“Boxing in New York will not be forgotten,” said NYSBHOF founder Tony Mazzarella. Each inductee received a Hall of Fame belt, reminiscent of the championship hardware they received throughout their careers. Inducted into the first NYSBHOF class were “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Mike Tyson, Carmen Basilio, Riddick Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, Mike McCallum, Gene Tunney, Benny Leonard and Tony Canzoneri.
LaMotta, McCallum, Griffith, Ortiz, Antuofermo, Acunto, Glenn and Lederman attended the gala, while Robinson, Canzoneri, Tunney, Arcel, Gallo and Mercante were represented by their families.
The 90-year-old LaMotta, who is as famous for Robert DeNiro’s portrayal of him in “Raging Bull” as his legendary career, spoke about the greatest fighters he ever saw in his acceptance speech.
The non-boxing inductees were judge/HBO analyst Harold Lederman, coach/instructor Steve Acunto; trainer/cutman Jimmy Glenn; trainers Gil Clancy and Ray Arcel; The Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer; New York Daily News boxing reporter/cartoonist Bill Gallo; and referee Arthur Mercante Sr.
The inductees are selected by a six-member NYSBHOF nominating committee.
To be eligible for hall of fame induction, boxers need to be inactive for at least three years and have had resided in New York for a significant portion of their boxing careers.
“The greatest fighters all fought in New York,” said Lederman.
Commemorative plaques listing the names of the inductees and NYSBHOF board members and nominating committee will be on display at the Waterfront Crabhouse in Long Island City.