The New York State Boxing Hall of Fame’s (NYSBHOF) Class of 2122 was inducted this past Sunday at a special ceremony, sponsored by Ring 8, in front of 360 attendees at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
“This was the most emotional NYSBHOF induction dinner ever,” NYSBHOF president Bob Duffy said. “Several inductees cried during their acceptance speeches and that really made everything more exciting for everybody. You could see how really proud each of the inductees were as they proudly displayed their belts. This is all about honoring New York boxing people for their accomplishments and contributions. It was another knockout!”
One of the largest ovations was for Master of Ceremonies Dave Diamante for his remarkable recovery from a near-death accident that left him with a broken back.
Living boxers inducted into the NYSBHOF included Brooklyn WBO Heavyweight World Champions Jamaica’s Michael Bentt (11-2, 6 KOs), also a 4-time New York Golden Gloves gold medalist, and Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs); Albany’s 3-time World light middleweight titlist Verno Phillips (42-11-1, 2 KOs), WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Donny “Golden Boy” Lalonde (42-11-1, 21 KOs), Staten Island’s WBC World Light Heavyweight Champion Johnny “The Heat” Verderosa (41-5-1, 33 KOs), Mount Vernon’s 2-time World title challenger and No. 1 ranked welterweight contender Larry “No Fear” Barnes (44-3-1, 17 KOs), and Brooklyn’s welterweight Johnny Turner (42-6-2, 32 KOs)
Posthumous participants inducted were World Lightweight Champion Bronx’ Al Singer (62-9-2, 26 KOs), World’s Colored Light Heavyweight Champion Kid Norfolk (88-25-7, 49 KOs), Brooklyn’s lightweight Pasquale Patsy Giovanelli (44-7-1, 14 KOs), Brooklyn’s World Bantamweight Champion Cannonball Eddie Martin (81-12-4, 29 KOs), New York City’s World Light Heavyweight title challenger Battling Siki (60-24-4, 31 KOs), Brooklyn’s Novice New York Golden Gloves and Intercity Golden Gloves champion Solly Krieger (82-25-6 , 54 KOs), New York City’s No. 1 world ranked middleweight contender Herbie Kronowitz (55-23-5, 10 KOs), Buffalo’s World featherweight champion Tommy Paul (80-28-10, 26 KOs), and Brooklyn’s World Bantamweight Champion and US Olympian Lou Salica (67-17-12, 13 KOs).
Living non-participants who were inducted the NYSBHOF were judge Queens New York Golden Gloves finalist, inspector and licensed judge Ron McNair, promoter/manager/matchmaker Don Elbaum, New York City journalists Ed Schuyler of New York City and Bill Verigan, New York City author/journalist Tom Hauser, Queens author/journalist/ Mike Silver, and Brooklyn’s Jill Diamond, Secretary of the World Boxing Council and International Chair or WBC Cares.
Posthumous non-participant inductees now in the NYSBHOF are Brooklyn’s trainer and Stillman’s gym owner Lou Stillman, New York City’s promoter/manager Bill Cayton, NYC Mayor James Walker who legalized boxing in NY, publicists John Condon, of Queens, and New York City’s Irving Rudd, Brooklyn’s journalist Richard K. Fox, and trainer Victor Valle.
Each attending inductee (or direct descendant of) received a custom-designed belt signifying his or her induction into the NYSBHOF.
CLASS OF 2021 INDUCTEE QUOTES
The 2021 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members Randy Gordon, Henry Hascup, Don Majeski, Jim Monteverde 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.
Bill Verigan: “Whether a boxer is in the Hall of Fame or not, they train hard, compete hard and have overcome hard losses. I’m very, very thankful to be here today. Thank you so much.”
Shannon Briggs: “Let’s go champ! Let’s go champ. Let’s go champ. This is amazing. I grew up in Brooklyn and lived in Brownsville. I weighed less than 2 pounds when I was born and asthmatic. I was bullied growing up in Brownsville, but I made it. We lost our home. Tough times growing up. I had to fight. I can’t believe I’m in the Hall of Fame. My aunt said, ‘We going to make it.’ She’s here today.
“I fell into boxing. I was never into sports. I can’t catch and still can’t dribble. But when I put gloves on, something about me changed, and nobody could do anything to me. No more bullying. I went from sleeping on the train or in the gym to traveling around the world. Nobody believed in me until Vito Antuofermo said, ‘This kid can be something.’ I just turned 50 and I’m up here with Vito. I won the Golden Gloves when I was homeless. This is all unexpected. I never though I’d be a boxer. I put gloves on and got busy. I started winning. Boxing helped me stay out of jail, selling drugs, or running the streets. I became heavyweight champion of the world. Shout out to everybody who believed in me. A lot are here today. Thank you, guys. Let’s go champ!”
