Once again Atlantic City’s rich history in the sport of boxing will be highlighted when the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame inducts its 2019 class this weekend. This year’s induction ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at the Claridge Hotel. The official list of inductees includes Bernard Hopkins, Roberto Duran Sr., Virgil Hill Sr., Mickey Ward, Iran Barkley, John Brown, Tim Witherspoon Sr., Kevin Watts, Ace Marotta, English “Bouie” Fisher, Ronald “Butch” Lewis, Bobby Goodman, Stan Hoffman, Nigel Colins, Henry Hascup, Jimmy Binns Sr., Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr. and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
“It’s surreal to be inducted,” says Hopkins, a former middleweight champion and one of the most recognizable names in this year’s class.
“If you look at the 19-plus fights I had in Atlantic City, so many were milestones for me. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is just incredible.”
Hopkins cites his victories over Antonio Tarver and Kelly Pavlik as the most memorable, but each battle he fought in the ring here in America’s Playground was a treat for boxing fans.
Speaking of treats for boxing fans, the entire weekend will be packed with events leading up to the big ceremony. Here is a breakdown of what’s happening and what not to miss.
Friday, June 21
VIP cocktail reception at Pop Up Legends Café: Debuting at this year’s ACBHOF induction weekend is the Pop Up Legends Café. This brand new space inside the Claridge Hotel will host a cocktail reception from 5 to 8 p.m. which will showcase unique boxing exhibits and artwork as well as a screening of “Me Whee,” a 30-minute film about Muhammed Ali. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at ACBHOF.com.
Saturday, June 22
Conversation and coffee at Pop Up Legends Café: From noon to 4 p.m. on fans will be able to enjoy a panel discussion comprised of top boxing historians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while sipping their coffee. Admission is free.
Meet and greet at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall: For those boxing fans looking to mingle with their favorite boxing icons, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall will be the place to be from 4 to 7 p.m. when they host a public meet and greet on their garden patio. Guests can enjoy craft beers and order from the gastropub menu while being given the opportunity to interact with boxing legends and garner autographs and photographs. The event itself is free, however individual boxers will charge varying fees for autographs and photos. Confirmed boxers for the event include Ray Mercer, Michael Spinks, Al Cole, Kelly Pavlik, Micky Ward and Tim Witherspoon.
Sunday, June 23
Pre-reception and Induction: This is what it all leads up to. The Hall of Fame Induction will begin at 4 p.m. with a pre-reception in the Art Gallery, followed by a red carpet and the official Induction Ceremony which will be held in the Celebrity Theater. Tickets are $80 and $100 and can be purchased at ACBHOF.com.
Meet and greet at Blue Water Grille: Fans will have an opportunity to join the legends for an interactive meet and greet at the Blue Water Grille located on the 7th floor inside the Flagship Resort. (Editor’s note: As of print, time and price for this event is not yet available. Keep checking ACWeekly.com for updates)
Those looking to watch some actual boxing should head into town a day early and catch a night of Golden Boy Boxing at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at Ocean Casino Resort. The double-headed main event features D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (20-0, 13 KOs) taking on Elias “Latin Kid” Espadas (18-4, 13 KOs) While the co-main event is a 10-round welterweight bout between Eddie “Eboy” Gomez (22-3, 12 KOs) and Saul “Navajo” Corral (29-13, 19 KOs). Also on the card is Atlantic City’s own Rishard Muhammad who will make his professional debut in a four-round featherweight fight.