Erik Morales, Vitali Klitschko, and Winky Wright were Inducted into the IBHOF

06/12/2018 - By James Stillerman - Comments

Erik Morales, Vitali Klitschko, and Winky Wright were inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, all in their first-year of eligibility.

Erik “El Terrible” Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) became the first Mexican-born boxer to win world titles in four-divisions (bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, and super lightweight). During his career, he defeated fifteen world champions, some of whom include Hall of Famer Daniel Zaragoza (KO 11), Junior Jones (TKO 4), Wayne Cullough (W 12), Kevin Kelly (TKO 7), In-Jin Chi (W 12), Paulie Ayala (W 12), Jesus Chavez (W 12), and Carlos Hernandez (W 12). Morales is considered by most boxing experts one of the top fifty fighters of all-time.

He defeated Marco Antonio Barrera (who got inducted into the Hall of Fame last year) via twelve-round split decision in their first of three bouts. This bout was considered one of the greatest fights of all-time and was a consensus Fight-of-the-Year in 2000. In addition, the fifth-round won Round-of-the-Year.

He won six more bouts, but then lost a twelve-round unanimous decision to Barrera in the rematch, which ended his undefeated (41-0) record. Barrera also beat Morales in the final fight of the trilogy (L 12), which again won Fight-of-the-Year in 2004. Their trilogy is considered one of the best ever.

Morales, who started his boxing career at just seventeen-years-old, bounced back after his second loss to Barrera to defeat three-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao via a twelve-round unanimous decision. Pacquiao knocked him out in their next two bouts. Several fights later, he defeated Pablo Cesar Cano for his fourth and final divisional title.

“Dr. Ironfist” Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) was a three-time heavyweight world champion. During his last title reign, he made nine consecutive defenses and he and his brother, Wladimir held all four heavyweight belts at the same time. He finished his career with thirteen consecutive victories.

Klitschko, who has a PhD in sports science, won his first world title (WBO) against Herbie Hide and made two successful title defenses. He then suffered his first defeat to Chris Byrd when he quit on his stool in the ninth-round after he tore his rotator cuff. He was winning the fight at the time of the stoppage by a wide margin on all the scorecards (89-82, 88-83, and 88-83). Klitschko won five in a row, but lost to Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis in another bout that he was winning on all three scorecards (58-56) when the fight was stopped in the sixth-round from a horrible cut over his left eye.

After he was unable to secure a rematch with Lewis, who retired, he beat Kirk Johnson (TKO 2). He then avenged his brother’s second-round technical loss to Corrie Sanders (TKO 8) for his second world title (WBO). He made one successful title defense against Danny Williams (TKO 8) and retired because he could not stay healthy from repeated knee and shoulder injuries.

He came out of retirement four-years later and defeated several world title challengers which included Samuel Peter (TKO 8), Juan Carlos Gomez (TKO 9), Chris Arreola (TKO 10), world champion, Shannon Briggs (W 12), Tomasz Adamek (TKO 10), Dereck Chisora (W 12), and Manuel Charr (TKO 4), in his final bout.

Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev (since 2014), the capital of his native Ukraine, was an exceptionally powerful puncher who also had an extremely durable chin. The hard-punching Klitschko retired with an eighty-seven percent knockout ratio, which is one of the highest ever for a heavyweight world champion. He was also one of the only heavyweight titleholders to never be knocked down during his professional career.

Ronald “Winky” Wright (51-6-1, 25 KOs) was a two-time junior middleweight title holder and the last undisputed champion in this division. He was a regular pound-for-pound contender for much of the late 1990s until the mid 2000s.

He held his first junior middleweight title (WBO) when he defeated Bronco McKart via a twelve-round split decision. He made three successful world title defenses and then suffered an extremely controversial majority decision to undefeated Harry Simon, which was originally ruled a draw. One fight later, he lost to unbeaten IBF world champion, Fernando Vargas in another disputed decision that many believed he had won.

Wright, who is considered one of the greatest defensive fighters of all-time, won the junior middleweight title (IBF) for a second time when he scored a twelve-round unanimous decision over Robert Frazier. He made four world title defenses, but it was not until he scored two consecutive upset victories over Shane Mosley, who at the time was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world after he defeated Oscar De La Hoya for the second time, that he gained the long overdue respect that he rightfully deserved. His first win over Mosley made him the undisputed champion as he picked up the WBA and WBC world titles.

Wright, who fought in eight countries and before his victories over Mosley was more popular in Europe than his hometown of Saint Petersburg, Florida, moved up to the middleweight division and scored another upset win over hard-punching Felix Trinidad (W 12), defeated Sam Soliman (W 12), received a draw with former world champion, Jermain Taylor, and garnered a win over Ike Quartey (W 12).

The three non-participants who got elected into the Hall of Fame included: Klaus-Peter Kohl, Lorraine Chargin, and Johnny Addie.

Klaus-Peter Kohl was the promoter for the Universum Box-Promotion banner which promoted over 300 events, 1,200 bouts, and 250 title fights. He promoted thirty-seven world champions which included the Klitschko brothers. He sold his company in 2011.

Lorraine Chargin and her husband, Don co-promoted thousands of boxing fights in northern California, mainly in the Sacramento area. They promoted Gene Fullmer vs. Dick Tiger and Sugar Ramos vs. Manda Ramos. Lorraine and Don guided the careers of Pete Ranzany, Tony Lopez, Loreta Garza, Willie Jornin, and Hall of Famer Bobby Chacon. Lorraine passed away on April 6, 2010 from cancer.

Johnny Addie was the ring announcer for just about every major fight at Madison Square Garden from the mid 1940s to 1971 and for over 100 champion fights, which included the Fight-of-the-Century between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Joey Maxim, and Ali vs. Jerry Quarry. He died on December 20, 1971.

The two observers who were elected into the Hall of Fame were Steve Albert and Jim Gray.

Steve Albert did the play-by-play coverage for Showtime. He broadcasted over 200 telecasts and 300 champion bouts, which included Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Greg Haugen, Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan, Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo I, and Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson I and II.

Jim Gray worked with closed circuit telecasts for Top Rank, King Vision, and Showtime as an interviewer and ringside reporter for over 700 championship bouts.