Johnny Turner: I want to thank everyone for having me here today. I want to thank my trainers and Joe DeGuardia for believing in me. My most prestigious fight was with Wilfredo Benitez, and I was in the move, ‘Raging Bull.’ I’m a very lucky guy.”
Larry Barnes: “I’m going to be short; I can’t match Shannon. Let’s go champ! I’m very excited to be here with all these champions. I want to thank all the people in boxing for believing in me. I never gave up. Most of all, I want to thank me for putting in all the hard work.”
Michael Bentt: “It’s wonderful to be back in New York. I didn’t get here by myself. I want to thank four groups: my mentors, sponsors and facilitators, boxers who inspired me, and my allies. I was captain of the USA Boxing Team and got a call to be in the movie ‘Ali’ (he played Sonny Liston). Young people should seek people like those who inspired me: Muhammad Ali, Mark Breland, Mike McCallum, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield, Ronald Turner and Monte Barrett. They fueled my flame.”
Jill Diamond: “I want to thank my two biggest mentors, Jose Suliaman and Joe Dwyer. I’d like to thank my New York family who still think I go to the Golden Globes instead of the Golden Gloves. And thanks to my WBC family that embraced me, especially Mauricio Suliaman, who said to come join us. I do know that in the big boxing family, if anybody hurt somebody, they would always help. I wish, especially with what’s going on today, others settled things in the ring like us. The world would be a better place.”
Mike Silver: “I’m very humbled and appreciative to the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame selection committee to receive this honor. It’s so gratifying coming from peers. Boxing is the most colorful sport. In my books I give my perception to be informative, educational, and entertaining. I used to check newsstands for the new Ring magazine and Boxing News. I respected boxers and fell in love with the sport. One thing will never change in boxing. In the ring it’s about hitting without getting hit, the science of the sport. Boxers’ stories are not written. It takes their blood, sweat and tears. And that will never change.”
Don Elbaum: “I’m honored and thankful by this. What a run it’s been running shows. I’m still doing it. I remember putting shows on at Madison Square Garden. No sport has 1-on-1 world champions like boxing. Many countries have kings, but there is only one in boxing, and that’s the world heavyweight champion.”
Donny Lalonde: “I would be here without Bobby Cassidy. Bobby Cassidy, Sr. was the number one light heavyweight in the world. He was also a trainer who taught me what it took to be a boxer. Now, I’m in the New York Hall of Fame with him and his son, Bobby Cassidy, Jr. I was from Canada, and I was told that being a champion from there was worthless. When you grow up in a broken home, you really need somebody to believe in you. Don Majeski believed in me. Tommy Gallagher and Bobby Cassidy made my spirit rise high. I was ready to take on the world. Everybody said I had no business being in the wring with Eddie Davis, after he went 15 rounds with Michael Spinks. I knocked him out 22 seconds into the second round to win the world title. Thanks to the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame for having me here.”
John Verderosa: “I appreciate the accolades. This is fantastic. Forty years later, it blows my mind that people remember me from so long ago. I’m so honored. Thank you so much.”
Verno Phillips: “New York Hall of Fame, baby. I made it! I put in the work. Like my grandmother said, ‘You got to go out and run.’”
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.
CLASS OF 2018: Lou “Honey Boy” Del Valle, Jake Rodriguez, Terrence Alli, “Baby” Joe Mesi, Kid Chocolate, James J. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, Jack McAuliffe, Billy Costello, Melio Bettina Ralph “Tiger” Jones, Charley Norkus, Dave Anderson, Pete Brodsky, Herb Goldman, Bobby Goodman, Melvina Lathan, Ron Scott Stevens, Johnnie Addie, Johnny Bos, Murray Goodman, Bert Randolph Sugar, and Sam Taub.
No class of 2019 or 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions
CLASS OF 2021: Jorge Ahumada, Alfredo Escalera, Freddie Liberatore, Dennis Milton; Lou Savarese and Merqui Sosa, Soldier Bartfield, Steve Belloise, Jimmy Goodrich, Tami Mauriello, Davey Moore, Freddie “The Welsh Wizard” Welch, Don Ackerman, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Rick Glaser, Jack Hirsch, Max Kellerman, Dr. William Lathan, Julie Lederman, Ron Lipton, Kevin Rooney, Dan Daniel, Bobby Gleason, Flash Gordan, A.J. Liebling, Tony Mazzarella, and manager Dan Morgan.
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