CANASTOTA, NY –MAY 13, 2009 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced today former WBO heavyweight champion “Merciless” Ray Mercer will attend festivities planned for the 20th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend set for June 11-14th.
“Ray Mercer was a hard-punching heavyweight and was involved in some truly exciting bouts,” said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. “We’re looking forward to welcoming him to Canastota for the first time.”
Mercer compiled an 85-6 amateur record and captured the 1988 Olympic heavyweight gold medal. He turned pro in 1989 and wins over Garing Lane, Ossie Ocasio, Kimmuel Odum and Bert Cooper set up a WBO title clash with Francesco Damiani in 1991 (KO 9). In his first defense he scored a dramatic 5th round TKO over Tommy “The Duke” Morrison. Stripped of the title in 1992, he went on to score wins over Jesse Ferguson, Tim Witherspoon and Darroll Wilson among others. In 1996 he engaged in a rugged back and forth battle with 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee Lennox Lewis (L 10). He was unsuccessful in a 2002 WBO title bid against Wladimir Klitschko. Mercer’s pro record stands at 36-7-1 (26 KOs).
Events planned for the weekend include a banquet, night of rising stars, parade, golf tournament, boxing autograph card show, cocktail party and the Official Induction Ceremony honoring the Class of 2009. In addition, other special activities will be implemented for the celebration, including a fireworks display.
New inductees to be honored are bantamweight champion Orlando Canizales, heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, junior lightweight champion Brian Mitchell, matchmaker / publicist / promoter Bob Goodman, promoter Akihiko Honda, journalist Hugh McIlvaney and broadcaster Larry Merchant. Posthumous inductees will also be honored.
An impressive lineup of boxing legends of yesterday and today are scheduled to participate in weekend festivities.
For more information on the Hall of Fame’s 20th Annual Induction Weekend please call (315) 697-7095 or visit www.ibhof.com.