2016 Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada,  Pernell Whitaker Former Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame held their annual ceremony this weekend. They honored fighters from the past how had memorable fight in Nevada, inducting them in the hall of fame and named Badou Jack as the Nevada “Fighter of the Year”.

 

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pernell Whitaker Former Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pernell Whitaker Former Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Pernell Whitaker was among this years inductees. Whitaker was a three division champion and a 1984 Olympic Gold medalist. He fought multiple time in Nevada facing the likes of  Oscar De La Hoya, Rafael Pineda and Azumah Nelson. Whitaker is now Las Vegas resident and is trainer who has worked with the likes of Zab Judah.

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pernell Whitaker former Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pernell Whitaker former Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

 

 

 

Riddick Bowe the former lineal hightweight champion earned his spot in the hall of fame. “Big Daddy” went 43-1-1 during his nearly twenty year professional career which came after him winning a sliver medal at the 1988 Seoul, Korea Olympic games. Bowe is mostly know in Nevada boxing luster for the “Fan Man” fight against Evander Holyfield in 1993 at Caesars Palace. This is where a paraglider flew in to the ring in the seventh round and causing madness in and around the ring, in one of the most bizarre moments in boxing history.

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Riddick Bowe honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Standing with Sugar Ray Leonard

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Riddick Bowe honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Standing with Sugar Ray Leonard

 

 

One of the most famed female boxers of all times, Christy Martin was honor. She help women’s boxing from novelty act to legit sport. Martin would often steal the show in Nevada when she would be feature on under card of likes of Mike Tyson, Felix Trinidad and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. With 31 career KO win, Christy Martin was always pure entertainment when she hit the ring.

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Christy MartinFormer Women Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Christy MartinFormer Women Welterweight World Champion honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

 

 

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini was among the inductees. Ray had a nice two year run in the 1980’s where he was the lightweight champion and made a bulk of his defense in Nevada during that time. Sadly that reign was mired by his bout at Caesar Palace in 1982 against Deul-koo Kim. Mancini would win the brutal fight in the 14th round via KO, but Kim would die days later after the fight from a subdural hematoma  suffered in the fight.

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony standing with Rich Marotta, President of the NVBHOF

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini honored at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony standing with Rich Marotta, President of the NVBHOF

 

 

The big winner of the night was current WBC Supper Middleweight Champion Badou Jack. He took home the honor of the Nevada Fighter of the Year, an award that has only been held by Floyd Mayweather since it’s creation in 2013. The Swedish import is now a Nevada resident, training out of the Mayweather Boxing Club and promoted by Floyd Mayweather himself as part of Mayweather Promotions. Over the past year “The Ripper” burst in to the forefront in the 168 lb division winning the WBC title over Anthony Dirrell and making two successful title defenses. On the horizon for him later this year is a unification bout with James DeGale, a win there would put him right back in the running to win fighter of the year next year.

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Badou Jack on the red carpet at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

30 July 2016, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Badou Jack on the red carpet at the 4th Annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

 

All Photos Courtesy of Ken Howard of KenHowardImages.com  and The Title Fight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Legends: Diosbelys Hurtado

Diosbelys Hurtado

By: Steve Gallegos

The Cuban amateur boxing system is one of the best in boxing. The Cubans have dominated amateur boxing for decades and have produced some of the best defensive technicians. Due to communist rule, professional boxing has been banned in Cuba; therefore many great Cuban boxers have had to make the difficult decision to defect to the United States in order to fight professionally.

In the late 1990’s a 10 man team of Cuban fighters was formed in Miami, Fl and they called themselves “Team Freedom”. The most popular and successful fighter of “Team Freedom” was Joel Casamayor; however there was another standout of the team that many have forgotten about. That fighter was former Jr. Welterweight champion Diosbelys Hurtado.

Hurtado was a tall, slick boxer with great speed, skill and technique. Hurtado was born and raised in Santiago, Cuba and was a member of the Cuban national team in which he had an outstanding amateur record of 221-20. He longed for a better life and a career as a professional fighter; therefore he made the difficult decision to defect to the United States, leaving behind his family. He settled in Miami, FL and turned pro in December of 1994. He would win his first 20 fights, 12 by knockout before getting his first shot at a world title against the legendary four-time world champion, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.

