Since the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame (NVBHOF) came into existence in 2013, Floyd “Money” Mayweather has had a strangle-hold on the Nevada Fighter of the Year Award. The gifted Mayweather won the Award three straight years. However, that changes in 2016.
BADOU JACK “The Ripper,” who won the WBC super middleweight world title last year as a big underdog, dethroning undefeated defending champion Andre Dirrell. and successfully defended it twice since then, has been named the NVBHOF “Nevada Fighter of the Year.” In his first title defense, Badou found himself an underdog once again, this time to Britain’s popular slugger and two-time world title challenger George Groves at MGM Grand last September. He dropped Groves in the first round and outclassed him the rest of the way to take the decision.
In April, Jack traveled to Washington, D.C. to face lethal slugger and former world champion Lucian Bute. The bout ended in a highly controversial majority draw, Jack a wide winner on one judge’s card, but the other two called it even. Media covering the fight were almost unanimous in saying Jack deserved the verdict. Jack (20-1-2), born in Stockholm of Swedish and Gambian parents, is a resident of Las Vegas.
Here is the complete list of the NVBHOF Award Winners for 2016:
NEVADA FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: BADOU JACK “THE RIPPER”
NEVADA FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: AVA KNIGHT. Since the last NVBHOF Induction, she has fought twice, both times in Mexico. Knight fought talented 17-3 Jasseth Noriega to a hotly-contested and disputed draw in Mazatlan and then two months later, recorded an impressive unanimous decision win over Judith Rodriguez in Los Mochis. A winner of the WBC Diamond Belt, Knight has a pro record of 14-2-4.
NEVADA AMATEUR FIGHTER OF THE YEAR : JJ MARIANO. After winning a National Championship belt at 139lbs in 2015, Mariano capped off his undefeated senior year at the University of Nevada, with a second consecutive National Title, this time at 147 pounds. Mariano decisioned University of Washington’s James Porter in the Final to run his lifetime record to 23-3. Mariano made the College Boxing Nationals in all four of his years for the Wolfpack. He is a lifelong resident of the Reno-Sparks area.
NEVADA PROSPECT OF THE YEAR : DEVIN HANEY. Becoming the youngest fighter to ever compete professionally at the famed MGM Grand, the 17 year old Haney decisioned Rafael Vasquez on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Bradley 3 fight in April. The flashy Haney, already a fan favorite, followed that up with a fourth-round TKO of undefeated Jairo Vargas at the Downtown Events Center in Las Vegas and a unanimous decision victory over Clay Burns in Baton Rouge, LA, in May and June, respectively. Trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr, Haney holds a record of 7-0.
MUHAMMAD ALI “HUMANITARIAN AWARD”: MAURICIO SULAIMAN. The WBC President, who has already made his own name in succeeding his late father Jose, is honored for his generosity and compassion outside the ring.. Sulaiman has been tireless in efforts to support charitable causes, many of them sponsored by professional boxers. His support, both financial and with the weight of WBC, extends to causes such as fighting diseases, support for education, mental health causes, help for the hungry and homeless and much more. He has also made support for military causes, such as Nevada Military Alliance Services, a prime focus. He also oversees the community-oriented WBC Cares program.
NVBHOF “PRESIDENTS AWARD”: HERB SANTOS ,SR. Involved in Nevada Boxing since 1970’s as a Judge and member of NSAC 1985-88, and Chairman 1987-88. Modernized NSAC rulebook published 1989. Santos received Special WBC recognition in 2012 as one of the top judges of the past 50 years. Santos is a Reno resident whose entire family, sons and grandchildren are involved in boxing.
Award winners will be honored during the NVBHOF Induction weekend July 29-30 at Caesars Palace, receiving their plaques at the Inductees Party Friday, July 29, and then introduced at the Induction Ceremony, Saturday, July 30.
Remaining Tickets for the NVBHOF induction Gala, priced at $300, $175 and $75, are on sale now through the organization’s website at www.nvbhof.com. In addition, a day-long autograph session with inductees, honorees, champions and other boxing figures will take place Friday, also at Caesars Palace.