The International Boxing Hall of Fame: Not High on my Bucket List

The 28th annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY, wrapped up Sunday, June 11. I can’t say that everyone had a grand time because I wasn’t there — I’ve never been there – but I’ve yet to meet a boxing fan who went there and wasn’t keen to go back again.

That being said, the IBHOF adheres to certain practices that this reporter finds off-putting. Those practices have led to the enshrinement of some people with dubious credentials. Meanwhile, an egregious oversight gets more maddening with each passing year. These smudges have dampened my enthusiasm for making the pilgrimage to Canastota.

The inaugural Hall of Fame class, named in 1990, had 53 members. That was an unwieldy number, but IBHOF honcho Ed Brophy noted that boxing had been around for more than 100 years and the Hall had a lot of catching-up to do. This year’s class consisted of nine inductees. They fell into four categories: modern era boxers (Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera, Johnny Tapia), old timers (Eddie Booker), non-participants (Jimmy Lennon Sr., Johnny Lewis, Jerry Roth), and observers (Barry Tompkins, Steve Farhood). A fifth category, pioneers, now appears on the ballot only once every five years.

The electorate consists of full members of the Boxing Writers Association of America (there are currently 85) and an international panel of unidentified boxing historians. Before the ballots are sent out, a separate panel sifts through the list of eligible candidates and winnows it down to a manageable pool of nominees.

In the modern boxer category, as it now stands, electors are allowed to vote for up to five candidates. Every year, regardless of the vote total, three will be selected. Likewise, voters can select up to five non-participants and up to five observers. Regardless of how the vote goes – and there is no minimum required — the Hall is committed to welcoming three new non-participants and two new observers each year. In the old-timer category, voters may list as many as three boxers, but only the top vote-getter gets in.

In the modern boxer category, a fighter must be retired for five years before he becomes eligible for induction. The problem here, obviously, is that in some years there are more than three worthy candidates and in other years the pickings are slim. With an inflexible number of entrants each year, one runs the risk of diluting the quality of the product by adding substandard components.

Several prominent boxing writers, including ESPN’s Dan Rafael and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, have called for an overhaul of the selection process. Both favor the imposition of a threshold as is found in other sports. For example, in baseball a player eligible for the Hall of Fame must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to get in.

Insuring that no less than three boxers from the modern era go into the Hall each year was a prudent business decision. Induction Weekend is the signature event of a Hall that can’t survive on gate receipts and a gift shop alone. Induction Weekend reportedly draws as many people as will visit the Hall during all the other days of the year combined. Good turnouts are deemed essential to renewing the stipend that comes from the state treasury. Just imagine how dead the weekend would be if there were no recently retired boxers among the honorees. But while the IBHOF’s way of doing things is understandable, that doesn’t make it right.

Way back in February of 2008, Thomas Hauser took the IBHOF to task for “an unfortunate lack of transparency and the absence of accountability.” According to Hauser, the names that went on the various ballots were then chosen by a committee consisting of Brophy and three hand-picked consultants. As is true today, the final vote counts were kept secret. Considering these facts, it should come as no surprise that there have been murmurs that worthiness hasn’t always been the sole criterion in deciding which candidates get to pass “go.” Let’s be perfectly clear; no one is suggesting money under the table. However, there have been whispers that a tax-deductible contribution to the IBHOF above a certain amount will get a would-be inductee over the hump if he is looked upon as borderline.

In my humble opinion, the curious picks are clustered in the Non-Participant and Observer categories. There are currently 106 individuals enshrined in the Non-Participant category, defined as “those who have made contributions to the sport apart from roles as boxers and observers” (e.g. promoters, trainers, referees, matchmakers, administrators and press agents). The Observer category, a spin-off of the Non-Participant category, recognizes “print and media journalists, publishers, writers, historians, and artists.” It currently has 38 members.

And here is where we find the great oversight that I alluded to. I’m flabbergasted that the electorate (or is it the ballot-screeners?) has failed to recognize Ham Fisher.