They met on 01/24/97 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ for Whitaker’s WBC Welterweight title. Whitaker had a major showdown scheduled for 04/12/97 against Oscar De La Hoya, which was the biggest fight in the Welterweight division in 16 years and he had to get past Hurtado in order to make that fight happen. Hurtado came out in the first round and surprised Whitaker by landing a straight right that put “Sweet Pea” down. It was a huge confidence booster for Hurtado and he began to dictate the pace of the fight with lateral movement and quick in-and-out combinations. Hurtado would drop Whitaker again in the fifth round with a quick flurry of punches.

The fight would turn into a rough, foul fest in which low blows and rabbit punches were being landed. Whitaker’s huge payday with De La Hoya was slipping away and the “Golden Boy” who was sitting at ringside was starting to get very nervous. Whitaker had not had a knockout past the sixth round, but in the 11th he landed a huge left hand that sent Hurtado reeling against the ropes. Whitaker went in for the kill landing one left hand after another and after nine unanswered left hands, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. finally stopped the bout with Hurtado halfway through the ropes.

At the time of the stoppage, Hurtado was ahead on all three judges scorecards. He was less than five minutes away from changing boxing history. The devastating knockout Hurtado suffered would have broken many fighters; however not this fighter. He hired hall of fame trainer Lou Duva and was back in the ring five months later and would win his next eight fights, six by KO before getting another crack at a world title against future hall of famer Kostya Tszyu.

They met on 11/28/98 at the outdoor arena at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight Championship. Tszyu was scheduled to meet Miguel Angel Gonzalez of Mexico; however Gonzalez pulled out of the bout due to an injury; therefore Hurtado took the fight on 10 days notice after fighting just 15 days earlier. In the first round, Tszyu dropped Hurtado with a three punch combination against the ropes. Hurtado looked hurt and possibly ready to go; however he caught Tszyu coming in with a right hand and put Tszyu on the canvas. He would put Tzsyu down again in the first round while causing Tzyu’s right eye to swell badly.

The fight would be all action in which shots were being landed back and forth. Hurtado was able to counter Tzsyu’s hard shots very well as Kostya was leaving himself wide open; however Hurtado had a bad habit of keeping his back against the ropes, which left him an open target for hard shots. Tszyu continued to press forward, fighting like the great champion that he was and began to focus on Hurtado’s body.

In the fifth round, Tzsyu caught Hurtado on the ropes and dropped him twice with hard body punching; causing the referee to stop the bout. Hurtado would shake off the knockout loss and would win his next six bouts from 1999-2002, while winning the lightly regarded IBA Jr. Welterweight title. He would get a third shot at a world title as he faced the very tough, hard-hitting Randall Bailey.

They met on 05/11/02 in San Juan, Puerto Rico for Bailey’s WBA Jr. Welterweight title. Hurtado was able to withstand Bailey’s hard power shots which had “knockout” written all over them. In the second round, Hurtado dropped Bailey coming in with a straight right hand counter. Bailey would respond with a hard right hand in the sixth that put Hurtado down. Before the start of the seventh round, Hurtado’s corner told him that he had to go out and fight Bailey and he did just that by going for the gusto and putting Bailey down for good with a barrage of body punches. Finally, Diosbelys Hurtado was a world champion; however the glory would be short lived as Vivian Harris blasted Hurtado in two rounds in his first title defense seven months later.

He would fight three times in 2003-2004, winning all three bouts before retiring. He would make a comeback in 2007 and would go 5-0 before retiring again for good in 2011. His record as a professional stands at 43-3-1 with 26 KO’s. A true professional who always came into the ring in shape and ready to fight. He has helped pave the way for the new generation of great Cuban fighters like Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux, who like Hurtado have realized the dream of becoming world champion by sacrificing and truly dedicating themselves to the sport of boxing.

Diosbelys Hurtado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forgotten Legends: Wilfredo Rivera

WilfredoRivera

By: Steve Gallegos

The great boxing island of Puerto Rico has produced 4 world champions with the first name “Wilfredo”. There was the legendary Wilfredo Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez and a father/son tandum in Wilfredo Vazquez Sr and Jr.; however there was another talented “Wilfredo” from Puerto Rico that wasn’t able to reach the same level of success. His name was Wilfredo Rivera. A fairly tall fighter with decent hand speed and power to go along with very good technique, Rivera was a top contender in the welterweight division in the mid to late 90’s in which he mixed it up with some of the greatest fighters of his era while showing class and intergrity.

Rivera grew up in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and began boxing at the age of 9. He had an amatuer record of 51-6 and earned a spot on the 1988 Puerto Rican Olympic team; however due to politics from the Puerto Rican Boxing Federation, he was replaced. Rivera turned pro in April of 1988 and scored a 4th round TKO in his pro debut. He would go 24-0-1 from 1988-1995. He would earn his 1st world title shot against the legendary Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.

