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Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas announces first class of inductees, gives sport its third hall

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Ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson views the Ali Exhibit at the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas (Courtesy photo)

Steve Lott loves boxing and has a passion for the sport that few others share. That's something he wants to change.

And so Lott, a one-time assistant manager of ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, has opened yet another boxing-related Hall of Fame. This one, known as the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas, is the third such venture.

Lott's Hall is located inside the Luxor Resort & Casino in Las Vegas within the shop SCORE!, which has Hall of Fame-like exhibits for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and NASCAR, in addition to boxing.

The so-called "main" boxing hall, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is located in Canastota, N.Y. It holds induction ceremonies every June and has a museum that is open year-round. The World Boxing Hall of Fame is based in California and is largely just an annual banquet.

Lott was candid when asked if there is a need for a third Hall of Fame, but he said his point is simply to help the sport. He shared the front page of the Des Moines Register newspaper of Jan. 27, 1928. In the top center of the page are the results of a survey to determine the most popular athlete in the U.S.

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A view of the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas (Courtesy photo)

In second place in that poll, with 324,500 votes, was New York Yankees' slugger Babe Ruth, who was coming off a 60 home run season. In first was boxer Jack Dempsey and in third was boxer Gene Tunney.

Lott's goal is to help boxing capture the public's imagination in that way again.

"Is there a need for another Hall of Fame?" he asked, rhetorically. "I don't know. Maybe not. But my objective is to bring the mainstream to boxing as much as is possible. All the sharp boxing guys know all about this. But the casual guy needs to know a lot of this and that's what we intend to do."

On Friday, the Hall's advisory board released its first, 25-man class of inductees. They are, in many ways, the 25 best retired fighters of all-time, though there is plenty of room for debate on that.

Going in on the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas' first class are, in alphabetical order, Muhammad Ali, Henry Armstrong, Tony Canzoneri, Ezzard Charles, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Jack Dempsey, Roberto Duran, Joe Gans, Harry Greb, Eder Jofre, Jack Johnson, Stanley Ketchel, Sam Langford, Benny Leonard, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Archie Moore, Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, Barney Ross, Sandy Saddler, John L. Sullivan, Gene Tunney and Mickey Walker.

Lott is using social media to promote the Hall, including Facebook and YouTube.

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The front page of the Des Moines Register on Jan. 27, 1928 (Courtesy Steve Lott)

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