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Missing boxing Hall of Famers


PhilBoxing.com



Ceferino Garcia on the Ring cover.

Only 11 Asians are in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, a revered institution that began induction rites in 1990 and is headquartered in Canastota, New York. So far, there have been more than 450 enshrined in the Hall, broken down into distinct categories----Modern (last fight no earlier than 1989 and retired for at least three years), Old-Timers (Early Era from 1893 to 1942 and Late Era from 1943 to 1986), Pioneers (last fight in or before 1982), Observers (journalists, historians, writers, artists, broadcasters) and Non-Participants (promoters, matchmakers, managers, referees, judges, officials and those who contributed to the elevation of the sport not as observers).

The Asian inductees with years of enshrinement are Flash Elorde (1993), Fighting Harada (1995), Khaosai Galaxy (1999), Chang Jung Koo (2010), Myung Woo Yuh (2013), Masao Ohba (2015) and Yoko Gushiken (2015) under Modern; Pancho Villa (1994) under Old-Timers; Joe Koizumi (2008) under Observers and Lope (Papa) Sarreal, Sr. (2005) and Akihiko Honda (2009) under Non-Participants. The Asian countries represented by the honorees are Japan (five), Philippines (three), Korea (two) and Thailand (one).

Expected to be inducted are Manny Pacquiao (eligible in 2024 or three years after his last fight against Yordenis Ugas in 2021) and Nonito Donaire, Jr. (eligible upon retirement, three years after his last bout). Aside from Pacquiao and Donaire, at least three Filipinos clearly qualify as Hall of Famers. They are former world middleweight champion Ceferino Garcia, referee Carlos (Sonny) Padilla and referee/judge Bruce McTavish.

Garcia, born in Biliran, was the first fighter to floor World War II hero Barney Ross and one of only six fighters to draw with Henry Armstrong. Ross, Armstrong and the man whom Garcia dethroned as world middleweight champion, Fred Apostoli, are in the Hall of Fame. Garcia floored Apostoli thrice to snatch the middleweight strap via a seventh round stoppage in New York City in 1939. Garcia, who introduced the “bolo punch” in boxing, retired in 1944 with a record of 102-27-12, including 67 KOs, and died in 1981. He was inducted into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame in 1977, the California-based World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Philippine Sports Commission Hall of Fame in 2010.

Padilla, 88, was the referee in the 1975 “Thrilla In Manila” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at the Araneta Coliseum. He was a fixture as the third man in the ring in epic battles involving Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, Wilfredo Gomez, Pacquiao and many other legends. The Hall of Fame has inducted several referees including Richard Steele, Mills Lane, Joe Cortez and Steve Smoger. Surely, Padilla deserves a place in the Hall and so does McTavish. A three-time WBC Referee of the Year, McTavish is a New Zealand native and a Filipino resident since 1967. McTavish, 81, was a referee in over 150 world title fights all over the globe and is often tapped to lecture on the fine points officiating in international boxing conventions. He is a philanthropist who became a naturalized Filipino citizen by law in 2019.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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