They met on 04/12/96 on the island of San Martin for the WBC welterweight championship. Whitaker didn’t appear to take Rivera seriously and was looking ahead to possible bigger paydays against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ike Quartey and Felix Trinidad. During the bout, Rivera proved to be a worthy challenger and outboxed “Sweet Pea” during many rounds. The two men collided heads early in the bout which caused a bad cut high on Rivera’s head. He fought valiantly despite the cut and would later turn southpaw so that the lead eye would be the eye that wasn’t cut. The southpaw stance would in turn confuse Whitaker. At the end of 12 rounds, Rivera was confident he won the bout and was ready to join the list of the many Puerto Rican world champions; however the judges decided otherwise. The end result would be a split decision win for Whitaker.

Although he lost on the cards, the Puerto Rican public celebrated Rivera as if he won. Many fans greeted him with cheers at the airport when he arrived home in Puerto Rico telling him “You are the champion, Wilfredo“. He was even dubbed by the press as “El Campeon sin Corona”, a champion without a crown. The WBC ordered an immediate rematch and five months later, he got another crack at Whitaker.

They met on 09/20/96 in Miami, FL. A strong Puerto Rican crowd was in attendance in support of Rivera including welterweight champion Felix Trinidad. Although Trinidad was there looking to land a fight with Pernell Whitaker, he was in full support of his fellow countryman while leading the cheers at ringside. Rivera had earned Whitaker’s respect and didn’t overlook Rivera this time out. Whitaker, who was known as a slick, defensive genius opted to stand flat footed throughout most of the bout, throwing hard shots; however Rivera took them well while still landing shots of his own.

Rivera scored a knockdown in the fifth round and Whitaker would score one in the sixth. The two men fought hard up until the final bell. This time the end result would be a unanimous decision victory for Pernell Whitaker. The scoring was very close in this fight. One judge had the fight scored 112-113 and another judged scored the fight 113-115. Had Whitaker not put Rivera down in the sixth round, the fight would have been ruled a draw. Rivera continued on and won his next four bouts, all by KO before landing another shot at a world title. This time, it was against the “Golden Boy”, Oscar De La Hoya. The “Golden Boy” was in the prime of his career and was the biggest star in boxing.

They met on 12/06/97 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ and there was a great deal of mutual respect between the two fighters prior to them stepping into the ring. In the second round, a left hook by De La Hoya opened up a huge cut over Rivera’s right eye. Rivera fought through the blood like the warrior he was and continued pressing forward. In the fourth round, De La Hoya put Rivera down with a barrage of punches; however Rivera was up almost immediately. He continued pressing forward; however the cut was getting worse as the fight was going on and the fight was finally stopped in the eighth round. Rivera held his head high and handled his defeat with class. Rivera won his next three bouts and before facing “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

They met on 09/25/99 in Temecula, CA. Mosley had cleaned up the lightweight division and moved up two weight classes to welterweight and would find out that Rivera was one tough cookie. They fought hard for 10 rounds and Mosley had to dig very deep to finally put Rivera down and out in the final round. Mosley would later score the biggest win of his career against Oscar De La Hoya and would have an easier time with De La Hoya than he did with Rivera.

As always, Rivera shrugged of the loss and won his next two fights before landing another high profile fight, this time against “El Feroz” Fernando Vargas. Vargas was coming off his first loss in a war with Felix Trinidad and appeared to look at Rivera as a safe opponent. They met on 05/05/01 in Corpus Christi, TX. In the second round, Rivera landed a flush right hand count that put Vargas down. Vargas was wobbly as he got back up and was clearly hurt. Vargas was in jeopardy of having his young, promising career possibly coming to an end; however he was able to regain his composure. They traded shots for six rounds and Vargas landed a hard body shot in the sixth round which put Rivera down. Rivera got up but was having trouble seeing as his eyes were starting to badly swell; therefore the corner threw in the towel.

Rivera would go 3-2 over the next four years before retiring in 2005 with a record of 35-7-1 with 21 KO’s. A class act the entire time and there wasn’t a more nicer, honest fighter in the game. It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t able to win a world title as he ran into the best fighters of his era, but he gave it a whole-hearted effort the entire time and that is why he will always be considered “El Campeon Sin Corona”, A champion without a crown.

WilfredoRivera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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