VERONA, NJ – In tears at a banquet on the eve of his big day, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but this is by far the best,” said Mayweather, who attributed much of her success to her mother, father and sister. I want to thank the International Boxing Hall of Fame for giving me this honor. He goes straight to my father because he deserves it. “
“I want to thank everyone for the support. I want to say thanks to all the fighters. You are extraordinary. I wouldn’t be here without you. “
Mayweather, who retired undefeated in 50 fights, was the star of three groups of candidates on Sunday. The pandemic forced the postponement of the previous two investiture ceremonies, making 2022 a busy affair.
To accommodate the 36 nominees, the ceremony was moved from the Hall of Fame home in Canastota, New York, to the nearby Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona.
Roy Jones Jr., Miguel Cotto, James Toney and champions Regina Halmich and Holly Holm were among the 2022 nominees. The 2020 group included multi-weight division champions Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley while Mayweather, Wladimir Klitschko and Andre Ward was among the 2021 candidates.
Among the recruits were the first fighters – Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Lucia Rijker, Regina Halmich and Holly Holm – to become immortal. Martin rose to fame when she fought on the undercard of gala involving Mike Tyson in the 1990s. The induction came on her 54th birthday.
For Laila Ali, it was a return to where her career began, and against the advice of her famous father. She won her first fight in October 1999, against April Fowler, at Turning Stone.
“He told me not to. I had to earn his respect in the ring, ”said Ali, who was undefeated in 24 fights.
All but one of the 27 fighters introduced should have been present at the ceremony. The only one absent was former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. He is in Ukraine to help his brother Vitali, himself the Hall of Famer and now the mayor of the capital Kiev, during the ongoing war with Russia.
Wladimir Klitschko, who was heavyweight champion for 12 years and two days, more than anyone else in history, and finished his professional career 64-5 (53 KOs), posted two short videos on social media to accept the ‘honor.
“Thanks to the supporters. I have never dreamed of going this far in sports. It’s unbelievable, he said. Boxing has made me a better person, period. He taught me a lot. “
Although his videos were short, Klitschko wished to criticize Jones for traveling to Russian-occupied Crimea.
“So Roy, which side are you on? I really respect you as a boxer, but I really question your moral conscience, “said Klitschko.