Boxing: ring 8

Jack Dempsey tops second NY Hall class

March, 6, 2013
The ballots have been counted, and the results are in. All-time heavyweight great Jack Dempsey and promoter Bob Arum top the second New York State Boxing Hall of Fame class, and they'll be feted during an induction dinner on Sunday, April 28.

"This is an exceptional group of inductees," NYSBHOF and Ring 8 president Bob Duffy said. "We are inducting legitimate New Yorkers in the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. All of these inductees have a significant impact on New York State boxing during their respective times."

Others to make the cut include featherweight Johnny Dundee (83-32-20, 17 KOs); two-time world featherweight champion Sandy Saddler (144-16-2, 103 KOs) and light heavyweight champion Maxie Rosenbloom (207-39-26 (19 KOs). Living boxers heading into the Hall include middleweight Joey Archer (61-6-9, 50 KOs), three-division world champion Iran Barkley (43-19-1 (27 KOs); Mark Breland (35-3-1, 25 KOs), light heavyweight Bobby Cassidy (59-16-3, 27 KOs); world heavyweight challenger Doug Jones (30-10-1, 20 KOs), Junior Jones (50-6, 28 KOs), James "Buddy" McGirt (73-6-1, 48 KOs) and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (50-8-1, 39 KOs). Non-participants heading into the Hall include managers Shelly Finkel and Tony Graziano, analyst Larry Merchant, matchmaker Teddy Brenner, announcer Don Dunphy, and promoters Mike Jacobs and Tex Rickard.

All boxers needed to be inactive for at least three years in order to be eligible for NYSBHOF induction, and all inductees must have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their boxing careers.

Tickets for the induction dinner are priced at $150.00 per adult ($125.00 for Ring 8 members in good standing) and $50.00 for children, and includes a complete brunch and cocktail hour upon entry, starting at 12:30 p.m., as well as dinner (prime rib, fish or poultry) and open bar throughout the evening. Tickets are available to purchase at the Waterfront Crabhouse (2-03 Borden Ave in Long Island City), or by calling Tony Mazzarella at 718-729-4862 or Ring 8 president Bob Duffy at 516-313-2304.

Ring 8 holiday gala report

December, 19, 2011
Every now and again, especially after I've watched two guys whale away at each other, and I ponder the loss of brain cells and potential long-term damage, I need to be reminded about the best elements of boxing. I got some of that on Sunday afternoon, at the annual Ring 8 holiday gala, which unfolded at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach, Queens.

Ring 8 is an organization which honors boxing old-timers, focusing on guys who did their thing decades ago, of whom time may have passed by, but still deserve to be remembered and lauded. Ring 8 also exists to give some of these guys a financial hand-up when needed. And as I was reminded Sunday, the organization does a swell job at getting the word out that boxing can be an absolute lifeline to a directionless kid whose career and life options are likely limited to jail or death. Kids who have an iffy home life are often seduced by the street, embraced by other dead enders who haven't been properly nourished by solid role models, and indulge in antisocial and/or illegal acts.

Roy Jones, who fought on Dec. 10, winning a UD10 over Max Alexander. He will turn 43 in January, and lost three straight before beating journeyman Alexander. But he reminded the attendees that he loves the sport, and will do it as long as possible, because he isn't "afraid to get knocked down.

"Boxing taught me more about life than anything," said the future Hall of Famer. "Every little kid needs to know about boxing, especially little boys." He was given the Fighter of the Decade Award. Wiseguys cracked that no one is sure what decade that is.

Trainer-manager-TV analyst Manny Steward gave Ring 8 a shoutout, calling it "maybe the best organization in boxing" as he received his Trainer of the Decade award.

Teddy Atlas, present to give Marcus Browne the Amateur Boxer of the Year award, told the crowd how important it is for aimless kids to receive direction and boosts in self esteem that boxing can give. "It's an opportunity to not just win the Golden Gloves but to become better people," he said. Brown, a 20 year-old light heavy from Staten Island, won at the Olympic Trials and can secure a berth at the 2012 Games if he enjoys success at the US Nationals in March.

