In a scenario that would've seemed virtually unthinkable during their careers, Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee Erik Morales will be presented by 2015 Inductee Marco Antonio Barrera. The two great Mexican champions were among the most bitter rivals in boxing history, and their spectacular trilogy ranks with the sport's greatest.
Morales and Barrera fought all three of their bouts in Las Vegas. The first was at Mandalay Bay in 2000 with the subsequent two rematches at MGM Grand in 2002 and 2004.
Their intense dislike for each other was expressed frequently in press conferences and personal appearances, and spilled into the ring during their fights. All three decisions were close and disputed, Morales won the first by split-decision, Barrera the second and third by unanimous and majority decisions.
The first and third bouts were each named The Ring magazine "Fights of the Year." The rubber match was also accorded the same honor by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
While it seemed inconceivable that there would ever be peace between the two, time eased many of the wounds, aided by their working together on television in Mexico. Now the two will be back together again In Las Vegas for what will surely be one of the highlights of the fifth annual summer spectacular, and a sure-fire photo opportunity.
Morales expressed excitement to be Inducted in the NVBHOF, adding he is very happy that Barrera will present him.
"I am very happy that I was taken into consideration to participate in Erik Morales’ induction because he was my strongest rival," said Barrera. "This tremendous rivalry made us give everything that we had and we were able to give boxing fans three memorable fights. For me it is an honor. I will attend this great event to be part of it."
Morales was 52-9 as a pro and won World Championships in four weight divisions. "El Terrible" will be one of two Mexican greats inducted this year, joining the late great Salvador Sánchez in an amazing 14-person class.
Previously, the NVBHOF also inducted Mexican champions Julio César Chávez, Barrera, and Ricardo López.
"Having Marco Antonio induct Erik is in the best tradition of the NVBHOF," said Michelle Corrales-Lewis, CEO and President of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
"Among our greatest moments have been the ceremonies where we brought past rivals together for the inductions. We have had Mike Tyson induct Evander Holyfield and Sugar Ray Leonard present Roberto Duran. There may however have been no more heated rivalry than Morales and Barrera, so this will be something really special."
Additional stellar inductees in the NVBHOF's Class of '17 will include Thomas Hearns, who was chosen in the non-Nevada resident boxer category, along with Michael Spinks, Michael Carbajal, and women’s boxing star Lucia Rijker. Elected in the Nevada resident boxer category was Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and Richie Sandoval.
Chosen in the non-boxer category were referee Davey Pearl, public relations specialist Debbie Munch, promoter Mel Greb, trainer/cut man Rafael Garcia and Nevada Athletic Commission chair Dr. Elias Ghanem.
Norton, Sánchez, Greb and Ghanem will be inducted posthumously.
Remaining tickets for all events of the two-day NVBHOF Induction Weekend, August 11-12, including the Induction Gala Dinner on Saturday night, August 12th, may be purchased at nvbhof.com. They can be purchased separately or as part of a first-time ever Super VIP ticket which gains access to all of the weekend events.