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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    Ricky Hatton, Michael Moorer strike different tones in leading their class into boxing Hall of Fame

    FILE - Ricky Hatton, left, of England, lands a left to the face of Juan Urango, of Colombia, in the seventh round of their IBF Jr. welterweight title boxing match in Las Vegas, Jan. 20, 2007. Hatton was inducted Sunday, June 9, 2024, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Jae C. Hong, File)

    Ricky Hatton laughed his way through his Hall of Fame induction speech, marveling at the places boxing took him and the thousands of his fans that would always follow.

    “I had some wars, didn’t I?” Hatton said Sunday. “When I think back at the Kostya Tszyu fight, Floyd Mayweather fight, Manny Pacquiao fight and my toughest fight, my divorce.”

    Michael Moorer took a more serious tone with a plea for safer conditions for boxers during and after their careers.

    Hatton and Moorer, both champions in two weight classes, were the headline names when the International Boxing Hall of Fame class of 2024 was inducted during a ceremony at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

    Moorer won the light heavyweight title in just his 12th pro fight and later moved up to become the first southpaw heavyweight champion. Noting the size of present-day heavyweights who sometimes weigh more than 250 pounds, with former champion Tyson Fury fighting above 270, Moorer called for the advent of a super heavyweight division.

    Moorer, who went 52-4-1 with 40 knockouts, said he has undergone 28 surgeries and been left without the ability to smell or taste. He said it was imperative for boxing's sanctioning bodies, managers and promoters to prioritize the welfare of fighters.

    "The toll on a fighter's body persists long after they hang up their gloves," Moorer said. “I am just one of the many retired fighters who have been left to deal with a long list of injuries without any meaningful insurance assistance.”

    Ivan Calderon and Diego Corrales, who died in 2007 two years after rallying in a memorable 10th round to beat Jose Luis Castillo in boxing's “Fight of the Year,” were the other headline fighters in the class that will be enshrined in the hall's museum in Canastota, New York.

    Calderon, a two-division champion from Puerto Rico who still works with fighters from there, noted the presence of the heads of three boxing organizations, who were also Latin American.

    “So they’re here like a family and I’d like them to keep on working like a family for all these boxers,” Calderon said. “That’s what we need. We need a family. All together we can do a lot of things.”

    Women's champions Jane Couch of Britain — who fought to allow women to box at home — and Ana Maria Torres of Mexico were elected from the women’s modern category. Luis Angel Firpo in the old-timer category and Theresa Kibby in the women’s trailblazer category were the other fighters in the class.

    Trainer Kenny Adams, Jackie Kallen — the first female manager inducted — longtime publicist Fred Sternburg, broadcaster Nick Charles and journalist Wallace Matthews rounded out the 13-member class. Matthews noted his preference for boxing over other sports he covered because of what fighters endure.

    “There is a code among boxers. We will fight until we can’t fight anymore and there’s no other sport where that happens,” Matthews said. “There ain’t no timeout, there ain’t no tapping out, there’s no relief pitcher, you’re not skating off the ice for a shift change. That’s it. Once you’re in there, you’re on the ship, you’re taking the ride until the very end.”

    It was quite a ride for Hatton, the Manchester, England, product who upset Tszyu in 2005 to rise to the top of the junior welterweight division and would lose high-profile welterweight fights in Las Vegas against Mayweather and Pacquiao. He recalled the thousands of his fans who flew from Europe for those weeks — saying there so many that the MGM Grand once ran out of beer — just the way they supported him at home.

    Now they can see Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) hang in the Hall of Fame, where he said he became emotional when he saw that his plaque will hang two away from Roberto Duran, the fighter who was his hero.

    “I always said my fan base was my greatest-ever achievement,” Hatton said, “so it’s been great to spend the weekend with the fans.”

    FILE - Germany's Axel Schulz, left, and Michael Moorer, right, fight in their IBF heavyweight world championship boxing match in Dortmund, Germany, June 22, 1996. Moorer was inducted Sunday, June 9, 2024, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. (AP Photo/Christof Stache, File)
    International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2024 inductee Ricky Hatton waves to parade goers during the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions in Canastota, N.Y., on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (John Haeger/Standard-Speaker via AP)
    International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2024 inductee Michael Moorer waves to parade goers during the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Canastota, N.Y. (John Haeger/Standard-Speaker via AP)
    FILE - Diego Corrales, center, of Sacramento, Calif., celebrates after winning the WBC lightweight crown by defeating Jose Luis Castillo, of Mexico, May 7, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Corrales was inducted Sunday, June 9, 2024, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. (AP Photo/Matthew Minard, File)
    Cecilia Comunales former WBA women's lightweight champion of the world waves to parade goers during the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions in Canastota, N.Y., on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (John Haeger/Standard-Speaker via AP)
    International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2024 inductee Ana Maria Torres waves to parade goers during the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions in Canastota, N.Y., on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (John Haeger/Standard-Speaker via AP)
    FILE - WBO junior flyweight champion Ivan Calderon, center, from Puerto Rico, celebrates after defeating Mexico's Juan Esquer by unanimous decision in a boxing match in Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 1, 2007. Calderon was inducted Sunday, June 9, 2024, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf, File)

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