International boxing referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. will join his father, the late Arthur Mercante, Sr., in the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF) to become the first father-son inducted into the NYSBHOF.
The 24-member Class of 2019 will be inducted at the eighth annual NYSBHOF induction dinner on Sunday afternoon (12:30-5:30 p.m. ET), April 28, at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
Mercante, Jr. was an amateur boxer who lost in the 1976 New York Golden Gloves to Juan LaPorte (NYSBHOF inductee, Class of 2014). “I felt I beat him, and I wanted to turn pro,” Mercante, Jr. explained how he got into officiating. “My father said no as long as I lived in his house, but he suggested I try referring.”
Mercante, Jr. started refereeing in 1979 in the amateurs and moved up to the pro ranks in 1984. He has referred 336 fights, including 72 title fights. Mercante, Jr. has some wonderful memories, including a humorous story in which he was accidentally punched.
“I was referring a fight (unified world super middleweight title fight, on Jan. 14, 2017 at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn) between Badou Jack and James DeGale,” Mercante, Jr. remembered. “I heard the 10-second warning at the end of the sixth round and started counting 5-4-3-2-1. At the same time, Jack hit me in the face with a left hook, and I slipped. Beau asked me if I was alright. I said I was fine. Later, he said that he had hit me with a good shot and that I owned him a good shot. After the fight, he told me I can take a good shot.”
Mercante, Jr. believed the key to be a good referee is breaking apart fighters in clinches and staying out of the picture, because a fight isn’t about the referee.
One of his most memorable moments of his career was working the same show as his father, who was 81 time, for the first time in 1981 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Father worked the main event between Roy Jones, Jr. and David Telesco, Mercante, Jr. handled a fight between David Izon and Derrick Jefferson.
Now, Mercante, Jr. is heading into the NYSBHOF to join his father. “I never thought I’d be in any Hall of Fame,” Mercante, Jr. commented. “When the call came January 27th (2019) from Bob Duffy (NYBHOF president), it couldn’t have come at a more special day, because my father would have turned 99 that day.
“It’s an honor, especially going in with this class. I worked a fight between Michael Olajide and Iran Barkley and Michael is getting in this year. Don King, of course, and I worked a lot of shows with Wayne Kelly. Ring 8 has always been a great organization. I’d like to thank everyone involved.”
Living boxers heading into the NYSBHOF include (Bronx-born) three-time, two-division world champion Wilfredo Benitez (53-8-1, 31 KOs), Canastota welterweight Dick DiVeronica (44-13-1, 13 KOs), (Hempstead) WBO super featherweight world champion Rogelio Tuur (46-4-1, 30 KOs), (Bronx) 1968 U.S. Olympian Davey Vasquez (19-15, 6 KOs), WBO super middleweight world title challenger Michael Olajide (27-5, 19 KOs), of Manhattan, and Queens’ world heavyweight title challenger Monte Barrett (35-11-2, 20 KOs).
Posthumous participants being inducted are (Bronx) three-time lightweight world champion Jimmy Carter (84-31-9, 34 KOs), Brooklyn welterweight Al “Bummy” Davis (65-10-4, 46 KOs), (Schenectady) world welterweight champion Marty Servo (47-4-2, 14 KOs), (Bronx) world heavyweight title challenger Roland LaStarza (57-9, 27 KOs), Brooklyn world lightweight champion Paddy DeMarco (75-26-3, 8 KOs) and Manhattan’s Lower East Side lightweights Sid Terris (94-13-5, 12 KOs) and Leach “The Fighting Dentist” Cross (35-10-4, 22 KOs).
In addition to Mercante, Jr., other living non-participants heading into the NYSBHOF are New York City-based promoter Don King, Flushing judge John McKaie, Brooklyn sportscaster Steve Albert, and Bronx trainer Bob Jackson.
Posthumous non-participant inductees are Utica matchmaker Dewey Fragetta, Corona, Queens referee Johnny LoBianco, Garden City referee Wayne Kelly, Flushing sportsman Harry Hill, award-winning journalist Jimmy Cannon, of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and NYSAC official/former NABF president Joe Dwyer, of Brooklyn.
Each attending inductee (or direct descendant of) will receive a custom-designed belt signifying his or her induction into the NYSBHOF.
The 2019 inductees were selected by the NYSBHOF nominating committee members: Randy Gordon, Henry Hascup, Don Majeski, Ron McNair, and Neil Terens.
