Narrowing the field for Canastota
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If it's late October...it must be voting season.
But rather than droning on about the goods and evils of red and blue states - you can get that from insipid TV know-it-alls like Keith Olbermann, after all - I'm tackling something more impactful.
A full 96 hours before that Election Day, members of the Boxing Writers Association of America are charged with tapping three more recent standouts for induction to the "modern" wing of the International Boxing Hall of Fame & Museum in Canastota, N.Y.
Inductees in 2008 included heavyweight Larry Holmes, junior welterweight Eddie Perkins, promoters Mogens Palle and Frank Warren and journalists Dave Anderson and Joe Koizumi.
The Hall's 20th version of Inauguration Day comes with an official ceremony on June 14, 2009.
But first, there's a primary process.
Lennox Lewis held WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles between 1993 and 2003.
No fewer than 45 boxers active for at least one fight since 1943 are on the modern ballot for 2009, with voting done through Friday by BWAA members and select non-members chosen by the Hall's board of directors.
Observers, non-participants, pioneers and old-timers are also chosen by the board.
Each modern voter chooses from one to 10 boxers, with the top three punching a ticket.
"They called me and told me I'd made it and I didn't want to tell anyone how excited I was about it," Holmes said last year in a FitzHitz interview, shortly after he'd be informed of his induction.
"So I went to bed that night and I woke up my wife, and when she asked me what I was doing, I said, I can do that now, because I'm a Hall of Famer.
"And she said, 'OK, but if you ever do it again, you'll be a dead Hall of Famer."
Here's one mans look at Holmes' potential new colleagues in 2009:
Georgie Abrams - Floored champion Tony Zale in failed 1941 middleweight title bid; lost decisions to Ray Robinson, Marcel Cerdan and Fred Apostoli. Vote: NO.
Horacio Accavallo - Seventy-five wins in 83 career fights; held WBA flyweight title in 1966-67. Vote: NO.
Joey Archer - Defeated Ray Robinson in Robinsons final fight; two failed bids against middleweight champion Emile Griffith in 1966-67. Vote: NO.
Jose Becerra - Seventy-two wins in 79 career fights; held world bantamweight title in 1959-60. Vote: NO.
Johnny Bratton - Held NBA welterweight title in 1951; went 0-2-1 in three bouts with Kid Gavilan. Vote: NO.
Orlando Canizales - Held IBF bantamweight title from 1988-95; made 16 successful defenses. Vote: YES.
Jimmy Carruthers - Held world bantamweight title from 1952-54; went 2-4 over six-fight comeback in 1961-62. Vote: NO.
Jung-Koo Chang - WBA light flyweight champion from 1983-89; 15 successful title defenses. Vote: YES.
Donald Curry - Held WBA, IBF and WBC welterweight titles from 1983-86; subsequently won WBC title at 154 pounds. Vote: NO.
Hiroyuki Ebihara - Held WBA/WBC flyweight titles in 1963-64; later held WBA championship in 1969. Vote: NO.
Tommy Farr - Won 81 of 126 career bouts; dropped 15-round decision to heavyweight champion Joe Louis in 1937. Vote: NO.
Tiger Jack Fox - Won 153 of 191 career bouts; fought professionally from 1928-50. Vote: NO.
Ceferino Garcia - Won 102 of 142 career bouts; held NYSAC world middleweight title in 1939-40. Vote: NO.
Betulio Gonzalez - Won 75 of 91 career bouts; three flyweight title reigns from 1972-79. Vote: NO.
Yoko Gushiken - Won WBA junior flyweight title in ninth career bout; made 13 successful title defenses. Vote: YES.
Naseem Hamed - Held WBO, IBF and WBC flyweight titles from 1995-2001; went 17-1 with 14 knockouts in 18 career championship bouts. Vote: YES.
Carlos Hernandez - Held WBA/WBC junior welterweight titles in 1965-66; lost subsequent WBA title bout in 1969. Vote: NO.
Rafael Herrera - Won WBA/WBC bantamweight titles from Ruben Olivares in 1972; subsequently held WBC championship in 1973-74. Vote: NO.
Al Hostak - Two reigns as NBA world middleweight champion; stopped twice in title bouts by Tony Zale. Vote: NO.
Harry Jeffra - Won 94 of 122 career bouts; held world titles at bantamweight and featherweight. Vote: NO.
Peter Kane - Held world flyweight title in 1938-39; won 88 of 99 career bouts. Vote: NO.
Cocoa Kid - Won 176 of 244 career bouts; held "colored" welterweight and middleweight world championships. Vote: NO.
Pone Kingpetch - Three flyweight championship reigns; won six of nine career title bouts. Vote: NO.
Tippy Larkin - Won 136 of 153 career bouts; won world junior welterweight title in 1946. Vote: NO.
Jose Legra - Two reigns as WBC featherweight champion; won 134 of 150 career bouts. Vote: NO.
