It doesn’t have the numbers of the previous three years, but the class of 2016 enshrinees to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame can more than hold their own when it comes to their contributions to the sport in the Silver State.
The hall announced Tuesday that boxers Riddick Bowe, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Freddie Little, Ricardo “Finito” Lopez and Christy Martin will be inducted July 29-30 at Caesars Palace. Joining them will be trainers Kenny Adams and Thell Torrance, former gym owner and trainer Johnny Tocco, longtime boxing writer Tim Dahlberg and television and radio personality James Smith.
An announcement on ticket prices and public sale will be made at a later date.
“Yet again, we have an outstanding class to present for induction,” Hall founder and president Rich Marotta said. “It’s a great mix of fighters, and we’re thrilled to induct our first woman, Christy Martin. This will be a big night for us and will add many legendary names to our already prestigious group of inductees.”
Bowe was a former undisputed world heavyweight champion and made his professional debut in Reno, stopping Lionel Butler. His three epic bouts with Evander Holyfield were all fought in Las Vegas and he finished 43-1 with 33 knockouts.
Mancini, a former lightweight champion, was involved in several classic fights in Nevada. He defeated Duk Koo Kim at Caesars Palace in a fight that would ultimately cost Kim his life, and he scored a spectacular knockout victory over Bobby Chacon in Reno. He was 29-5 with 23 KOs.
Whitaker, a welterweight regarded as one of the best defensive fighters ever, was a 1984 Olympic gold medalist. His memorable moment came in 1993 in San Antonio when his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez ended in controversy as the judges called it a draw even though many believe Whitaker had done enough to win. He was 43-4-1 with 17 KOs.
Martin, who was nicknamed “The Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was 49-7-3 with 31 KOs. She was often booked on Mike Tyson’s undercards, which helped her gain exposure and publicity, and she is regarded as the first great female boxing champion.
Little became the first Nevadan to win a world title when he defeated Stanley Hayward for the WBA and WBC super welterweight titles in Las Vegas in 1969. He was 51-6 with 31 KOs and later served on the Nevada Athletic Commission. Lopez was 51-0-1 with 36 KOs as an 11-year champ at minimumweight.
Adams was the trainer of the 1988 U.S. Olympic boxing team and later trained several pro world champions, including Johnny Tapia, Michael Nunn, Diego Corrales and Kennedy McKinney. Torrence was a protege of Eddie Futch and worked with Bowe, Ken Norton and Mike McCallum.
Dahlberg, the Associated Press’ national columnist and longtime boxing writer who is based out of Las Vegas, was the 1999 Nat Fleischer Award winner for his work in the sport. He is the author of “Fight Town,” the history of boxing in Las Vegas. Smith, a former boxer who lives in Las Vegas, has done the weekly syndicated boxing show “In This Corner” for years.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj