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Boxing Hall of Fame inductees remember Ali

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CANASTOTA, N.Y. — On a day when the boxing world turned its focus to the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony, remembering The Greatest was part of the celebration.

Following the national anthem at Sunday’s ceremony, an honorary 10-count was given in honor of the late Muhammad Ali and fellow class of 1990 inductee Bob Foster, who died last November.

“It’s been a very difficult period for me. My dear friend Muhammad Ali passed away,” said Jerry Izenberg, a longtime sports columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger and member of the class of 2016. “He was perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest, humanitarians I’ve ever known. I will never forget this moment. I will never forget this day.

“I don’t know that writers belong in the Hall of Fame, but I’m honored. To be here is a gift for me. It’s a marvelous gift.”

Hector Camacho, who overcame the mean streets of Spanish Harlem to become a three-division champion, was among the group enshrined Sunday in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Camacho, who was shot and killed just over three years ago at age 50 in his native Puerto Rico, headed a class that also included two-division champions Lupe Pintor of Mexico and Hilario Zapata of Panama.

Camacho’s son, Hector Camacho Jr., and mother, Maria Matias, accepted the honor.

“What time is it?!” Camacho Jr. asked the crowd, which roared back “Macho time!”

“On my father’s behalf, what I got to witness firsthand was, he poured his heart, blood, everything he had into the sport,” Camacho Jr. said. “A little crazy, you’ve got to admit, but he was a wonderful person and a big-hearted father.”

Inducted in the non-participant and observer categories were: Harold Lederman, a judge for over 30 years; Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission for 14 years; and Col. Bob Sheridan, an international television broadcaster since 1973.

Inductees were selected in December by the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

His lightning-quick hand speed, devastating combinations, and the accuracy of his punches defined Camacho inside the ropes — he won his first 38 pro fights before losing a split decision to Greg Haugen in 1991 — as did his flamboyant style. Few boxers grabbed more attention in the 1980s and 1990s. Camacho retired in 2010 with a record of 79-6-3, with 38 knockouts.

Camacho, who fought drug and alcohol problems for years, was shot in the left side of the face in November 2012 as he sat in a Ford Mustang with a friend outside a bar in his hometown. He died four days later after being taken off life support and is buried at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.

Pintor, the former WBC bantamweight champion from Mexico, compiled a career record of 56-14-2 with 42 knockouts. He was joined on stage by his son, Lupe Pintor Jr., who translated his speech.

“I’m really honored to represent my country, to be here today with you and to be a part of this Hall of Fame,” Pintor said.

Zapata, the former WBC and WBA flyweight champion from Panama, was born in 1958 in Panama City and began boxing as an amateur in 1974 before making his professional debut in 1977. At 5-foot-7 unusually tall for a 108-pound boxer, the southpaw retired with a pro record of 43-10-1, with 15 knockouts.

“Thank you to the Hall of Fame because God put my name in their minds to have me inducted here today on this special day,” Zapata said through a translator. “Personally, I would like to say, I didn’t fight very much here in the United States, but for those of you who followed my career, thank you, and to everyone in Panama as well.”

GGG outlasts Jacobs in close unanimous decision

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NEW YORK (AP) Gennady Golovkin outlasted Danny Jacobs in an exhausting 12-round defense of his middleweight titles Saturday night.

Both fighters are knockout artists, yet this one went the distance – the first time GGG has not had a KO in 24 fights, and his first time going 12 rounds. The Kazakh won 115-112 on two judges’ cards and 114-113 on the other.

The AP had it 114-113 for Golovkin.

In the toughest fight of his stellar career, Golovkin often was stymied by Jacobs changing to a left-handed style. But a series of hard rights throughout the bout were enough – barely – to bring his record to 37-0.

“Daniel did a very good job,” Golovkin said. “Daniel is my favorite fighter. I can’t destroy him.”

He didn’t, unlike so many other opponents who felt the fury or GGG.

“I thought I won it by at least two rounds minimum,” said Jacobs, nicknamed Miracle Man after he overcame bone cancer in 2011-12 to win 10 straight fights. “I did feel like I had to win the 12th round to make sure.”

He won it on two of the three cards, but it wasn’t enough, perhaps because he was knocked down in the fourth round, which went to Golovkin 10-8 on all three cards.

Still, with Madison Square Garden reverberating from chants of “Triple G” or “JACOBS,” no one could be sure of the outcome right until the final punch.

