Award-winning BWAA members Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser have been inducted into International Boxing Hall of Fame, the IBHOF announced on Wednesday in a press release introducing its 2020 Hall of Fame class.
Joining Fernandez and Hauser in the modern boxing category are Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs), Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) and Shane Mosley (49-10-1, 41 KOs). All are first-ballot Hall of Famers and all are multi-divisional champions. Additional members of the class will be Barbara Buttrick in the women’s Trailblazer category and “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Christy Martin and “The Dutch Destroyer” Lucia Rijker in the women’s Modern category. Non-participants and observers to be inducted include promoters Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva and the late Dan Goossen.
Lightweight champion Frank Erne in the Old Timer category and Paddy Ryan in the Pioneer category will also be honored. Inductees were voted in by members of the BWAA and a panel of international boxing historians.
Fernandez, a New Orleans native, covered boxing at the Philadelphia Daily News for 28 years, from 1984 to 2012 and remains involved as a freelancer for various website since his retirement from the newspaper. He served five terms as president of the BWAA who received the organization's Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism in 1998.
Enshrinement weekend will be June 11-14 in Canastota, N.Y.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Fernandez said. “I’m 72 and I will never again have a day like June 14, 2020. There will never be anything to approach that. It will be the best thing to ever happen to me in over 50 years of work. Nothing will top that. When I saw the call came in from Canastota, and I was watching Alabama and Auburn. I wondered why I got a call from Canastota, and it was good. I thought about the people who voted for me.
“Boxing is about fights and fighters and to a lesser extent about fights and writers. People like Jerry Izenberg and Dave Anderson are people I have admired at the highest level of my profession and I guess this honor is saying I move into their company and it is very humbling. When I got the news, I thought this might be better than LSU beating Alabama.”
Fernandez was a 22-year-old wunderkind when he became the sports editor of the Houma Courier in August 1969. After Houma, he had positions on the sports staffs of the Miami Herald, Jackson (Miss.) Daily News, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and, for the last 28 of his 43 years in newspaper sports journalism, Philadelphia Daily News until his retirement on April 1, 2012.
He writes exclusively about boxing, for The Ring magazine and TheSweetScience.com. He’s scheduled to release an anthology of his boxing stories in the summer of 2020.
Hauser, 73, was born in New York and attended both college and law school at Columbia. After graduating from law school, he clerked for a federal judge before spending five years as a litigator at the Wall Street law firm of Cravath Swaine & Moore.
Since then, Hauser has authored books on subjects ranging from professional boxing to Beethoven. His first book -- Missing -- was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and National Book Award, and served as the basis for the Academy-Award-winning film starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. The Beethoven Conspiracy -- Hauser’s thriller about the search for a lost Beethoven symphony -- won the Prix Lafayette, awarded biannually in France to the outstanding book by an American.
Hauser’s most celebrated work to date is Muhammad Ali: His Life And Times -- the definitive biography of the man who was once the most famous person on earth. The British edition was honored with the William Hill Book of the Year Award in England. Subsequently, Ali and Hauser co-authored HEALING: A Journal of Tolerance And Understanding and crisscrossed the United States, meeting with student audiences on their subject. For their efforts to combat bigotry and prejudice, they were named as co-recipients of the Haviva Reik Award. More recently, Hauser authored Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to The Greatest.
Hauser's award-winning investigative articles and testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation have been hailed within the boxing industry as a significant force for change.
On eight occasions, articles he has written have been designated as the "best investigative reporting of the year" by the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 2004, the BWAA honored him with the Nat Fleischer Award for Career Excellence in Boxing Journalism.
Now, he's in the Hall of Fame.
“In all sincerity, I really expect to be chosen, not this time, because I understand that I have ruffled some feathers along the way,” Hauser said. “There were also some very worthy candidates on the ballot.
“There were times when I fantasized about this happening, but I really didn't think it would," Hauser said. "Right now, all the clichés ring true for me. I'm thrilled, gratified, and very moved by this honor. I’m very happy and very excited by it. It’s a very good feeling. I’ve often said that I don’t have to be first. I’m not interested in being the person who tweets out something that just happened. That doesn’t matter to me.
“I want to be best. I asked myself, looking back through history, what would it have been like sitting in Joe Louis’ dressing room before he fought Max Schmeling, or being in Muhammad Ali’s dressing room writing down everything that happened before one of his fights? It’s something that I’ve been privileged to do with dozens, and dozens of fighters, writing their little slice of history, viewing them through the prism of being in the dressing room for that one fight.
“It’s a privileged that I’ve never taken for granted.”