The second induction class of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame has a big feel to it.
The 18-member class includes Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Evander Holyfield and Archie Moore. President and founder Rich Marotta said he didn’t plan for it to be that way, but it is a heavyweight class.
“We’ve got some of the greatest names in boxing going in,” Marotta said Tuesday after the official announcement at former boxing referee Richard Steele’s gym in North Las Vegas. “It’s an amazing group.”
The Class of 2014 will be inducted in August in Las Vegas. The other members are former world champions Roberto Duran and Cornelius Boza-Edwards, referees Steele and Kenny Bayless, former Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Luther Mack and former executive director Chuck Minker, longtime trainer and cutman Miguel Diaz, matchmaker Bruce Trampler, former Review-Journal boxing writer Kevin Iole, broadcaster Col. Bob Sheridan, and casino executives Steve Wynn and Clifford Perlman.
Boza-Edwards, who lives in Las Vegas and works with fighters at Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s gym, will enter as a member of the Nevada Resident Boxer category. He fought from 1976 to 1987 and had a 45-7-1 record with 34 knockouts, and was the WBC super featherweight champion in 1981.
“To go in with all these great guys like Joe Louis and Archie Moore, it’s a great honor,” said Boza-Edwards, 57. “We don’t realize we age as we grow old. It takes something like the Hall of Fame to remind you how old you are.”
Steele, who worked Boza-Edwards’ famous fight against Bobby Chacon in 1983 at Caesars Palace, where Chacon won a unanimous decision in what was Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year, will be giving a second Hall of Fame speech this summer. He also is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June.
“They’re both great honors, but this one hits close to the heart because it’s Nevada, and Nevada is home,” said Steele, 70. “I know so many of these guys that are going in, these people helped make boxing in this state. And what makes it really special is that I get to go in with Kenny Bayless, someone who I helped break into the sport as a referee and who is still one of the finest referees in the world.”
Steele, a referee from 1972 to 2006, and Bayless will enter as an Official.
Bayless, who began officiating in 1993 after working as an inspector for the Nevada Athletic Commission, continues to work at a high level.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said Bayless, 63. “Usually, an honor like this comes after you’ve retired. But I’m still active. And the fact I get to go in with Richard and that it’s Nevada, my home, really makes this a special honor.”
The inductees join last year’s inaugural class of 19. A Pioneer category for those prominent in Nevada boxing before 1960 and an Adoptive Nevada Resident category for those who made the state their home after they retired were added this year.
“We added two categories after we got some criticism about not reaching out to the history of boxing in Nevada,” Marotta said. “We think we addressed it with this class.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.