After delay after delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 was finally inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF) this past Sunday afternoon at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
The 28-member Class of 2019 was honored at the ninth NYSBHOF induction dinner.
Living boxers inducted included three-time World light heavyweight title challenger Jorge Ahumada (42-8-2, 22 KOs), of Woodside, Queens by way of Argentina; (1975-78) WBC super featherweight World Champion Alfredo “El Salsero” Escalera (53-14-3, 31 KOs), of New York City by way of Puerto Rico; WBC super featherweight World title challenger Freddie “The Pitbull” Liberatore (20-4-1, 11 KOs), of Bayside, Queens; WBC middleweight World Champion and four-time New York Golden Gloves winner Dennis “The Magician” Milton (16-5-1, 5 KOs), of Bronx; two-time New York Golden Gloves winner Lou Savarese (46-7, 38 KOs), of Greenwood Lake; and WBA super middleweight title World title challenger Merqui “El Corombo” Sosa (34-9-2, 27 KOs), of Brooklyn by way of the Dominican Republic.
Posthumous participants inducted are Brooklyn welterweight Soldier Bartfield (51-29-8, 33 KOs), who fought a reported 55 world champions; Bronx middleweight Steve Belloise (95-13-3, 59 KOs); NYSAC and World lightweight champion (1925) Jimmy Goodrich (85-34-21 (12 KOs), of Buffalo; World heavyweight title challenger Tami Mauriello (82-13-1, 60 KOs), of Bronx; WBA light middleweight World champion (1982-83) and four-consecutive New York Golden Gloves titlist Davey “Sensational” Moore (18-5, 14 KOs), of Bronx; and World lightweight champion Freddie “The Welsh Wizard” Welch (74-5-7, 34 KOs), of New York City by way of Wales.
Living non-participants now in NYSBHOF are Oneida judge Don Ackerman, Wantah, Long Island journalist/producer Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Buffalo manager Rick Glaser, Rockaway Beach journalist Jack Hirsch, Bronx boxing broadcaster Max Kellerman, Orangeburg judge Julie Lederman, Hyde Park referee Ron Lipton, and Staten Island/Catskill trainer Kevin Rooney.
Posthumous non-participant inductees are Brooklyn’s Ring Magazine editor Lester Bromberg, New York City sportswriter Dan Daniel, Ardsley ringside physician/NY Medical Director Dr. William Lathan, Brooklyn’s Gleason’s Gym founder Bobby Gleason, Sunnyside, Queens boxing writer Flash Gordan, Manhattan journalist A.J. Liebling, Long Island City’s NYSBHOF co-founder Tony Mazzarella and New York City manager Dan Morgan.
Each attending inductee received a custom-designed belt signifying his or her induction into the NYSBHOF.
The 2020 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members: Randy Gordon, Henry Hascup, Don Majeski, Ron McNair, Jim Monteverde and Neil Terens.
Hascup and famed ring announcer David Diamonte shared master of ceremony duties.
All boxers needed to be inactive for at least three years to be eligible for NYSBHOF induction, and all inductees must have resided in New York State for a sizable portion of their boxing careers or during the prime of their respective career. Numerous boxing dignitaries were in attendance, including World Champions Junior Jones, Lonnie Bradley, and Iran Barkley, as well as popular heavyweights Gerry Cooney and Renaldo Snipes.
The United States Marines Boxing Team were special guests. They led the Pledge of Allegiance and received a commemorative medal from the NYSBHOF.
Duffy also announced that the famed Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn will display NYSBHOF memorabilia, including inductee plaques and pictures, thanks to NYSBHOF inductee Brice Silverglade.
Jack Hirsch: “I’ve been up here a lot as a member of the Ring 8 Board of Directors and for Hall of Fame presentations. It’s different this year as a recipient and I’m grateful. I’m honored to be on the dais: “We are 2020 teammates and we’ll always be connected. This is such a great, great honor. I appreciated every single person out there.”
Dennis Milton: “This is really a great please to be dais with this class to be honored with my equals and peers, and to be part of this event. I haven’t seen some of these guys in years like Lou (Savarese) and now I’m up here as an inductee. I’ve graduated to be put in the club. This is very special to me and the other fighters.”
Bobby Cassidy, Jr.: “I want to thank the New York Boxing Hall of Fame for inducting me. I appreciate this honor. I wrote about all the guys up here. It was always great covering this sport. Thanks to by dad (NYSBHOF inductee Bobby Cassidy, Sr.). Not only did he instill a lot of boxing in me like hard work and dedication. It made me a better journalist. He exposed me to boxing. When I was around 8 or 9, he brought home The Ring (magazine). I never dreamed that ended up writing for Ring. I always wanted to cover boxing. I covered all sports, but the real stories always are the fighters.”
Marqui Sosa: “I’m not good at this. In the ring, I did my best. That’s it, I’m a fighter. I didn’t know how to box, I fought. I always gave 100-percent and did my best for my family.”
Freddie Liberatore: “Boxing taught me things like mind can make or break you, and never give up when things don’t go as planned. I have so many great memories. I’ll never forget winning the 1988 Golden Gloves in the Fight of the Night, when I beat the 2-time defending champion. One of my fondest memories as a pro was defeating 2-time world champion Calvin Grove when he was ranked No. 2. I got the WBC World featherweight title shot, but it didn’t go my way. Here I am today with my wife, Lori, my high school sweetheart. I want to thank my family for recognizing all my accomplishments and memories.”
Ron Lipton: “I want to thank the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame, and everyone connected with this honor. I look around the room and see at least one person at every table I worked with going back to the sixties with through the commission. I’m very honored to be part of this induction class. Congratulations to everybody inducted. I trained so I could keep up with the boxers.”
Lou Savarese: “It’s a tough business! You’re in there, not to hurt, but not to get hurt. It’s a blood sport, tough sport. The first guy I ever sparred was Renaldo Snipes. He took it easy on me and showed me what to do. I’m living in Houston, but there isn’t good pizza. The first thing I did when I came to back New York (for the induction) was the cemetery (his parents) and get New York City pizza. I had about six slices.”
Rick Glaser: “I’d like to thank everyone for being here. It’s an honor. Boxing has been very good to me. I love boxing and have passion for it. And I’ve succeeded at it, the sport of boxing and business. I fused the sport and business. I learned for 30 years from Mike Acri, Ron Katz, Bruce Trampler and Don Majeski. These four people helped me, inspired me. Boxing has characters. We’re family! It’s about the fighters; I never jumped in the ring. I will continue to do everything I can in boxing.”