Boxing Hall Of Fame: Here’s Who I Voted For In The 2018 Class, Who I Didn’t And Why – Forbes

This was my first year voting for the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and it took me about three weeks to come to a final determination. There was one slam-dunk option, a few other first-time ballot boxers who had a pretty good chance to get my vote, and, then, a slew of leftover fighters who have been on the ballot before but had not garnered enough votes to make it.

Erik Morales, left, had one of the most exciting trilogies in boxing history vs. Marco Antonio Barrera (right). (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

As a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, I could vote for as many as five. The three who receive the most votes can make plans for induction on June 10, 2018. The rest will have to wait for the 2019 ballot.

One voter’s criteria can be vastly different from another’s, so here’s what I valued as a voter: Dominance in a division and inclusion on the mythical pound-for-pound list; a sustained reign as one of the top fighters in the sport; and victories against the top-notch boxers of his era. Some voters don’t think a fighter’s popularity or money-making abilities should factor into the equation. I disagree (I’ll always believe Arturo Gatti deserves his place in the HOF because of the sheer excitement he brought to the sport), and this year, I voted as such.

There were two easy selections for me—and about six or seven other possibilities that were a real struggle. In reality, only one selection is without debate. Everybody else I voted for has pros and cons. But here’s something I kept in mind as I researched the fighters, watched their old bouts and compared them to each other: You can have flaws as a fighter and still be a HOFer. Not everybody, after all, can be the best ever.

On this day of Nov. 1, the day after the boxing writers’ votes were due for the 2018 ballot, here’s who I picked for the HOF and why.

Erik Morales: The Mexico native who won belts in four weight classes and then unified titles in two of those divisions was, by far, the easiest choice on this ballot. Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) is a Hall of Famer, and there’s absolutely no doubt about that. He was involved in two Ring magazine fights of the year in 2000 and 2004. His list of top-notch victories (against Daniel Zaragoza, Marco Antonio Barrera, Kevin Kelly, Paulie Ayala and Manny Pacquiao) is massively impressive, and though he lost his fair share (to the likes of Barrera twice, Pacquiao twice, and Danny Garcia twice), Morales was one of the best lighter-weight fighters of his generation. There’s no doubt in my mind that he belongs.

Vitali Klitschko: The decision on Klitschko’s brother, Wladimir Klitschko, who’s eligible in five years, will be an easier one than this. Wladimir is a no-doubt HOFer; Vitali is not quite at the same level, and if this particular ballot featured more sure-fire inductees, Vitali would have a tougher time getting elected. But as it stands, he’s No. 2 on this year’s list. Though he was never really considered the No. 1 heavyweight in the world during his reign, Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) was absurdly dominant during his career, beating Corrie Sanders, Samuel Peter, Chris Arreola and Thomas Adamek. In his losses to Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd, Klitschko was actually ahead on the judges’ scorecards before the fights had to be halted. Besides George Foreman, Klitschko is also the only other heavyweight to own a title after turning 40. He deserves to be in, and on this particular ballot, it’s not a difficult decision.

Boxing Hall Of Fame: Here’s Who I Voted For In The 2018 Class, Who I Didn’t And Why – Forbes

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