Boxing Hall picks promoter Rip Valenti
The lights shined brighter on Valenti Way yesterday.
That’s because legendary promoter Rip Valenti was voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame along with, fittingly enough, Thomas Hearns and Dedham’s Freddie Roach among a class of 13 inductees.
Valenti promoted fights in Boston for more than 50 years, 30 of them spent in partnership with another promotional legend, Sam Silverman. Valenti, who promoted his first show in 1932 and first brought one of his boxing matches to the Garden in 1934, promoted the only heavyweight championship fight ever staged in Boston, the meeting between Joe Louis and Al McCoy in 1940.
Valenti, who died in 1986 at the age of 84, directed the careers of Tony DeMarco, Sammy Fuller, Red Priest, Joe DeNucci and many others, but his crowning accomplishment was bringing Marvelous Marvin Hagler to the middleweight championship despite many obstacles.
Eventually that relationship would lead to his biggest payday, when Valenti controlled the closed-circuit broadcast of Hagler-Hearns in 22 theaters in 1985, grossing $1.8 million that night.
The 23rd annual Hall of Fame weekend is scheduled for June 7-10 in Canastota, N.Y. Among the other inductees will be Mark “Too Sharp’’ Johnson, ring announcer Michael Buffer, broadcaster Al Bernstein and longtime journalist Michael Katz, as well as six posthumous honorees: Cocoa Kid, Newsboy Brown, Leo Houck, Jake Kilrain, Hugh D. McIntosh and James Wharton (Young Molineaux).
Members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians vote for the inductees.
By Ron Borges
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