All boxers needed to be inactive for at least three years to be eligible for NYSBHOF induction, and all inductees must have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their boxing careers or during the prime of their respective career.
CLASS of 2012: Carmen Basilio, Mike McCallum, Mike Tyson, Jake LaMotta, Riddick Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Gene Tunney, Benny Leonard, Tony Canzoneri, Harold Lederman, Steve Acunto, Jimmy Glenn, Gil Clancy, Ray Arcel, Nat Fleischer, Bill Gallo and Arthur Mercante, Sr.
CLASS of 2013: Jack Dempsey, Johnny Dundee, Sandy Saddler, Maxie Rosenbloom, Joey Archer, Iran Barkley, Mark Breland, Bobby Cassidy, Doug Jones, Junior Jones, James “Buddy” McGirt, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Bob Arum, Shelly Finkel, Tony Graziano, Larry Merchant, Teddy Brenner, Mike Jacobs, Tex Rickard and Don Dunphy.
CLASS OF 2014: Floyd Patterson, Tracy Harris Patterson, Billy Backus, Kevin Kelley, Juan LaPorte, Gerry Cooney, Mustafa Hamsho, Howard Davis, Jr., Lou Ambers, Jack Britton, Terry McGovern, Teddy Atlas, Lou DiBella, Steve Farhood, Gene Moore, Angelo Prospero, Whitey Bimstein, Cus D’Amato, William Muldoon and Tom O’Rourke.
CLASS OF 2015: Saoul Mamby, Joey Giamba, Johnny Persol, Harold Weston, Lonnie Bradley, Paul Berlenbach, Billy Graham, Frankie Genaro, Bob Miller, Tommy Ryan, Jimmy Slattery, Bob Duffy, Mike Katz, Tommy Gallagher, Bruce Silverglade, Charley Goldman, Jimmy Johnston, Cedric Kushner, Harry Markson, Damon Runyon and Al Weill.
CLASS OF 2016: Aaron Davis, Charles Murray, Vilomar Fernandez, Edwin Viruet, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Rocky Graziano, Rocky Kansas, Joe Lynch, Joe Miceli, Ed Brophy, Joe DeGuardia, Randy Gordon, Dennis Rappaport, Howie Albert, Freddie Brown, Howard Cosell, Ruby Goldstein and Jimmy Jacobs.
CLASS OF 2017: Gaspar Ortega, Renaldo “Mr.” Snipes, Doug Dewitt, “The Bronx Bomber” Alex Ramos, Dick Tiger, Jose Torres, “Nonpareil” Jack Dempsey, Don Majeski, Ron Katz, Stan Hoffman, Bobby Bartels, Hank Kaplan, Al Gavin, Arthur Donovan and Dan Parker.
CLASS OF 2018: Lou “Honey Boy” Del Valle, Jake Rodriguez, Terrence Alli, “Baby” Joe Mesi, Kid Chocolate, James J. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, Jack McAuliffe, Billy Costello, Melio Bettina Ralph “Tiger” Jones, Charley Norkus, Dave Anderson, Pete Brodsky, Herb Goldman, Bobby Goodman, Melvina Lathan, Ron Scott Stevens, Johnnie Addie, Johnny Bos, Murray Goodman, Bert Randolph Sugar and Sam Taub.
Tickets are priced at $125.00 per adult and $60.00 for children (under 16) and include a complete brunch and cocktail hour upon entry, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET, as well as dinner (prime rib, fish or poultry) and open bar throughout the day. Tickets are available to purchase by contacting NYSBHOF president Bob Duffy at 516.313.2304 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ads for the NYSBHOF program are available, ranging from $80.00 to $200.00, by contacting Duffy. Go on line at http://www.Ring8ny.com for additional information about the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.
ABOUT RING 8: Formed in 1954 by an ex-prizefighter, Jack Grebelsky, Ring 8 became the eighth subsidiary of what was then known as the National Veteran Boxers Association – hence, RING 8 – and today the organization’s motto remains: Boxers Helping Boxers.
RING 8 is fully committed to supporting less fortunate people in the boxing community who may require assistance in terms of paying rent, medical expenses, or whatever justifiable need.
Go on line to www.Ring8ny.com for more information about RING 8, the largest group of its kind in the United States with more than 350 members. Annual membership dues is only $30.00 and each member is entitled to a buffet dinner at RING 8 monthly meetings, excluding July and August. All active boxers, amateur and professional, are entitled to a complimentary RING 8 yearly membership. Guests of Ring 8 members are welcome at a cost of only $7.00 per person.