Former IBF Junior Middleweight champion Vincent "The Ambassador" Pettway headlines the newest inductees into the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame.
Pettway started his pro career in 1984 with a third round knockout over Ali Saad Muhammad in Atlantic City. The Baltimore native fought more than 25 times in and around his hometown throughout his career. Pettway won his first title, the USBA Junior Middleweight title in February of 1992 with a 12-round split decision over Gilbert Baptist in Pikesville. Two years later, Pettway made his first bid at a world title, challenging IBF Junior Middleweight champ Gianfranco Rosi. However, Pettway got involved in a foulfest and the bout was ruled a technical draw after six rounds.
Pettway realized his dream of holding a world title 12 years ago TODAY when he stopped Rosi in the fourth round. Pettway became Baltimore's first world champion in more than 80 years.
Pettway's only successful title defense was a classic when, on April 29, 1995, Pettway scored a vicious sixth-round knockout over fellow Beltway Boxer Simon Brown at the "Beltway Brawl" at the USAir Arena.
Pettway lost his title in August of 1995 to Paul Vaden and fell short in another title quest against Terry Norris. Pettway's record was 43-7-1, 32 KO's.
Joining Pettway in the pro category of the hall of fame selection will be Laurel, MD middleweight Percy "No Mercy" Harris. As an amateur, Harris won the 1984 National AAU Middleweight championship. As a pro, Harris had a relatively brief four-year career (1989-1992), but included in that career were bouts against two former world champions who will be first-ballot hall of famers.
On August 5, 1980, Harris challenged a young Bernard Hopkins and lost a six-round unanimous decision in Atlantic City. The loss was Harris first in his pro career.
Harris finished his career on December 5, 1992 being stopped in the fourth round by a rising star named Roy Jones, Jr.
Harris scored his biggest victory on December 4, 1991 defeating former perennial title contender Thomas Tate in San Pellegrino, Italy for the IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight title.
Harris's final record was 15-4, nine KO's.
Inducted in the amateur classification will be Warren "Chico" Thompson. The Baltimore native has been called the best super heavyweight to ever come out of the state by veteran Maryland amateur observers. Thompson won the National AAU Super Heavyweight championship in 1984 and traveled all over the world.
Thompson's pro career wasn't as successful, but it did include bouts against former WBA Heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon and former title contender Henry Akinwande.
Being inducted for his contributions to Maryland Boxing will be boxer turned promoter Jake "The Snake" Smith. The former Maryland State Light Heavyweight champion has taken on the daunting task of promoting amateur and professional boxing cards at the same time. Smith does this with incredible enthusiasm and has received high praise for the quality of his cards.
One of the non-participant inductees will be Earl Savage, a long-time inspector with the Maryland State Athletic Commission. Savage has been a quiet yet stern presence at Maryland boxing cards and is a very nice man.
The other non-participant inductee will be Marty Resnick. That name may not mean a lot to you but without him, the Beltway would be hard-pressed to find venues to hold boxing. Resnick is the owner of the successful Martin's Caterers locations all over the area and his support of local boxing has earned him this honor.
Two of the Martin's Caterers locations -- Martin's West in Woodlawn and Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt -- have been legendary Beltway Boxing locations for many years.
The Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame ceremony will be November 5 at Martin's East, 6000 Pulaski Highway in Baltimore.