Path 27
Sports

James McGirt struggles with emotions at Boxing HOF induction

Path 27

CANASTOTA, N.Y. (AP) — Tough guy in the ring, James “Buddy” McGirt was not so tough on his special day.

McGirt struggled repeatedly with his emotions on a sun-splashed afternoon, at times barely managing to keep it together as he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday.

“I warned you last night that I was going to cry,” McGirt, a two-division champion, said as he looked out at the fans, his wife Gina, and the rest of his family. “Today, my wife, my three daughters and my son, they said something to me that really got to me. They said, ‘We’re proud of you.’

“It makes me feel that all the hard work that I did for years, they appreciate it,” McGirt said. “All the sacrifices, not being home, missing birthdays, holidays, graduations. It’s a lot of work. I want my kids to know, I’m sorry. I love you.”

Also inducted were: two-division champions Donald Curry and Julian Jackson; Tony DeMarco in the old-timer category; promoter Don Elbaum; referee/judge Guy Jutras; publicist Lee Samuels; and broadcaster Teddy Atlas. Puerto Rican journalist Mario Rivera Martino was selected posthumously.

Trending:
US Loses Gymnastics Gold for First Time in 13 Years After Self-Proclaimed 'Greatest of All Time' Simone Biles Pulls Out

Inductees were selected in December by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

After giving up football for the sweet science as a kid, McGirt turned pro in 1982 as an 18-year-old high school senior and three years later won the WBC Continentals Americas light welterweight title from Sugar Boy Nando with a fifth-round knockout. He captured the vacant IBF light welterweight title in 1988 with a 12th-round knockout over Frankie Warren and retired in 1997 with a record of 73-6-1 with 48 KOs. He has since trained five champions.

Jackson, a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, was renowned for his powerful punching power. Dubbed “The Hawk,” he turned professional in 1981 and scored 29 consecutive victories, 27 by knockout. He retired in 1998 with a pro record of 55-6, including 49 KOs.

“Amazing. Wow. I’m honored to be here coming from such a humble life,” Jackson said. “St. Thomas is only 32 square miles, and if you look on the map all you’re going to see is a dot. But, you know what? The Virgin Islands pack a big punch. We may be a small island, but, man, we have a big heart.”

Curry, of Fort Worth, Texas was dubbed the “Lone Star Cobra” for his lightning-quick reflexes and hand speed. He captured the vacant WBA welterweight in a 15-round decision over Jun-Suk Hwang in Fort Worth in 1983. The next year, he became the inaugural IBF champion and unified the 147-pound titles with a second-round knockout over WBC champ Milton McCrory. His induction came 22 years after he retired with a pro record of 34-6 with 25 KOs.

DeMarco was born in Boston and turned pro in 1948, borrowing his ring name from a friend because he wasn’t the legal fighting age of 18. He upset Johnny Saxton with a 14th-round knockout at Boston Garden to become welterweight champion, then lost the title to Hall of Famer Carmen Basilio in a 12th-round knockout. Basilio also stopped him again in the 12th round of their rematch. DeMarco retired in 1962 with a pro record of 58-12-1 with 33 KOs.

“I implore those who visit the city of champions to remember the one single champion that has represented our city like no other champion because he’s a true Bostonian,” promoter Al Valenti said as he introduced DeMarco. “And today I get to call him a Hall of Famer.”

Atlas was born in 1956 on Staten Island, New York, and trained in upstate New York under Cus D’Amato, winning the 1976 Adirondack Golden Gloves lightweight title. But back problems forced him out of the ring and he apprenticed under D’Amato as an assistant trainer working with a young Mike Tyson. He trained nine champions before becoming one of boxing’s most popular and outspoken broadcasters the past two decades.

“It kind of is a boxing heaven,” Atlas said. “I’ve been given this honor today for my work as a broadcaster. I tried in some small ways to make the audience aware of something that perhaps they had not been aware of that would both add to their viewing of the bout and the appreciation they had for what the fighters were doing in the ring.”

Related:
2020 Tokyo Olympics May Lack Some Star Power After Multiple Athletes Test Positive for COVID-19

The Canadian-born Jutras was a Golden Gloves champion and the 1951 Royal Canadian Navy welterweight champion before becoming a judge, referee, and matchmaker. He worked over 75 world championship bouts.

Samuels, a native of Pennsville, New Jersey, began his career writing for local papers before being hired by the Philadelphia Bulletin in the mid-1970s. After the paper folded, Samuels was hired by Bob Arum to handle East Coast publicity for his ESPN boxing series and has been the publicist for Top Rank since 1996.

Martino, who died last year at 93, wrote for The Ring, was boxing columnist for The San Juan Star, and served as director of public relations for the World Boxing Organization, boxing commissioner in Puerto Rico and president of the Puerto Rico Boxing Commission over more than six decades in the sport.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
,
Path 27
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation