Bitter boxing rivals Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney are receiving their flowers while living. The two are going into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as headliners of the class of 2022.
The two met for Toney’s super middleweight world title and pound-for-pound supremacy in a 1994 megafight.
The Boxing Writers Association of America announced inductees on Tuesday.
Giving Flowers While Alive
Marquee modern men’s category is Miguel Cotto, the first Puerto Rican man to win world titles in four weight classes.
Jones, who bested Toney in their showdown, is the 2022 class star in his first year of eligibility.
Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was the undeniable pound-for-pound king. He boxed from 1989 to 2018 and is an Olympic silver medalist from the 1988 games.
Jones’ gold medal loss is regarded as the most controversial boxing Olympic result in history.
Y’all Musta Forgot
With a remarkable combination of speed, power, and reflexes, as a professional, Jones won world titles in four divisions (middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight).
When he easily outpointed John Ruiz to win a heavyweight belt in 2003, he became the first fighter since Hall of Famer Bob Fitzsimmons 106 years earlier to win a middleweight title and a heavyweight title.
Among Jones’ notable wins besides Ruiz: Bernard Hopkins, Toney, Virgil Hill, Mike McCallum, Antonio Tarver, Montell Griffin, Reggie Johnson, and Felix Trinidad.
“This is an absolutely marvelous feeling,” Jones said. “I’m so honored that I get this opportunity and I can’t wait to go to Canastota to see it come to fruition.”
“Lights Out” Toney (77-10-3, 47 KOs) won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight. Toney’s cruiserweight title victory over Vassiliy Jirov in 2003 is still regarded as one of the greatest fights in division history.
Toney has victories over Evander Holyfield, Iran Barkley, Michael Nunn, and more.
“Yeah baby! I made it. This is so great,” said Toney, who was the BWAA fighter of the year in 2003. “I’ve been waiting for this call and I’m so happy. I can’t believe it. I’m almost tearing up. It’s a blessing and I’m looking forward to coming to Canastota as an inductee.”
Puerto Rico’s Star
Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) boxed from 2001 to 2017. In his second year on the ballot, he was a 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian and the first man from the island to win titles in four divisions: junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight.
He defeated greats like Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, Ricardo Mayorga, Carlos Quintana, Paulie Malignaggi, Ricardo Torres, and Randall Bailey.
To the best of his generation and beyond, he lost to Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Canelo Alvarez.
“After many years in boxing, I’m so proud of what we have done in the sport,” Cotto said. “Above all I was the head of my family and what made me proud as a father was to provide for my family and thanks to boxing I did it in the best way possible. It is amazing, but you have to be humble. I look forward to being in Canastota next June.”
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