The 2021 International Boxing Hall of Fame ballots have been cast and the winners announced.
Aside from the amazing achievement for the collection of pugilist’s to receive the sports highest honor, it was extra special for me.
Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2021! Wladimir @Klitschko @FloydMayweather @andreward @TheRealLailaAli , Ann Wolfe, Marian Trimiar, @MGoodmanMD , Davey Moore, Jackie Tonawanda, Freddie Brown, Jackie McCoy, George Kimball & Jay Larkin! More info here: https://t.co/b8hmKLyvEK: pic.twitter.com/05jG8FsApD
— Boxing Hall of Fame (@BoxingHall) December 15, 2020
This was my first time placing a ballot as a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association.
Ironically, it was also the first time that star boxers Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. were eligible for their first entrance onto the IBHOF ballot.
I don’t celebrate my wins very well…but we are going to celebrate this one !! 😂…y’all please excuse me 🤷🏽♂️.
— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) December 15, 2020
As an upper cusp millennial, born in 1980, this holds a tremendous significance for me. Both Ward and Mayweather have exhibited their athletic greatness while I was both a young man enjoying the sport as a fan and a working journalist.
The two also couldn’t be the most similar-dissimilar fighters to ever be placed on the same ballot.
Mayweather, who won world titles in five weight classes (super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight), set the bar as a boxer-businessman.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 16, 2020
While going 50-0 with 27 knockouts, Mayweather made the most career earnings in boxing ever and established himself as the greatest boxer of his era. Fighters will be chasing his fiscal and physical ghost for generations to come.
Ward, boxing’s ultimate gentleman, was 32-0 with 16 knockouts and won titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight.
A throwback fighter from Oakland, California, Ward took the mantle of becoming boxing’s noble statesman while quietly cruising into a respectable legacy.
There are only two critiques of these fighters: Mayweather fought many of his wins against fighters with names who were not in their prime and Ward stayed out of the game for a few years during promoter disputes.
However, one was the flash and the other quietly squirreled away the cash.
Mayweather defined the flamboyance of a generation. His move from ”Pretty Boy” to ”Money” proved prophetic and he like Jay-Z, he showed fighters ”how to do this, sun”.
The monopolization of the heel, Mayweather is ”Sugar” Ray Robinson and Jack Johnson all rolled into one. He is a master marketer in the social media era and understood how to stoke racial polarization into fiscal wizardry.
Ward, after winning the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, went on a course that seemed predetermined. After winning the Showtime’s Super Six Tournament, as a super middleweight, Ward put the game on notice showing very little flaws his whole career.
Congrats to @FloydMayweather who was destined to become a first ballot Hall of Famer. I’m sure Floyd Sr. is very proud and we all wish that your uncle Roger was here to share in the moment. Keep making that 💰💵 💴 💶 💷 off of this sport that tends to take more than it gives🥊 pic.twitter.com/mqogCb096f
— Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) December 15, 2020
Although, a fight against him and GGG was desired and many believed it not materializing would taint his legacy. However, after a dominant run at 168 pounds, he moved up and became light heavyweight champion, making up for it immediately with his domination over Sergey Kovalev.
Of all the thirteen elected in the 2020 HOF crew, these two will always be treasured ballot entries for me as they defined my maturation into the sport as a journalist.
Andre built an impeccable résumé in the ring, and is now one of the sport's leading voices, ambassadors and analysts. We're proud to have him ringside as a member of the TR on ESPN family. pic.twitter.com/0lns8agbhh
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) December 15, 2020
I’ve interviewed both in up close and personal sessions and can comfortably consider them colleagues in the red light districts of sports.
Being able to be a part of a timeless organization that has given them their flowers while they are still here is unforgettable.
Salute to the Class of 2021.