Boxing: The Hall Of Fame – A Tale Of Two Fighters

larry holmes10.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Last week I received my ballot for the 2008 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductions. Of the forty-five boxers listed, as a voter I am allowed to vote for up to ten modern era fighters. The modern era category begins at 1943. Fighters are eligible for Hall of Fame consideration after being retired for five years. The three fighters who receive the most votes will be inducted into the hall during the June ceremonies in 2008.

Like many voters I do have some problems with certain hall of fame policies, particularly the fact that three modern era fighters are voted in each year. I personally feel that the boxing hall of fame should follow the strict rules of enshrinement that the baseball hall of fame adheres to. Mandating three modern inductees a year waters down the hall of fame itself because it opens the door for lesser fighters. There are more than a few boxers who don’t belong in the hall of fame but are in because of this policy. Having said that Executive Director Ed Brophy and his staff do a remarkable job and the grounds at Canastota continue to expand and improve. The June induction ceremony weekend has become a must see event for boxing fans. If you haven’t attended yet, I highly recommend you do so.

This year I voted for six fighters, the most notable being Larry Holmes. Holmes was a no-brainer. This was his first year on the ballot. Holmes represents what a first ballot hall of fame fighter truly is – his record and title reign speaks for itself.

Also on the ballot was a fighter who was always a personal favorite of mine, Donald Curry. Curry’s star blazed bright for a short period between 1983 and 1986 – 1985 being his apex as a fighter when he unified the welterweight title by knocking out Milton McCrory.

After that Curry fell into a puzzling downward spiral and never again approached the brilliance of that night against McCrory. The question is does this very good fighter, who was great for one year, belong in the hall of fame? An argument can be made that if Barry McGuigan was inducted then Curry certainly should be. Barry got in on his first appearance on the ballot, which I disagree with. If he were to ultimately get in he should have been made to wait, but that three fighter a year policy helps popular but perhaps not great fighters, like McGuigan, slip in. To me it devalues the concept of a hallowed ground for only the immortals of the ring.

I didn’t vote for Donald Curry. He will always remain a favorite of mine but I don’t think his credentials warrant induction. I may change my mind next year.

But mine is just one vote. Curry may very well be inducted in 2008. If he is I will applaud him because having met and talked with the man I know he is a true gentleman. And for that brief period he was something special, just not quite hall of fame material in my book.

Article posted on 11.10.2007

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