Lennox Lewis to be Inducted Into Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Aug. 8th

LAS VEGAS, NV. — Superstar heavyweight LENNOX LEWIS, the last undisputed heavyweight champion and who won an Olympic gold medal with a victory over Riddick Bowe and scored professional victories over boxing legends such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko, confirmed Wednesday that he will return to Las Vegas this weekend to attend the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame’s third annual induction gala at Caesars Palace on Saturday, August 8.
 
Lewis is the latest in a gaggle of stars who have announced they’ll attend the popular gala induction ceremony.  In addition to Lewis the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame has confirmed that Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Felix Trinidad, Marco Antonio Barrera, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Roger Mayweather will also attend the high-profile event as the newest members of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
 
Lewis, who was 41-2-1 with 32 knockouts and had a win over every man he ever faced in the ring, is one of the headliners of the NVBHOF’s 2015 class of inductees, chosen in the non-Nevada boxer category.
 
Lewis avenged the only two losses of his career, stopping both Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman after losing to them earlier.
 
Lewis was a classic boxer with a powerful punch.  He’s probably best known for his 2002 win over Tyson, where he won every round before stopping him in the eighth round.
 
He held all, or a version of, the heavyweight title from 1993 until 1994 and then again from 1997 through the end of his career in 2003
 
Lewis had great success in Nevada and avenged both of his losses in Las Vegas. He was 8-0 in his Nevada career and won fights at both Caesars Palace and Caesars Tahoe.
 
In the latter part of his fighting career, Lewis joined HBO Sports as an expert analyst and was a familiar figure at ringside for many of the biggest bouts of the late 20th and early 21st century in Las Vegas.
 
The Hall was founded by noted boxing broadcaster Rich Marotta. Its chief operating officer is Michelle Corrales-Lewis, whose late husband, Diego Corrales, was an inaugural inductee into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. For more information, phone 702-3-NVBHOF, or 702-368-2463.
 
Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), in association with Global Legacy Boxing (GLB) and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), made an official announcement this week, along with Lennox Lewis, that Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson will defend his titles against Tommy “Kryptonite” Karpency on Sept. 11 at Toronto’ Ricoh Coliseum in “The Revival: “KO in TO”.
 
The upcoming World Championship title fight card will also see Canadian Heavyweight Champ Dillon “Big Country” Carman defend his title against legendary Donovan “Razor” Ruddock.
 
Global Legacy President Les Woods s, :”I am so pleased to see The Champ, Lennox Lewis, recognized by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. It’s a privilege and honor to call him my friend and to be a partner teamed with him in Toronto to promote Boxing in Canada.”

Forgotten Legends: Clifford Etienne

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By: Steve Gallegos

In the early 2000’s, American fight fans were searching for the next great heavyweight. Lennox Lewis was in his reign as the universally recognized “Undisputed” heavyweight champion and American fight fans adopted Lewis as one of their own. However they needed a successor and they thought they were getting it in CliffordThe Black RhinoEtienne.

Etienne was a good sized, well built heavyweight that had good power in both hands and he provided fireworks anytime he stepped into the ring. Etienne was born and raised in Lafayette, LA. At age 18, Etienne was arrested and charged with Armed Robbery in which he received a 40 year prison sentence. It was in prison that he took up the sport of boxing and would compile a prison record of 30-0. Etienne was released from prison after 10 years and would turn pro in 1998, winning his first 15 bouts, 11 by KO.

2000 would be his breakout year as he would gain national exposure and TV time. He met fellow unbeaten heavyweight and future heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster on 05/06/00 in Pittsburgh, PA. It was the first bout on HBO’s new boxing series “KO Nation”. Etienne shined well as he dominated Brewster in exciting fashion en route to a 10 round unanimous decision. After scoring a third round KO over Joey Guy the next month in Baton Rogue, LA, Etienne would return to “KO Nation” in September as he scored an impressive three round KO over Clifford Couser. He would close out 2000 on a high note as he appeared on the Lennox Lewis vs David Tua Pay Per View undercard.

He would face former U.S. Olympian and unbeaten heavyweight Laurence Clay-Bey. It was a back and forth slugfest from the opening bell and it would steal the show that night in Las Vegas. The end result would be a 10 round unanimous decision win for Etienne. Etienne was at the top of his game and it appeared he was on his way to becoming the next heavyweight champion. He would sign a big contract with Showtime Networks and was scheduled to make his first appearance on the network in early 2001. Etienne’s career was moving along very fast, however it was about to hit a major roadblock.

He met Fres Oquendo on 03/23/01 in Las Vegas, NV. The fight was supposed to be another showcase for Etienne, however he was destroyed in eight rounds in which Oquendo dropped him a total of seven times. It was a huge setback for Etienne, however he would bounce back. He would go 5-1-1 with four KO’s over the next year. This would put him in line for a big money fight against Mike Tyson.

