Arturo Gatti, Wilfredo Vazquez, Ken Overlin, Pone Kingpetch deserve Hall of Fame induction
The International Boxing Hall of Fame ballots were due today. Here is what my ballot looked like:
Arturo Gatti: I spelled out my reasons for voting for Gatti earlier this month, and nothing has changed. Gatti does not have Hall of Fame credentials -- there are plenty of fighters that, based on performance, are more deserving -- but he was arguably the most entertaining fighter of his era, a warrior who rarely, if ever, disappointed. There are exceptions to every rule when it comes to Hall voting, and Gatti is it.
Wilfredo Vazquez: A three-division champion -- not to mention one of the greatest Puerto Rican fighters of all time -- Vazquez shined when the spotlight was brightest: in 21 career title fights, Vazquez was 16-3-2. He was never afraid to fight in someone’s backyard and was dubbed El Viajero (“The Traveler”) for his willingness to fight outside Puerto Rico. In 1996. he scored a stunning victory over featherweight champion Eloy Rojas, when he rallied to drop Rojas twice in the 12th round to win by TKO.
Ken Overlin: Overlin was a warrior. According to boxrec.com, Overlin fought 163 fights as a professional, winning 135 of them. And that was with the two-year break Overlin took to serve his country in World War II. The names Overlin beat in his day aren’t household today, but his wars with Ezzard Charles and Al Hostak were big news in the ’40s. Overlin never shied away from a fight and his resume is littered with Hall of Fame-caliber fighters.
Pone Kingpetch: Great name, huh? Kingpetch was born Mana Seadoagbob but adopted Pone (which signifies the flight of an eagle) and Kingpetch (derived from a camp where he trained in his native Thailand). Kingpetch was a pioneer, the first great champion to come out of Thailand and one of the very first to emerge from Asia. Light-handed, Kingpetch was a stylist whose best attributes were his jab, footwork and agility. Kingpetch was an inspiration to Thai fighters -- there is a statue in his honor in his hometown -- and a true legend in his time.
-- Chris Mannix