Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



10 fighters who aren’t in Hall of Fame — but should be

Fighters Network

The electors of the International Boxing Hall of Fame do their best to recognize deserving inductees every year but with a sport as old as boxing and with so many accomplished past participants to consider, it’s only natural that some fighters worthy of enshrinement fall through the proverbial cracks.

Overlooked, underrated and forgotten fighters are as much a part of boxing as the champions, stars and legends of the sport. The following 10 boxers are not in the IBHOF, but co-editors Michael Rosenthal and Doug Fischer believe they should be.

Years fought: 1932-44
Record: 62-17-12 (13 KOs)
Biggest victories: Manuel Ortiz (W 10), Midget Wolgast (W 10) and Sixto Escobar (MD 15).
Comment: The Brooklyn-born 1932 Olympic bronze medalist won the bantamweight title twice during his 12-year career while facing the best 118 pounders of the 1930s and 1940s, including hall of famers Ortiz, Escobar and Wolgast. Both Ortiz and Escobar defeated Salica twice in return matches. Wolgast, a veteran of 130 bouts at the time, was the first to beat Salica, though it was his 17th pro bout. Salica also beat former flyweight champ Small Montana, and contenders Tony Olivera, Jackie Jurich, and Georgie Pace.

Years fought: 1944-51
Record: 72-23-7 (25 KOs)
Biggest victories: Charley Burley (UD 10), Holman Williams (W 10) and Jose Basora (W 10).
Comment: African-American middleweight from Oakland, Calif., was a skilled boxer who could fight when necessary, but similar to his ring rivals, he was denied a title shot because of the color of skin. Lytell dropped decisions to Jake LaMotta, Archie Moore (twice), and Harold Johnson, but the southpaw defeated hall of famers Burley (in their rematch) and Williams (going 1-1-1 in three bouts), both of whom beat Moore, as well as top contender Basora, who beat LaMotta and held Ray Robinson to a draw.

Years fought: 1982-93
Record: 38-1 (14 KOs)
Biggest victories: Joey Olivo (SD 15), Leo Gamez (SD 12, UD 12) and Hiroki Ioka (MD 12).
Comment: This isn’t too complicated. Yuh held a major junior flyweight title for six years and made 17 successful defenses, both of which set divisional records. Then, after losing the belt to Ioka in his opponent’s native Japan, regained it in Japan and made one more successful title defense before retiring. Plus, some believe he should’ve been awarded the decision against Ioka. The knock on him is that he didn’t face titleholders Humberto Gonzalez, Jung Koo Change and Michael Carbajal but success is success.

Years fought: 1945-59
Record: 75-26-3 (8 KOs)
Biggest victories: Sandy Saddler (SD 10, SD 10), Billy Graham (UD 10) and Jimmy Carter (UD 15).
Comment: Brooklyn-born boxer didn’t have much power but he took on the best featherweights, lightweights, junior welterweights and welterweights of the 1940s and 1950s, including hall of famers Saddler (who he twice outpointed) and “uncrowned welterweight champ” Graham. DeMarco won the lightweight title by outpointing Carter but lost the belt in an immediate rematch. He won 32 of his first 34 bouts before dropping a decision to Willie Pep (131-1-1 at the time). He also beat future 154-pound titleholder Ralph Dupas, featherweight contender Humberto Sierra (twice), and lightweight contenders Enrique Bolanos and Kenny Lane.

Years fought: 1963-86
Record: 48-9-4 (19 KOs)
Biggest victories: Ruben Olivares (TKO 8, UD 12), Rodolfo Martinez (MD 12, TKO 12) and Chucho Castillo (SD 12).
Comment: Herrera, a two-time bantamweight champ, is not revered by his countrymen the way Olivares is but the native of Jalisco, Mexico has the distinction of twice beating the hall of famer when the boxer-puncher was in his prime. When Herrera scored an eighth-round TKO of Olivares in their first bout the Mexican legend held an unbelievable 68-1-1 (63) record. Herrera won the rematch by decision. He also split two bouts with Olivares rival Castillo and went 2-1 in three bouts with the underrated Martinez, who held a 28-0-1 (25) record going into their first bout, which Herrera won.

Years fought: 1933-50
Record: 94-20-7 (28 KOs)
Biggest victories: Sixto Escobar (SD 10, W 10, UD 15, W 10), Joey Archibald (UD 15, UD 10), Jackie Wilson (SD 10), Phil Terranova (W 10), Lou Salica (UD 10).
Comment: The product of Baltimore won world major titles at bantamweight and featherweight when those divisions were deep in world-class fighters, which is extremely significant. Winning one title in those days was a major accomplishment. He defeated Hall of Famer Sixto Escobar of Puerto Rico in four of five meetings, which also is fairly convincing evidence of his ability. Several journalists and historians have passionately taken up Jeffra’s cause, another indication that he is deserving of induction.

Years fought: 1955-66
Record: 33-7 (11 KOs)
Biggest victories: Pascual Perez (SD 15, TKO 8), Fighting Harada (MD 15), Hiroyuki Ebihara (SD 15).
Comment: Kingpetch was the first world champion from talent-rich Thailand and an icon in his country. He held four major flyweight titles and went 2-0 against the the great Hall of Famer Pascual Perez of Argentina. He also split two fights with Hall of Famer Fighting Harada of Japan, regaining the belt he lost in 1962 by outpointed Harada the following year. He also went 1-1 against Hiroyuki Ebihara of Japan, a talented Hall of Fame candidate. Kingpetch proved his mettle against the best.

Years fought: 1980-97
Record: 34-6 (25 KOs)
Biggest victories: Lupe Aquino (W 12), Milton McCrory (KO 2), Gianfranco Rosi (KO 9), Carlos Santos (DQ 5), Marlon Starling (W 12, W 15).
Comment: Curry’s critics will point to his upset loss to Lloyd Honeygan and subsequent vulnerability as evidence that he should not be in the Hall. However, before Honeyghan, he had climbed to the pinnacle of the sport with a dazzling run of spectacular victories against some of the top fighters of his day, including a breathtaking second-round KO of Milton McCrory. The Texan won four major titles in two weight classes, including one (over Gianfranco Rosi) after the loss to Honeyghan.

Years fought: 1941-48
Record: 176-56-11 (48 KOs)
Biggest victories: Holman Williams (4-2-2 record), Chalky Wright (MD 10), Louis “Kid” Kaplan (W 10).
Comment: The large number of victories grabs your attention, as does the number of the losses. The fact is the Puerto Rican crammed a lot of fights into a relatively short period of time and was a consistent winner. Hall of Fame credentials aren’t made based on one series but his 4-2-2 record against inductee Holman Williams speaks loudly. He also beat Hall of Famers Chalky Wright and Louis “Kid” Kaplan and drew with the great Charley Burley.

Years fought: 1931-44
record: 135-19-9 (23 KOs)
Biggest victories: Fred Apostoli (MD 10), Ceferino Garcia (UD 15), Ezzard Charles (UD 10), Al Hostak (UD 10).
Comment: The smart, slick-boxing Virginian went 1-0-1 against a young Ezzard Charles, which gives you an idea how capable he was. It took Overlin nine years to win a major middleweight title, when he outpointed Ceferino Garcia in 1940, but he was a top contender for many years. He successfully defended his belt twice against Steve Belloise before losing it to Billy Soose. Overlin is one of the few fighters who ended his career on an undefeated streak. He went 13-0-3 in his last 16 fights.