Lennox Lewis - Held WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles between 1993 and 2003; went 16-2 in 18 career title bouts. Vote: YES.
Miguel (Happy) Lora - Held WBC bantamweight title from 1985-88; lost WBO championship tries in 1991 and 1993. Vote: NO.
Raul (Raton) Macias - World bantamweight champion from 1955-57; won one-fight comeback in 1962. Vote: NO.
Ernesto Marcel - Retired as WBA featherweight champion in 1974; defeated Alexis Arguello in final title defense. Vote: NO.
Lloyd Marshall - Won 71 of 100 career bouts; defeated Jake LaMotta by decision in 1944. Vote: NO.
Freddie Mills - Won 76 of 101 career bouts; captured world light heavyweight title in 1948. Vote: NO.
Brian Mitchell - Held WBA and IBF 130-pound titles from 1986-91; went 12-0-2 in 14 career title bouts. Vote: YES.
Rinty Monaghan - Won all four career title bouts; retired as world flyweight champion in 1950. Vote: NO.
Masao Ohba - Won final 19 bouts; held WBA flyweight title from 1970-73. Vote: NO.
Ken Overlin - Won 135 of 165 career bouts; held world middleweight title in 1940-41. Vote: NO.
Gustave Roth - Won 113 of 137 career bouts; held European welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight titles. Vote: NO.
Lou Salica - Held world bantamweight titles in 1935 and again from 1939-42; lost to fellow nominee Harry Jeffra in final bout. Vote: NO.
Dave Sands - Won 97 of 110 career bouts; held Australian middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. Vote: NO.
Petey Scalzo - Won 90 of 112 career bouts; held world featherweight title in 1940-41. Vote: NO.
Samuel Serrano - Two reigns as WBA super featherweight champion; went 15-2-1 in 18 career title bouts. Vote: YES.
Yoshio Shirai - Held world flyweight title from 1952-54; lost two subsequent title tries against Pascual Perez. Vote: NO.
Kid Tunero - Won 97 of 148 career bouts; went 1-6-2 in final nine bouts before retirement at age 38. Vote: NO.
Wilfredo Vazquez - Held WBA titles at 118, 122 and 126 pounds; went 16-3-2 in 21 career title bouts. Vote: YES.
Myung-Woo Yuh - Two reigns as WBA light flyweight champion; won 20 of 21 career title bouts. Vote: YES.
Hilario Zapata - Two reigns as WBC light flyweight champion and one as WBA flyweight champion; went 18-5-2 in title bouts. Vote: YES.
Vote early and vote often.
* * * * * * * *
This weeks title-fight capsules:
IBF/IBO flyweight titles - Las Vegas, Nev.
Nonito Donaire (IBF/IBO champion) vs. Moruti Mthalane (No. 1 IBF challenger/No. 16 IBO flyweight)
Donaire (19-1, 12 KO): Second title defense; three straight wins by KO
Mthalane (22-1, 15 KO): Nine-fight win streak; first bout outside South Africa
FitzHitz says: Donaire in 10
IBF/WBA/WBC junior bantamweight/super flyweight titles - Carson, Calif.
Cristian Mijares (WBA/WBC champion) vs. Vic Darchinyan (IBF champion)
Mijares (36-3-2, 15 KO): Unbeaten since 2002; eighth career title fight (7-0)
Darchinyan (30-1-1, 24 KO): First IBF title defense; former IBF/IBO flyweight champion
FitzHitz says: Mijares by decision
WBA middleweight title - Oberhausen, Germany
Felix Sturm (champion) vs. Sebastian Sylvester (No. 1 challenger)
Sturm (30-2-1, 13 KO): Third reign at 160; 10th career title fight (7-2-1, 1 KO)
Sylvester (29-2, 14 KO): Won title eliminator in April; eight-fight win streak
FitzHitz says: Sturm by decision
WBO junior middleweight title - Oberhausen, Germany
Sergiy Dzinziruk (champion) vs. Joel Julio (No. 2 challenger)
Dzinziruk (35-0, 22 KO): Fifth title defense; champion since 2005
Julio (34-1, 31 KO): First career title fight; unbeaten above 147 pounds
FitzHitz says: Julio in 7
WBO junior bantamweight title - Aguascalientes, Mexico
Fernando Montiel (champion) vs. Juan Alberto Rosas (unranked)
Montiel (37-2-1, 28 KO): Second reign at 115; 17th career title fight (14-2, 11 KO)
Rosas (27-4, 23 KO): First career title fight; two wins in six fights in 23 months
FitzHitz says: Montiel in 6
Last weeks record: 3-2
Overall picks record: 34-11
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He provides 'In The Ring' commentary for Cold Hard Sports on MVN (coldhardsports.com), is a periodic contributor to 'The Drive with Dave Smith' on KLAA radio (am830klaa.com) and can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.