Ham Fisher (1900-1955) created the comic strip boxer Joe Palooka. At its peak during the 1940s, the strip ran in more than 800 papers and had more than 50 million readers.

Humble, courageous, virtuous to a fault and completely without guile, Joe Palooka was a paragon of innocence in the Machiavellian world of prizefighting. While he was merely a character in the funny pages, a figment of one man’s imagination, one could argue that Joe Palooka was the greatest ambassador for boxing that the sport has ever known.

Like several other comic strip characters, Palooka was enlisted to fight the Nazis during World War II. In fact, he was the first comic strip hero to go off to war. His face on recruiting posters and his exploits in the comic strip were credited with stimulating enlistments and the sale of war bonds. It has been speculated that the term “GI Joe” originated with him.

Roping Ham Fisher into the Hall of Fame wouldn’t accomplish squat as far as attracting more bodies to Saratoga and that may have been true even if he were somehow still alive. Away from his drawing board, the man who made millions of people smile was an ill-humored man with very few friends.

Joe Palooka made Ham Fisher a very rich man. He derived royalties from 12 feature-length Joe Palooka films, a short-lived radio series, a short-lived TV sitcom, comic books, a board game, and sundry items for young boys such as the Joe Palooka metal lunchbox. But money didn’t buy happiness. Despondent over his declining health, Fisher committed suicide in 1955.

The comic strip continued on without him for 29 years. Joe Palooka wasn’t indomitable, but he outlived his creator by almost three decades.

It’s a fair guess that Sylvester Stallone was influenced — if only subliminally — by Ham Fisher. Joe Palooka, portrayed as the son of a coal miner, was a country boy whereas Rocky Balboa came from the mean streets of a big city, but otherwise the parallels are striking. Their imaginary ring battles were morality plays with stereotyped heroes and villains.

Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Observers category in 2011. Perhaps someday the IBHOF will see the light and put Ham Fisher in there too.

– – – –

I will certainly visit the IBHOF if I should find myself in the general area. I won’t make a special trip. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due. What IBHOF guiding spirit Ed Brophy has accomplished is remarkable. Many promoters before him announced plans to build a freestanding building to house a Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum, but those plans never materialized. The well-intentioned couldn’t raise the capital and the fly-by-nights were just blowing smoke. Brophy pulled it off. Starting from scratch, he and his supporters purchased a 10-acre lot and erected a 2,000-square foot facility that has been expanded twice with a third expansion in the works.

Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is a community-wide, indeed regional jamboree. Reportedly 200 volunteers chip in to make the weekend a success, some building floats for the Parade of Champions, one of the highlights of the final day of the four-day event. A go-getter like Brophy doesn’t need a scribbler like me, a man with no first-hand familiarity with the IBHOF scene, to come along and find fault with his operation, but I just did and it is what it is.

– – – –

The International Boxing Hall of Fame is located at exit 34 of the New York State Thruway, approximately 20 minutes from Syracuse. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

Boxing Hall

COMMENTS

-KO Digest :

Fun but not what it used to be, that's IBHOF Induction Weekend post-Bert Sugar. I'd like to see Marlon Starling make it past the secret gatekeepers and onto the ballot.


-KO Digest :

Fun but not what it used to be, that's IBHOF Induction Weekend post-Bert Sugar. I'd like to see Marlon Starling make it past the secret gatekeepers and onto the ballot.


-oubobcat :

I have plenty of fun Hall of Fame weekend. It's a trip I have locked in on my calendar to the day I die. But Arne makes some excellent points. I will post more later today but there are changes that need to be implemented. And more transparency is a must. One thing to start and that is I think outside of Hall of Fame weekend the Hall should do more. Why not have a quarterly event where a few boxers are brought up for the weekend? Maybe select some who don't always come to Canastota Hall of Fame Weekend and let them see first hand the passionate fans who admire them. This would draw an audience and be an exciting experience for fans and boxers alike. I know that myself personally any other time so have been in Canastota outside of Hall of Fame weekend find the place extremely empty other than if there is a big fight at Turning Stone. I think something simple like I stated above needs to be done to draw fans out more.


-oubobcat :

I have plenty of fun Hall of Fame weekend. It's a trip I have locked in on my calendar to the day I die. But Arne makes some excellent points. I will post more later today but there are changes that need to be implemented. And more transparency is a must. One thing to start and that is I think outside of Hall of Fame weekend the Hall should do more. Why not have a quarterly event where a few boxers are brought up for the weekend? Maybe select some who don't always come to Canastota Hall of Fame Weekend and let them see first hand the passionate fans who admire them. This would draw an audience and be an exciting experience for fans and boxers alike. I know that myself personally any other time so have been in Canastota outside of Hall of Fame weekend find the place extremely empty other than if there is a big fight at Turning Stone. I think something simple like I stated above needs to be done to draw fans out more.


-KO Digest :

They need to spruce the whole thing up. It's grown a bit stale I'm afraid.


-Kid Blast :

They need to spruce the whole thing up. It's grown a bit stale I'm afraid.
When is the last time you made a financial donation, KO? The Hall has sharp expenses and payroll costs that must be met. I have gladly contributed over the years and believe they do a great job with what they have to work with. For me, it's a place to enjoy; not criticize. I know many aficionados who think a certain fighter and/or observer should be in the Hall but you can't please everyone. Whenever you have a situation where choices must be made at the exclusion of others, there will be controversy As for "Transparency," what is that suppose to mean? We already know that the Full members of the BWAA (like Rafael) get to vote as well a special panel of historians (of which I have been a proud member for some time). What more do you need? If you want controversy, let's look at the BWAA and its "selection" process. That's something I won't do but maybe somebody else will. Bottom Line: The Hall is definitely on my bucket list as an incidental stop to other locations. Not as the sole location. Finally, what exactly has grown stale?


-Kid Blast :

They need to spruce the whole thing up. It's grown a bit stale I'm afraid.
When is the last time you made a financial donation, KO? The Hall has sharp expenses and payroll costs that must be met. I have gladly contributed over the years and believe they do a great job with what they have to work with. For me, it's a place to enjoy; not criticize. I know many aficionados who think a certain fighter and/or observer should be in the Hall but you can't please everyone. Whenever you have a situation where choices must be made at the exclusion of others, there will be controversy As for "Transparency," what is that suppose to mean? We already know that the Full members of the BWAA (like Rafael) get to vote as well a special panel of historians (of which I have been a proud member for some time). What more do you need? If you want controversy, let's look at the BWAA and its "selection" process. That's something I won't do but maybe somebody else will. Bottom Line: The Hall is definitely on my bucket list as an incidental stop to other locations. Not as the sole location. Finally, what exactly has grown stale?


-KO Digest :

I've spent plenty of money through the years in Canastota.


-Kid Blast :

Here is my point: If you are going to criticize the Hall, send Brophy a letter with the specifics. Calling it stale or saying you spent a lot of money is fine. What can the Hall do to improve itself? That's what I want to know. As for the article giving rise to these posts, I am in disagreement with much of it everything (especially the reference to Hauser) except the point about Ham Fisher with which I can well understand, but I don't get involved with that category. If I had my way, I would eliminate the Observer category, a spin-off of the Non-Participant category, that recognizes “print and media journalists, publishers, writers, historians, and artists." I'd focus on Boxers, managers, Trainers, referees, judges, cut men and those who have a more direct impact on the outcome of the fight But that's jus me. I am more than happy to participate as I do and help the Hall as much as I can. As for what you spent, that's great. But as Arne points out, they need as much as they can get and depend on donations year around along with the gate receipts for the Induction Weekend. And spending on a sausage sub at Graziano's doesn't count but buying a Basilio Hero inside the Hall grounds does.. lol PS: Someone mentioned the Baseball Hall. Keep in mind that any comparison here must include the fact that Baseball Writers are far more strict when it comes to the use of steroids--Sosa, McGuire, Canseco. etc--those there are some signs of softening. As Larry Merchant said a few years ago, if a boxer was denied entrance to the Hall because of steroid use, that might just have an effect deterrent impact on others. Interesting argument that begs to be written about,


-Kid Blast :

Here is my point: If you are going to criticize the Hall, send Brophy a letter with the specifics. Calling it stale or saying you spent a lot of money is fine. What can the Hall do to improve itself? That's what I want to know. As for the article giving rise to these posts, I am in disagreement with much of it (especially the reference to Hauser) except the point about Ham Fisher with which I can well understand, but I don't get involved with that category. If I had my way, I would eliminate the Observer category, a spin-off of the Non-Participant category, that recognizes “print and media journalists, publishers, writers, historians, and artists." I'd focus on Boxers, managers, Trainers, referees, judges, cut men and those who have a more direct impact on the outcome of the fight But that's just me. I am more than happy to participate as I do and help the Hall as much as I can. As for what you spent, that's great. But as Arne points out, they need as much as they can get and depend on donations year around along with the gate receipts from the Induction Weekend. And spending on a sausage sub at Graziano's doesn't count but buying a Basilio Hero inside the Hall grounds does.. lol PS: Someone mentioned the Baseball Hall. Keep in mind that any comparison here must include the fact that Baseball Writers are far more strict when it comes to the use of steroids--Sosa, McGuire, Canseco. etc--thogh there are some signs of softening. As Larry Merchant said a few years ago, if a boxer was denied entrance to the Hall because of steroid use, that might just have an effect deterrent impact on others. Interesting argument that begs to be written about,


-oubobcat :

My remaining thoughts on the Hall of Fame: First, I have talked with Brophy on several occasions and must say he is passionate about the Hall. I do sense though, and maybe somebody can add some thought to this, that he is the sole decision maker. I am not saying regarding of who gets in the Hall but of all other decisions with the Hall. It is much needed to have other voices making suggestions and maybe making some changes to the Hall and how things are done. KO Digest is right in a way that it is somewhat stale. When is the last time anything Hall of Fame Weekend was done any differently (except for scaling back on things) or anything different happened throughout the year at the Hall. The way things are run are a little stale and maybe some new voices are needed to inspire a little change. As for the weekend itself, first of all a change to the voting process is needed. In regards to the modern category, expand that to a maximum of six. And yes a percentage based policy is needed similar to other Hall of Fames. I say six because well why limit the modern fighters to 3 when there could be more deserving candidates who come up in a year or maybe the argument for someone who has just missed has gotten stronger. Second, yes transparency is badly needed. First, why not disclose the votes? Other Hall of Fames do so. Second, why have just Hall folks (Brophy) tally the figures. I don't sense anything is being handled improperly but why leave that open for debate. Lets get two or three respected writers there to view the ballots as they are opened and have them report on the results when appropriate. But transparency goes another way to and that is in regards to who gets in the Hall. I fear that sometimes voting is more a popularity contest than based on credentials. Here is an example. Arturo Gatti was voted into the Hall in 2013. He was a very popular fighter and popular with the writers. Personally, my favorite fighter to watch. But is he a Hall of Famer? Actually, I do say yes. But putting him in the Hall opens the door for other action fighters to be considered and get voted in. Maybe they don't have the strongest resumes but their fights were can't miss and resulted in so much action in a sport where entertainment is so paramount at times that they get into the Hall with that merit being considered on top of what else they accomplished in their career. And with Gatti's induction opening the door Ray Mancini got in based on similar attributes in 2015. But there are others who deserve consideration when adding in the entertainment value provided in their career who are not remotely being considered. Compare the careers' for example of Gatti and Mancini to Kevin Kelley. He is a former featherweight titlist and all time great action fighter. He was in as many entertaining back and forth wars as Gatti and Mancini if not more. The best fight I ever saw, and this includes all Gatti wars, was Kevin Kelley vs. Ricardo Rivera in 1995. Check out this fight on youtube and put round 6 up against any historic round in the sport. There is the Alejandro Gonzalez fight, Derrick Gainer fight (unreal war) and as Larry Merchant said the Hagler-Hearns of the featherweight division in the Hamed fight. And many more...My point being that if Gatti and Mancini are in large part because of their all action fights (and some on credentials) then why is Kelley not getting an inkling of interest from the writers? We need to be more transparent is how the candidates are selected and voted for. My one final thought. Talking with both Bert Cooper and Junior Jones this weekend I found out something interesting. Neither were there on invite from the Hall. Okay so Cooper has a checkered past so I can see why the Hall maybe a little weary of extending an invitation. But Junior Jones? What a perfect weekend to have him there as one of Barrera's old opponents but the call never went out. Yet, he sat with me for an hour and talked with much joy about his career. I could tell he enjoyed seeing a passionate fan hear the stories as much as I enjoyed sitting there talking with him in one of the greatest experiences of my life. Junior Jones is not a journeyman but I think the Hall should invite on their dime more journeyman type fighters to the proceedings. For example, someone like Marty Jakubowski (just an example, there are thousands of other possibilities). Give these guys the honor and respect they deserve. Let them walk around the fans with the name tag proudly displayed and let them be mobbed by people who love and respect what they accomplished in the sport even if not on the highest levels. They would be legends in Canastota and get the recognition they deserve. And the fans would love it and love the opportunity to get to chat these fighters up. Its not just the big names the Hall should be honoring but as many fighters as possible who had the courage to get through those ropes and compete.


