The New York State Boxing Hall of Fame unveiled its inaugural class last week, and Johnny Bos, the Brooklyn-born matchmaker who is I dare say the most authoritative boxing historian alive today, thinks the Hall selection committee dropped the ball.
Here is the list of fighters who comprise the first NYSBHOF class: "Sugar" Ray Robinson, "Iron" Mike Tyson, Jake "Bronx Bull" LaMotta, Carmen "Upstate Onion Farmer" Basilio, Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, Mike "Bodysnatcher" McCallum, Gene "The Fighting Marine" Tunney, Benny "The Ghetto Wizard" Leonard and Tony Canzoneri.
Here is Bos' reaction to the news, posted on Facebook. (For the record, Big Bos is a loose cannon, in a good way, because he is unafraid to speak on the iniquities which plague the sport. He's an ALL CAPS KIND OF GUY. His candor, however, scares some of the large promoters, all of whom would be well served to use his services. As he points out, between 2000-10, 10 NY-based fighters who rose to 10-round status fought for world titles. Bos, who now lives in Florida, worked as an adviser in selecting foes for four of them.)
"HOW COULD THERE BE A NEW YORK BOXING HALL OF FAME AND JACK DEMPSEY NOT INDUCTED ON THE FIRST BALLOT SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THAT HE IS THE MAN MORE RESPONABLE THAN ANYBODY FOR AT ONE TIME MAKING NEW YORK CITY THE MECCA OF PRO BOXING."
Bos followed up with:
"WHERE IS JACK DEMPSEY AND THE MAN WHO LEGALIZED BOXING IN NY JAMES J WALKER -- THE TWO MEN WHO PUT NY BOXING ON THE MAP NOT IN NY HALL OF FAME, THERE CLAIM OF DEMPSEY NOT BEING A NEW YORKER IS BULL----. HE MOVED INTO THE ANSONIA APARTMENTS IN OCTOBER OF 1918 AND REMAINED A NEW YORKER UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1983 THAT'S 65 YEARS ONE FIGHTER WHO GOT IN LIVED IN NY A TOTAL OF 4 YEARS."
Here is a primer on Dempsey the man and fighter, written by the esteemed Red Smith in 1983.
Here is the criteria to be selected, as laid out by the Hall: "All boxers had to be inactive for at least three years and all inductees had to have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their careers."
Stay tuned to see if Dempsey can make a late run and join the first class.