Jacobs is 32-2. Golovkin holds on to his belts and took Jacobs’ WBA middleweight title.

Golovkin, a world champion since 2010, is 5-0 at the Garden, which he calls a “second home.” But Jacobs, from Brooklyn and, oddly, a representative of the competing arena the Barclays Center, tested him more than anyone has.

Golovkin keeps his WBC and WBO crowns – the IBF belt was not at stake because Jacobs skipped that organization’s fight-day weigh-in. On the horizon for GGG could be that elusive meeting with Canelo Alvarez if the Mexican wins his fight in May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“Of course I am ready to fight Canelo, of course I want that fight,” Golovkin said. “I am like an animal for that fight.”

But there’s another option, GGG admitted.

“I will give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.”

Earlier, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai stunned previously unbeaten Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, knocking down the Nicaraguan in the first round, bloodying his face with an unintentional head-butt in the third, then winning a majority decision for the WBC super flyweight championship.

Even though Sor Rungvisai was docked a point in the sixth round for another head-butt – there were several in the brutal bout – he never backed off. He relentlessly attacked the cut over the right eye of Gonzalez, who clearly was hampered by the blood streaming down his face. The challenger carried the fight in the eyes’ of the judges through the latter rounds.

In only his second fight outside Asia, Sor Rungvisai improved to 42-4-1 with 38 knockouts. Gonzalez, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, is 46-1.

One judge had the fight even at 113-113. The other two gave the Thai the nod 114-112 in the action-packed bout.

A sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden vigorously booed the decision.

The AP had it 115-113 for Gonzalez, who has held some sort of world title since 2008.

Gonzalez went down from a hard right to the body in the opening round, but he then took charge – even after his face turned to a bloody mask in the middle rounds. However, Sor Rungvisai landed enough punches and moved well enough to keep in it.

And then, despite being outpunched decisively, with Gonzalez landing 441 to 284, the Thai got the surprise decision.

Earlier, Carlos Cuadras outpointed fellow Mexican David Carmona in a super flyweight fight.

Both from Mexico City, Cuadras and Carmona were coming off defeats. Neither was particularly sharp Saturday night, and the decision drew a lusty round of boos from the crowd.

Perhaps the unorthodox manner in which Cuadras fought, at times looking off-balance and awkward, didn’t win over the fans. Or maybe it was the way Carmona came on late in the 10-rounder.

Regardless, the judges went for Cuadras 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94.

Cuadras (36-1-1 with 27 KOs) lost a close unanimous decision to Gonzalez in a sensational September matchup for the WBC belt he’d held since 2014. He wasn’t nearly as impressive in his win at the Garden.

Carmona (20-4-5) was also coming off a loss, to WBO world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.

Cleveland’s Ryan Martin improved to 18-0 with 11 knockouts when he totally outmatched Bryant Cruz before stopping him in the seventh round of their lightweight bout.

Floyd Mayweather would be massive betting favorite against Conor McGregor in superfight

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Seeing how Floyd Mayweather has never lost a professional fight to any actual boxer, oddsmakers rate him as an overwhelming favorite if the much rumored boxing match against mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor comes to realization.

Mayweather is  listed as a -1400 betting favorite against the +750 underdog McGregor at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. If it happens – and McGregor has been dropping hints that it will, sharing video of him training for boxing in Mayweather’s hometown of Las Vegas – it would also be the most lucrative bout in prize fighting history.

Mayweather, who turns 40 years old next week, is a perfect 49-0 during a career which has seen him win acclaim as the best fighter, pound for pound, of the last quarter-century. The five-division world champion has stayed on top of the game for so long by being an excellent defensive fighter who wears out opponents.

Mayweather’s last seven victories as well as 10 of his last 12 have gone the full 12 rounds. At this stage of his career, he’s far from a knockout artist but is likely to be able to keep his guard up much better than the typical opponent McGregor faces in the Octagon.

McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, ends his fights quickly. The Irishman has won 17 of his last 18 bouts, including 14 by knockout or technical knockout. Stamina likely wouldn’t be an issue for McGregor in a boxing ring, given that boxing rounds are two minutes shorter than the five-minute rounds in the UFC.

Of course, if the fight actually comes to pass, McGregor would have to adjust to using the heavier boxing gloves and would have to get used to staying on his feet.

Since coming to the UFC, McGregor has been an underdog only once, closing at -105 against Jose Aldo at UFC 194. That was the bout where he knocked out Aldo in 13 seconds.