Lee Groves

A look ahead to future Hall of Fame ballots

Future Ballots: Based on the names that could emerge in the next few years, there may be some openings for fighters who have been on the ballot for several voting cycles. If De La Hoya, Trinidad and Calzaghe are placed on the ballot and subsequently enshrined in the Class of 2014, several fighters who also retired in 2008 might see the light of day the following year. They include onetime WBO light heavyweight king and two-time heavyweight titlist Michael Moorer, two-division belt holder Vernon Forrest and five-time featherweight titlist Manuel Medina, none of whom are locks even to be included on the 45-fighter list.

Another intriguing option is Diego Corrales, a 2007 retiree who could have been on the ballot being voted on now. Unfortunately for him he was squeezed out by Gatti, Virgil Hill and Henry Maske and may well be shunted aside by the Big Three in 2014. Corrales’ fate may well depend on how the voters treat Gatti this year. If “Thunder” gets the call posthumously this coming December, that enhances Corrales’ chances because his 6-3 record in title fights closely mirrors Gatti’s and he was involved in one Fight of the Year (KO 10 Jose Luis Castillo I) and one Round of the Year (Round 10 of Corrales-Castillo I). If Gatti fails in his first try, it’s likely Corrales will as well – if he gets on the ballot at all.

Fernando Vargas, who also retired in 2007, fits the same profile as Corrales in terms of fighting spirit and fan loyalty but may have an even more remote chance of seeing his name on the ballot.

Other potential first-year eligibles for the Class of 2015 include two-time heavyweight belt holder Chris Byrd, longtime WBA super welterweight titlist Julio Cesar Vazquez and two-time bantamweight champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. Whether they make it on the ballot at all is up to the IBHOF screening committee, but one has to figure their chances of inclusion are questionable at best.

The possible new names for the Class of 2016 could be headed by two-time bantamweight champion Veeraphol Sahaprom, who first won a belt in his fourth professional fight and whose second tenure lasted six-plus years and 14 defenses. Fighters who may join him on the ballot include Hector Camacho Sr., Juan Diaz, Gerry Penalosa or Edwin Valero – a dodgy group at best in terms of chances for being listed, much less elevated.

The next virtual locks for the Hall may not come until the Class of 2017 when the late, great Johnny Tapia and all-time Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera become eligible. Antonio Margarito – if he stays retired – also will be eligible that year but given his scandal-plagued story line late in his career his chances for being listed are distant at best.

In that vein, voters may face a quandary the following year when Shane Mosley’s name comes to the forefront because of his link to the BALCO investigation. Ronald “Winky” Wright, who twice beat Mosley, will also become eligible in 2018 if he remains retired. The guess here is that both will be elected.

Of course, there are outstanding fighters who remain active but will retire in the next few years – Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez, Chris John, Vic Darchinyan, Ivan Calderon, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko among them. More likely than not, their Hall of Fame induction countdown clocks will begin ticking the moment they announce their retirements. If their final fights occur sometime in 2013, their first crack before the voters will come in the fall of 2018 when they will consider the Class of 2019.

Some friends and colleagues have insisted that the International Boxing Hall of Fame will run out of viable candidates in fairly short order. The evidence presented here says that the IBHOF Induction Weekend will be alive, well and chock full of legends for years to come.

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Photos / Tom Fox-Getty Images (De La Hoya and Trinidad), John Gurzinski-AFP (De La Hoya-Chavez, Trinidad-Vargas,Trinidad), Jed Jacobsohn-Getty Images (Trinidad-Wright), Ethan Miller-AFP (Calzaghe) and Donald Miller-Getty Images (Corrales)

 

Lee Groves, a boxing writer and historian based in Friendly, W.Va., can be emailed at l.groves@frontier.com. He is a full member of the BWAA, from which he has won seven writing awards, including a first-place for News Story in 2011. He has been an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 2001 and is also a writer, researcher and punch-counter for CompuBox, Inc. He is the author of “Tales From the Vault: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics.” To order, please visit Amazon.com or e-mail the author to arrange for autographed copies.

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