The fight was scheduled for 02/22/03 at the Pyramid in Memphis, TN. Tyson would pull out of the bout just days before the scheduled match, however he would arrive in Memphis and would change his mind, putting the fight back on. Most of Etienne’s camp had left Memphis after Tyson had pulled out and Clifford wasn’t sure whether or not he should fight. At the last minute, Etienne decided to go through with the bout and the fight with Tyson was on.

Inside the ring, Tyson would knockout Etienne with a right hand in only 49 seconds of the first round. It was another major setback for Etienne and his stock would drop tremendously after this fight. He continued to fight over the next two years, going 5-2-1 with three KO’s. His troubles outside the ring however would once again get the better of him.

In 2005, Etienne was arrested on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder of a police officer. He would be sentenced to 105 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He remains incarcerated in Lousiana. His record as a professional stands at 29-4-2 with 20 KO’s. Did his career take off too fast, becoming too much to handle? Could his career inside the ring have been more successful had he stayed out of trouble outside the ring? Another case of “What If”.
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Forgotten Legends: Tony Ayala Jr.

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By: Steve Gallegos

In the 1980’s boxing saw a new golden era which featured four kings in Hagler, Leonard, Hearns and Duran. All 4 men had legendary careers in which they all faced one another. During the early stages of this golden era, a new star was on the rise and he had all the tools necessary to compete with these four legends. His name was Tony Ayala Jr. Ayala had it all. He had the skill, the speed and the power. The prize was his for the taking, however he lived a reckless, partying lifestyle and that lifestyle would prevent him from reaching greatness.

Ayala was born and raised in San Antonio, TX and boxing was in his blood as his father Tony Ayala Sr and his two brothers Sammy and Mike were all fighters. Ayala turned pro in 1980 at the age of 18 and would begin his pro career with a bang as he won his first 13 bouts, 12 by knockout. It was in his 14th fight that he would get his first taste of national exposure as he appeared on the undercard of Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns. Ayala was impressive in scoring a first round knockout over Jose Baquedano. The boxing world began to take notice as Ayala was making a name for himself. Prior to his appearance on the Leonard-Hearns undercard, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and many experts and key figures such as Angelo Dundee and Lou Duva predicted that Ayala would be an all time great.

Outside the ring however, Ayala was living a reckless lifestyle that included alcohol and substance abuse. As one of his friends once said, they lived their lives by the three “B’s”, Booze, Broads, and Boxing. Ayala was also getting in trouble with the law as he was twice convicted of assault against women in which he received probation for his offenses. After going 22-0 with 19 KO’s, Ayala was in line for a word title shot, however his reckless lifestyle outside the ring would prevent him from reaching that goal.

In early 1983, Ayala was convicted of sexual assault after he broke into his neighbor’s house and sexually assaulted her. Since he was a repeat offender, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison, which brought his promising boxing career to a screeching hault. He was only 19 years old. After serving 16 years of hard time, Ayala was released in 1999 and many managers and promoters were eager to sign Ayala as he returned to the ring. Upon his return to the ring, he would go 5-0 with five KO’s against credible opposition. His bouts were being fought in his home state of Texas and the arenas were being sold out as many fans came out to support Ayala.

After winning his fifth bout in his comeback, Ayala was once again back in the hunt for a world title. He would face former world champion Yori Boy Campas in a title eliminator. They met on 07/28/00 in front of a packed, pro Ayala crowd at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX. It was an exciting toe to toe fight in which Ayala was getting the better of Campas in many exchanges. As the fight headed into the late stages, Campas began to take control of the fight as he began to batter Ayala. After the eighth round, Campas retired on the stool due to a broken hand.

It was Ayala’s first career defeat and probably his last shot at becoming world champion. His demons outside the ring continued to haunt him. In late 2000, he would once again break into a woman’s home and this time he was shot in the shoulder. He received a short jail sentence and probation for the crime. He would continue to fight up until 2003, going 4-1 with three KO’s, however his troubles outside the ring ended his career for good. In 2004, Ayala was sentenced to 10 years in prison for violating his probation after he was pulled over speeding in which he didn’t have a license as well as possessing heroin. His record as professional boxer stands at 31-2 with 27 KO’s.

He was released from prison in 2014 and would help his brothers run the Zarazamora boxing gym after their father’s death in April of 2014. Ayala’s life; however would come to a tragic end as he passed away on 05/12/15 due to an apparent drug overdose. He was 52 years old. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family. He had all the talent and skill to become an all time great. Could he have become the fifth king during boxing’s golden era, had he stayed out of trouble outside the ring? Could he have won multiple world titles while mixing it up with Hagler, Leonard, Hearns and Duran? What we are left with are the memories of promises unfulfilled.

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