John Ruiz, who just wrote a book for kids ("Hook and Jab"), and opened a gym in Massachusetts, looked fit and trim. But the ex heavyweight champ, who was honored as the First Hispanic Heavyweight Champion, told me that he is done. He turns 40 on January 4.

Attorney Keith Sullivan won Member of the Year, and received a loving testimonial from pal Jack Hirsch, the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Hirsch said Sullivan, who does a huge amount of pro bono work, is almost single-handedly helping the reputation of lawyers in the region. Sullivan helps Ring 8, and the Atlas Foundation, and doesn't get a dime for his expertise. He told me he is happy that Ring 8 membership has seen a huge spike in recent years and that the organization is thriving.

David Diamante acted as emcee, and was congratulated by partygoers when it was announced that he beat out hundreds of contenders to win the spot as voice of the Nets, who will play in the still-being-built Barclays Center. Diamante, who emcees Lou DiBella's shows, owns a cigar lounge in Fort Greene, so his vibe will be a good fit for the team. "It's a blessing," he told me. "I was the last man standing."

Also present at the bash: NYSAC commission chair Melvina Lathan, Tommy Gallagher, his guy Gabriel Bracero, another kid saved by boxing, promoter Rich Komissar, Ring 8 president Bob Duffy, Tomasz Adamek, Delvin Rodriguez, Vinny Maddalone, and Vito Antuofermo.

N.Y. Boxing Hall of Fame inductees announced

October, 25, 2011
Even the casually aware boxing fan might know there is a boxing Hall of Fame. There are two, actually, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, located in Riverside, Calif.

The Canastota Hall is the more accepted of the two.

New York-area fight fans might be pleased to know that a New York State Boxing Hall of Fame, in planning for 14 months, is off the ground. A luncheon introducing the inaugural class of inductees was held at Gallagher's near Times Square on Tuesday.

Tony Mazzarella, a board-member of the Ring 8 club, a N.Y. group formed in 1954 to help and honor former boxers, has been trying to get a HOF for years now. He's offered space at his restaurant, the Waterfront Crabhouse in Long Island City, for plaques and memorabilia. A physical location is being hunted down.

Here's the first class to be inducted. It includes 12 boxers, and eight non-boxers.

"Sugar" Ray Robinson, "Iron" Mike Tyson, Jake "Bronx Bull" LaMotta, Carmen "Upstate Onion Farmer" Basilio, Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Mike "Bodysnatcher" McCallum, Gene "The Fighting Marine" Tunney, Benny "The Ghetto Wizard" Leonard and Tony Canzoneri. Also, judge/HBO analyst Harold Lederman, coach/instructor Steve Acunto, trainer/cut-man Jimmy Glenn and, posthumously, trainers Gil Clancy and Ray Arcel, Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer, New York Daily News boxing reporter/cartoonist Bill Gallo, and referee Arthur Mercante Sr.

Ring 8 president Bob Duffy announced plans for the kickoff dinner. "We plan to do this every year," Duffy said. "Our first introduction dinner will be at Russo's On The Bay in March of 2012. We have a wall at Waterfront Crabhouse which will list our Class of 2012 and another at the New York State Athletic Commission. We started this to honor New York fight people."

The inductees were selected by a six-member NYSBHOF nominating committee made up of Boxing Writers Association president Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, Henry Hascup, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Ron McNair and Neil Terens.

All boxers had to be inactive for at least three years and all inductees had to have lived in New York State for a significant portion of their careers.

Lederman had a couple people wiping the onion juice out of their eyes when he took to the mike and said, "I'm so honored to be in this first class. I've asked myself how did I get in the same class as Sugar Ray Robinson," as he choked up.

The event wasn't diminished at all by another press conference, run by famed promoter Don King, held at the same time at another location. Media turnout was a bit less than expected because of that, though. Word was King was going to cut his presser short and head over to the Hall session, but as the Gallagher's group exited the building, King was nowhere to be found. We can assume King was somehow melding the works of Aristotle, the deeds of Crispus Attucks and the plight of Rodney King together into a delicious oratorical stew that perhaps even had something to do with the sweet science.