-oubobcat :

My remaining thoughts on the Hall of Fame: First, I have talked with Brophy on several occasions and must say he is passionate about the Hall. I do sense though, and maybe somebody can add some thought to this, that he is the sole decision maker. I am not saying regarding of who gets in the Hall but of all other decisions with the Hall. It is much needed to have other voices making suggestions and maybe making some changes to the Hall and how things are done. KO Digest is right in a way that it is somewhat stale. When is the last time anything Hall of Fame Weekend was done any differently (except for scaling back on things) or anything different happened throughout the year at the Hall. The way things are run are a little stale and maybe some new voices are needed to inspire a little change. As for the weekend itself, first of all a change to the voting process is needed. In regards to the modern category, expand that to a maximum of six. And yes a percentage based policy is needed similar to other Hall of Fames. I say six because well why limit the modern fighters to 3 when there could be more deserving candidates who come up in a year or maybe the argument for someone who has just missed has gotten stronger. Second, yes transparency is badly needed. First, why not disclose the votes? Other Hall of Fames do so. Second, why have just Hall folks (Brophy) tally the figures. I don't sense anything is being handled improperly but why leave that open for debate. Lets get two or three respected writers there to view the ballots as they are opened and have them report on the results when appropriate. But transparency goes another way to and that is in regards to who gets in the Hall. I fear that sometimes voting is more a popularity contest than based on credentials. Here is an example. Arturo Gatti was voted into the Hall in 2013. He was a very popular fighter and popular with the writers. Personally, my favorite fighter to watch. But is he a Hall of Famer? Actually, I do say yes. But putting him in the Hall opens the door for other action fighters to be considered and get voted in. Maybe they don't have the strongest resumes but their fights were can't miss and resulted in so much action in a sport where entertainment is so paramount at times that they get into the Hall with that merit being considered on top of what else they accomplished in their career. And with Gatti's induction opening the door Ray Mancini got in based on similar attributes in 2015. But there are others who deserve consideration when adding in the entertainment value provided in their career who are not remotely being considered. Compare the careers' for example of Gatti and Mancini to Kevin Kelley. He is a former featherweight titlist and all time great action fighter. He was in as many entertaining back and forth wars as Gatti and Mancini if not more. The best fight I ever saw, and this includes all Gatti wars, was Kevin Kelley vs. Ricardo Rivera in 1995. Check out this fight on youtube and put round 6 up against any historic round in the sport. There is the Alejandro Gonzalez fight, Derrick Gainer fight (unreal war) and as Larry Merchant said the Hagler-Hearns of the featherweight division in the Hamed fight. And many more...My point being that if Gatti and Mancini are in large part because of their all action fights (and some on credentials) then why is Kelley not getting an inkling of interest from the writers? We need to be more transparent is how the candidates are selected and voted for. My one final thought. Talking with both Bert Cooper and Junior Jones this weekend I found out something interesting. Neither were there on invite from the Hall. Okay so Cooper has a checkered past so I can see why the Hall maybe a little weary of extending an invitation. But Junior Jones? What a perfect weekend to have him there as one of Barrera's old opponents but the call never went out. Yet, he sat with me for an hour and talked with much joy about his career. I could tell he enjoyed seeing a passionate fan hear the stories as much as I enjoyed sitting there talking with him in one of the greatest experiences of my life. Junior Jones is not a journeyman but I think the Hall should invite on their dime more journeyman type fighters to the proceedings. For example, someone like Marty Jakubowski (just an example, there are thousands of other possibilities). Give these guys the honor and respect they deserve. Let them walk around the fans with the name tag proudly displayed and let them be mobbed by people who love and respect what they accomplished in the sport even if not on the highest levels. They would be legends in Canastota and get the recognition they deserve. And the fans would love it and love the opportunity to get to chat these fighters up. Its not just the big names the Hall should be honoring but as many fighters as possible who had the courage to get through those ropes and compete.


