The International Boxing Hall of Fame, which in July reduced the wait for eligibility to three years, released the ballot for the 2020 election cycle and it is loaded with superstar fighters whose last fights were not only in 2014 but also 2015 and 2016.
Leading the way for the 12 newcomers to the ballot are legends Bernard Hopkins and Juan Manuel Marquez.
To make way for a dozen new candidates — usually only three fighters are added to the modern boxer category — the Hall of Fame simply added a dozen new names.
That leaves the ballot at 41 candidates to be voted on by full members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a panel of international boxing historians, about 200 people in all. Electors will begin receiving their ballots in the coming days, the new class will be announced in early December and the 31st annual induction ceremonies will take place June 14 at the Canastota, New York, shrine.
During Hopkins’ legendary 28-year career, he won the undisputed middleweight world title, made a division-record 20 consecutive title defenses and also won the light heavyweight world title before retiring in at the end of 2016.
Mexican legend Marquez, whose last fight was in 2014 because he could not overcome a knee injury, won world titles in four weight classes: featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. But it was his unforgettable four-fight series with Manny Pacquiao that most boxing fans will remember. Marquez was 1-2-1 in their rivalry, with the first three fights being extremely close with controversial decisions, but he closed the series with an unforgettable, dramatic sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao in the fourth bout in 2012.
Joining Hopkins and Marquez on the ballot for the first time are former middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez; former super middleweight titlist Carl Froch; former three-division champion and former pound-for-pound king “Sugar” Shane Mosley; former welterweight and junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr.; former junior featherweight champion Israel Vazquez; Mexican star Jorge Arce, the popular brawler who won belts in four weight classes from junior flyweight to junior featherweight; former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver; and three other fighters who were eligible years ago but had not yet been placed on the ballot — former junior lightweight and lightweight champions and rivals Joel Casamayor and the late Diego “Chico” Corrales, who fought each other three times, and former long-reigning junior featherweight titleholder Vuyani Bungu, one of the best fighters to come out of South Africa.
Electors can vote for up to five fighters in the category and the top three vote-getters will be elected. Any fighters who receive at least 80 percent of the vote will gain entrance, so more than three could be elected. That was another of the tweaks the Hall of Fame made to the election process in July.
Also in July, the Hall of Fame, which inducts people in the modern boxer, old-timer, pioneer, nonparticipant and observer categories, announced it would establish two women’s categories: a modern category for female boxers whose last bout came no earlier than 1989 and a trailblazer category for female boxers whose last bout came no later than 1988.
The women will appear on the ballot for the first time and the modern ballot includes Laila Ali, Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker, Anne Wolf, Sumya Anani, Regina Halmich, Holly Holm, Susi Kentikian, Jisselle Salandy, Mary Jo Sanders, Laura Serrano and Ana Maria Torres. Voters can vote for up to three candidates and two will be elected.
The new ballots for the observer and nonparticipant ballots are also loaded with many new additions, with those ballots also being cleared of those who had been on for at least 10 years. New additions to the observers ballot are: Seth Abraham (longtime HBO Sports president); Eric Armit (journalist/record-keeper); Ron Borges (journalist); Bob Canobbio (CompuBox founder); Tom Casino (photographer); Percy Dana (photographer); David Dinkins Jr. (longtime Showtime Sports executive producer); Bernard Fernandez (journalist); Thomas Hauser (journalist); Hype Igoe (cartoonist/journalist); Carlos Irusta (journalist); George Kimball (journalist); Jay Larkin (the late longtime Showtime Sports chief); Glyn Leach (editor); Ferdie Pacheco (broadcaster); Shirley Povich (columnist); Tim Ryan (broadcaster); John Sheppard (record-keeper) and Alex Wallau (broadcaster). With holdovers there are 25 candidates in all on the observer ballot. Electors can vote for up to five and two will be elected.
The new ballots for the non-participant ballots are: Kenny Adams (trainer); Rodney Berman (South African promoter); Freddie Brown (cutman); Bill Caplan (legendary publicist); Miguel Diaz (trainer/cutman); Lou DiBella (promoter); Cameron Dunkin (manager); Kathy Duva (Main Events promoter); Duane Ford (judge); Al Gavin (cutman); Harry Gibbs (referee); Brad Goodman (Top Rank matchmaker); Dr. Margaret Goodman (ringside physician, president of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association); Dan Goossen (promoter); Chuck Hull (ring announcer); Brendan Ingle (trainer); Sampson Lewkowicz (manager/promoter); Jackie McCoy (manager/trainer); Dave Moretti (judge); Carlos Padilla (referee) ;Abel Sanchez (trainer); Fritz Sdunek (trainer); Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel (longtime WBO president) and Ulli Wegner (trainer). Including the holdovers, there are 30 candidates on the nonparticipant ballot. Electors can vote for up to five and three will be elected.