VERONA, NY (AP) — With tears in his eyes at a banquet on the eve of his big day, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday with only a hint of emotion in his voice. was showing. Recognition accepted.
“I’ve done a lot in my career, but this is the best I’ve ever been,” said Mayweather, who credits her success to her mother, father and sister. “I want to thank the International Boxing Hall of Fame for giving me this. It goes to my dad because he deserves it. Bernard Hopkins said it best, ‘You gotta earn it,’ and my dad Earned this ring.
“I want to thank everyone for their support. I want to say to all the fighters: Thank you, you are extraordinary. It would not have happened without you guys.”
Mayweather, who retired undefeated in 50 matches, led the three generations inducted on Sunday. The pandemic forced the postponement of the last two concerts, making 2022 an overcrowded one. The ceremony moved from the venue’s location in Canastota, New York to the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in nearby Verona to accommodate 36 honorees.
Roy Jones Jr., Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, James Toney and champions Regina Halmich and Holly Holm were part of this year’s class. 2020 included multi-division champion Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico and “Sugar” Shane Mosley. 2021 included Mayweather, Wladimir Klitschko and Andre Ward.
Among those honored were Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Lucia Rizker, Regina Halmich and Holly Holm: the first female boxers to be honored. Martin rose to fame when he was featured in some of Mike Tyson’s fight cards in the 1990s. His throne came on his 54th birthday.
For Laila Ali, it marked the beginning of her career against the advice of her famous father. She won her first match against April Fowler at Turning Stone in October 1999.
“He told me not to do that. I had to earn his respect in the ring,” said Laila, who retired undefeated after 24 fights.
All but one of the 27 boxers who attended the ceremony were present. Absent was former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. He is helping his brother Vitaly in Ukraine – already a Hall of Famer in his own right and now mayor of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv – during the current war against the Russian invasion.