-Kid Blast :

My remaining thoughts on the Hall of Fame: First, I have talked with Brophy on several occasions and must say he is passionate about the Hall. I do sense though, and maybe somebody can add some thought to this, that he is the sole decision maker. I am not saying regarding of who gets in the Hall but of all other decisions with the Hall. It is much needed to have other voices making suggestions and maybe making some changes to the Hall and how things are done. KO Digest is right in a way that it is somewhat stale. When is the last time anything Hall of Fame Weekend was done any differently (except for scaling back on things) or anything different happened throughout the year at the Hall. The way things are run are a little stale and maybe some new voices are needed to inspire a little change. As for the weekend itself, first of all a change to the voting process is needed. In regards to the modern category, expand that to a maximum of six. And yes a percentage based policy is needed similar to other Hall of Fames. I say six because well why limit the modern fighters to 3 when there could be more deserving candidates who come up in a year or maybe the argument for someone who has just missed has gotten stronger. Second, yes transparency is badly needed. First, why not disclose the votes? Other Hall of Fames do so. Second, why have just Hall folks (Brophy) tally the figures. I don't sense anything is being handled improperly but why leave that open for debate. Lets get two or three respected writers there to view the ballots as they are opened and have them report on the results when appropriate. But transparency goes another way to and that is in regards to who gets in the Hall. I fear that sometimes voting is more a popularity contest than based on credentials. Here is an example. Arturo Gatti was voted into the Hall in 2013. He was a very popular fighter and popular with the writers. Personally, my favorite fighter to watch. But is he a Hall of Famer? Actually, I do say yes. But putting him in the Hall opens the door for other action fighters to be considered and get voted in. Maybe they don't have the strongest resumes but their fights were can't miss and resulted in so much action in a sport where entertainment is so paramount at times that they get into the Hall with that merit being considered on top of what else they accomplished in their career. And with Gatti's induction opening the door Ray Mancini got in based on similar attributes in 2015. But there are others who deserve consideration when adding in the entertainment value provided in their career who are not remotely being considered. Compare the careers' for example of Gatti and Mancini to Kevin Kelley. He is a former featherweight titlist and all time great action fighter. He was in as many entertaining back and forth wars as Gatti and Mancini if not more. The best fight I ever saw, and this includes all Gatti wars, was Kevin Kelley vs. Ricardo Rivera in 1995. Check out this fight on youtube and put round 6 up against any historic round in the sport. There is the Alejandro Gonzalez fight, Derrick Gainer fight (unreal war) and as Larry Merchant said the Hagler-Hearns of the featherweight division in the Hamed fight. And many more...My point being that if Gatti and Mancini are in large part because of their all action fights (and some on credentials) then why is Kelley not getting an inkling of interest from the writers? We need to be more transparent is how the candidates are selected and voted for. My one final thought. Talking with both Bert Cooper and Junior Jones this weekend I found out something interesting. Neither were there on invite from the Hall. Okay so Cooper has a checkered past so I can see why the Hall maybe a little weary of extending an invitation. But Junior Jones? What a perfect weekend to have him there as one of Barrera's old opponents but the call never went out. Yet, he sat with me for an hour and talked with much joy about his career. I could tell he enjoyed seeing a passionate fan hear the stories as much as I enjoyed sitting there talking with him in one of the greatest experiences of my life. Junior Jones is not a journeyman but I think the Hall should invite on their dime more journeyman type fighters to the proceedings. For example, someone like Marty Jakubowski (just an example, there are thousands of other possibilities). Give these guys the honor and respect they deserve. Let them walk around the fans with the name tag proudly displayed and let them be mobbed by people who love and respect what they accomplished in the sport even if not on the highest levels. They would be legends in Canastota and get the recognition they deserve. And the fans would love it and love the opportunity to get to chat these fighters up. Its not just the big names the Hall should be honoring but as many fighters as possible who had the courage to get through those ropes and compete.
Brophy) does not tally the figures; they are sent to an independent firm that does this. No debate in mind whatsoever. None! Otherwise
very good points IMO, though I cannot say much about who gets in and who doesn't for obvious reason. I can say that this year I voted for Barrera, Holyfield, and Maske (31-1) I also voted for Tony DeMarco and Eddie Booker ---as I recall. One inherent issue is that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes more difficult in the future because others have become eligible. Still, I'd favor exclusivity over generosity any day of the week.


-Kid Blast :

My remaining thoughts on the Hall of Fame: First, I have talked with Brophy on several occasions and must say he is passionate about the Hall. I do sense though, and maybe somebody can add some thought to this, that he is the sole decision maker. I am not saying regarding of who gets in the Hall but of all other decisions with the Hall. It is much needed to have other voices making suggestions and maybe making some changes to the Hall and how things are done. KO Digest is right in a way that it is somewhat stale. When is the last time anything Hall of Fame Weekend was done any differently (except for scaling back on things) or anything different happened throughout the year at the Hall. The way things are run are a little stale and maybe some new voices are needed to inspire a little change. As for the weekend itself, first of all a change to the voting process is needed. In regards to the modern category, expand that to a maximum of six. And yes a percentage based policy is needed similar to other Hall of Fames. I say six because well why limit the modern fighters to 3 when there could be more deserving candidates who come up in a year or maybe the argument for someone who has just missed has gotten stronger. Second, yes transparency is badly needed. First, why not disclose the votes? Other Hall of Fames do so. Second, why have just Hall folks (Brophy) tally the figures. I don't sense anything is being handled improperly but why leave that open for debate. Lets get two or three respected writers there to view the ballots as they are opened and have them report on the results when appropriate. But transparency goes another way to and that is in regards to who gets in the Hall. I fear that sometimes voting is more a popularity contest than based on credentials. Here is an example. Arturo Gatti was voted into the Hall in 2013. He was a very popular fighter and popular with the writers. Personally, my favorite fighter to watch. But is he a Hall of Famer? Actually, I do say yes. But putting him in the Hall opens the door for other action fighters to be considered and get voted in. Maybe they don't have the strongest resumes but their fights were can't miss and resulted in so much action in a sport where entertainment is so paramount at times that they get into the Hall with that merit being considered on top of what else they accomplished in their career. And with Gatti's induction opening the door Ray Mancini got in based on similar attributes in 2015. But there are others who deserve consideration when adding in the entertainment value provided in their career who are not remotely being considered. Compare the careers' for example of Gatti and Mancini to Kevin Kelley. He is a former featherweight titlist and all time great action fighter. He was in as many entertaining back and forth wars as Gatti and Mancini if not more. The best fight I ever saw, and this includes all Gatti wars, was Kevin Kelley vs. Ricardo Rivera in 1995. Check out this fight on youtube and put round 6 up against any historic round in the sport. There is the Alejandro Gonzalez fight, Derrick Gainer fight (unreal war) and as Larry Merchant said the Hagler-Hearns of the featherweight division in the Hamed fight. And many more...My point being that if Gatti and Mancini are in large part because of their all action fights (and some on credentials) then why is Kelley not getting an inkling of interest from the writers? We need to be more transparent is how the candidates are selected and voted for. My one final thought. Talking with both Bert Cooper and Junior Jones this weekend I found out something interesting. Neither were there on invite from the Hall. Okay so Cooper has a checkered past so I can see why the Hall maybe a little weary of extending an invitation. But Junior Jones? What a perfect weekend to have him there as one of Barrera's old opponents but the call never went out. Yet, he sat with me for an hour and talked with much joy about his career. I could tell he enjoyed seeing a passionate fan hear the stories as much as I enjoyed sitting there talking with him in one of the greatest experiences of my life. Junior Jones is not a journeyman but I think the Hall should invite on their dime more journeyman type fighters to the proceedings. For example, someone like Marty Jakubowski (just an example, there are thousands of other possibilities). Give these guys the honor and respect they deserve. Let them walk around the fans with the name tag proudly displayed and let them be mobbed by people who love and respect what they accomplished in the sport even if not on the highest levels. They would be legends in Canastota and get the recognition they deserve. And the fans would love it and love the opportunity to get to chat these fighters up. Its not just the big names the Hall should be honoring but as many fighters as possible who had the courage to get through those ropes and compete.
Brophy) does not tally the figures; they are sent to an independent firm that does this. No debate in mind whatsoever. None! Otherwise
very good points IMO, though I cannot say much about who gets in and who doesn't for obvious reason. I can say that this year I voted for Barrera, Holyfield, and Maske (31-1) I also voted for Tony DeMarco and Eddie Booker ---as I recall. One inherent issue is that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes more difficult in the future because others have become eligible. Still, I'd favor exclusivity over generosity any day of the week.


