Unbeaten multi-division champions Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward are the headliners in a spectacular 13-person class that was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 on Tuesday.
Mayweather won world titles in five weight classes — super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight — while going 50-0 with 27 knockouts and establishing himself as the greatest boxer of his era.
Ward was 32-0 with 16 knockouts and won titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight.
Also elected in the men’s modern category was former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who thus joins his older brother, Vitali, in the Hall of Fame. Women’s modern boxers elected were Laila Ali and Ann Wolfe. Ali is the daughter of the legendary Hall of Famer Muhammad Ali.
Others elected were boxers Davey Moore, Jackie Tonawanda and Miriam Trimiar, as well as cut man Freddie Brown, trainer/manager Jackie McCoy, journalist George Kimball and Showtime television executive Jay Larkin.
“It is a great honor for me to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a first-ballot nominee and a member of the 2021 class,” Mayweather said. “Throughout my career, I gave everything I could to the sport of boxing, and now, to be recognized by one of the most prestigious honors in the sport for that hard work and dedication is very humbling. I am looking forward to attending the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in June and being honored alongside the other members of the class of 2021, too.”
Ward, who is now a television boxing analyst for ESPN, is the last American male to win a gold medal in Olympic boxing. He captured gold at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece.
He debuted as a pro as a middleweight, but found his niche once he moved to super middleweight. He won Showtime’s Super Six tournament and after a dominant run at 168 pounds, he moved up and became light heavyweight champion, as well.
He was as complete of a boxer as there was in the game and was known for his thorough preparation.
“I’ve been waiting for this call for most of my life,” Ward said. “It finally came. I’m a first-ballot Hall of Famer. God has been good to me. I can finally rest now. This chapter of my life is complete.”
Klitschko, a 1996 super heavyweight gold medalist at the Atlanta Olympic Games, went 64-5 as a pro with 44 knockouts. He is best known for his streak of 18 consecutive successful title defenses.
He defeated 10 men who at one point in their careers held a version of the heavyweight title.
“Thank you for the great news; it is an honor to be a Hall of Famer,” Klitschko said. “I’m so impressed with the dedication and passion the Village of Canastota has for boxing. All of the champions feel so honored and blessed to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s amazing.”
Ali followed her famous father’s footsteps into boxing and became arguably the greatest female boxer of her time. She was 24-0 with 21 knockouts and headlined the first card featuring women in the main event when she defeated Jacqui Frazier-Lyde in 2001. Frazier-Lyde is the daughter of Joe Frazier, her father’s fiercest rival.
“Being that my father was also inducted many years ago, it makes this honor extra special to me,” Ali said. “I learned so much inside the ring that I have applied to every area of my life outside of the ring. Boxing will forever be my first love … and knowing that I will be on the Hall of Fame Wall, inspiring others who come behind me for years to come, is a blessing that I will never take for granted.”
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