THE International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum last week announced last week the members of the Class of 2020.
Inductees include former champions Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez and “Sugar” Shane Mosley in the men’s Modern category. Barbara Buttrick in the women’s Trailblazer category and “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Christy Martin and “The Dutch Destroyer” Lucia Rijker in the women’s Modern category.
Non-participants and observers to be inducted include promoters Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva and Dan Goossen and journalists Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser, a contributer to Boxing News.
“There were times when I fantasised about this happening,” said Hauser. “But I really didn’t think it would. Right now, all of the cliches ring true for me. I’m thrilled, gratified abd very moved by this honour.”
Lightweight champion Frank Erne in the Old Timer category and Paddy Ryan in the Pioneer category will also be honoured. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.
“I’m glad I’m entering the house of greatness past and present,” said Hopkins, who famously started boxing while in prison and won world titles at middleweight and light-heavy.
“Thanks to boxing I became a greater inspiration to the world.”
Juan Manuel Marquez said: “This is great, I feel very happy and excited to receive this news. I am looking forward to being in Canastota for my induction. I am so happy.”
Mosley, who recently told BN that he wished he was still fighting, was also delighted to get the greatest call any fighter can get. “I’m so happy and honoured,” he said. “I’ve worked my whole life for this. Even when I started as a kid at eight-years-old I knew this is what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be.
“I have accomplished my goals to be one of the greats and go into the Hall of Fame, so this is a great honour.”
Christy Martin, who was incredibly popular back in the nineties at a time when female boxing was marginalised, said: “I just wanted to be a fighter and fit into the world of boxing and this is a dream come true. I’m always excited to come back to Canastota but to come back this year will be very special.”
Lou DiBella, one of the sports most charismatic and passionate figures also spoke of sheer delight to make it into the sacred Hall. “When I was a kid, watching Nino Benvenuti on the tube with my grandfathers and my dad, and following Ali fights with a transistor radio under my pillow,
I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “Boxing thrilled me like nothing else. But I never dreamed that I would one day be in the IBHOF with my heroes.”
The induction ceremony will take place from June 11 to June 14 in Canastota.