-oubobcat :

Brophy) does not tally the figures; they are sent to an independent firm that does this. No debate in mind whatsoever. None! Otherwise
very good points IMO, though I cannot say much about who gets in and who doesn't for obvious reason. I can say that this year I voted for Barrera, Holyfield, and Maske (31-1) I also voted for Tony DeMarco and Eddie Booker ---as I recall. One inherent issue is that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes more difficult in the future because others have become eligible. Still, I'd favor exclusivity over generosity any day of the week.
Thanks and for the record can't argue with your picks. Maske is another fighter who is falling short but shouldn't be. And you are correct in that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes tougher and tougher each year after given the current structure. I do have to go back to who tallies the votes. Who is the independent firm and why are the vote totals not disclosed? Who else is overseeing? For the record, I think Brophy is an honest guy but also a hands on guy. It is hard for me to envision that he is not involved in the vote tally process as hands on as he is in the whole process. I just think add some writers to witness the whole thing and take any potential perceived conflicts of interest out of the process entirely.


-oubobcat :

Brophy) does not tally the figures; they are sent to an independent firm that does this. No debate in mind whatsoever. None! Otherwise
very good points IMO, though I cannot say much about who gets in and who doesn't for obvious reason. I can say that this year I voted for Barrera, Holyfield, and Maske (31-1) I also voted for Tony DeMarco and Eddie Booker ---as I recall. One inherent issue is that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes more difficult in the future because others have become eligible. Still, I'd favor exclusivity over generosity any day of the week.
Thanks and for the record can't argue with your picks. Maske is another fighter who is falling short but shouldn't be. And you are correct in that when a fighter does not get in, it becomes tougher and tougher each year after given the current structure. I do have to go back to who tallies the votes. Who is the independent firm and why are the vote totals not disclosed? Who else is overseeing? For the record, I think Brophy is an honest guy but also a hands on guy. It is hard for me to envision that he is not involved in the vote tally process as hands on as he is in the whole process. I just think add some writers to witness the whole thing and take any potential perceived conflicts of interest out of the process entirely.


-Kid Blast :

Good civil discussion Thanks


-Kid Blast :

Good civil discussion Thanks