik Morales in the early 2000's will display exactly what was so special about the "Baby Faced Assassin". Going 2-1 in the trilogy, Marco edged out a close split decision win in their first bout, which is still ingrained as one of boxing's all-time greatest fights. The other fights were every bit as intriguing, while Barrera also conquered top-notch fighters such as "Prince" Naseem Hamed and fellow inductee Johnny Tapia.
One of Barrera's most notable losses, and only TKO loss of his career, came at the hands of future hall of famer Manny Pacquiao in 2003. He then went on an extensive run in the super featherweight division until he ran into Pacquiao again in 2007, dropping his titles by unanimous decision. "This is the best news for me", Barrera stated, adding that he is "excited to go to Canastota".
Johnny Tapia (59-5-2, 30 KO) is widely considered to be one of, if not the best, junior bantamweights in boxing history. Unfortunately, Tapia's career was consistently interrupted with addiction and depression issues, which led to his death in 2012 at the young age of 45. Tapia, known as "Mi Vida Loca", or "My Crazy Life", won 5 major world titles through junior bantam, bantam, and featherweight. He defended his bantamweight title 13 times after obtaining in in 1994, including his battle against heated rival Danny Romero in Las Vegas.
All of the boxers inducted this year led phenomenal careers and are well deserving of this pristine honor. Holyfield, as usual, put it best, stating "I fought them all. I fought everyone who was the best at my time of boxing and did real well. If you're the best you're going to be in the Hall of Fame." Sometimes, it can be as simple as that.