M. Spinks and Shavers to join lo­cal hall of fame

The Sun News - - Sports - BY ALAN BLONDIN [email protected]­sun­news.com

Three days of ap­pear­ances, events and a hall of fame in­duc­tion have brought heavy­weight box­ing le­gends Michael Spinks and Earnie Shavers to the Grand Strand.

They are be­ing hosted by lo­cal res­i­dent and for­mer heavy­weight cham­pion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, who will in­duct them as the 2018 class into the fledg­ling Box­ing Le­gends Hall of Fame.

Smith has the goal of open­ing a Box­ing Le­gends Hall of Fame Mu­seum in Myr­tle Beach and has al­ready had a few in­duc­tion classes de­spite not hav­ing a build­ing to house the hall.

Spinks and Shavers will be in­ducted Satur­day in a cer­e­mony in Crown Park Golf Club’s club­house in Longs.

“I would like to en­cour­age them to be the face of the Box­ing Le­gends Hall of Fame pro­ject,” Smith said. “We’re known all over the world, and we want to grow into a Box­ing Le­gends Hall of Fame Mu­seum right here in Myr­tle Beach.

“… We could have a fam­ily re­union in Myr­tle Beach, South Carolina on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

There are al­ready a pair of rec­og­nized box­ing halls of fame — the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing HOF in Canas­tota, New York, and World Box­ing HOF in River­side, Cal­i­for­nia.

The box­ers had three days of ac­tiv­i­ties and ap­pear­ances planned, in­clud­ing a Thurs­day news con­fer­ence at In­let Pro­vi­sion Com­pany restau­rant in Murrells In­let, Fri­day ap­pear­ances and au­to­graph sign­ings at Flynn’s Ir­ish Tav­ern in North Myr­tle Beach and at the Golden Cor­ral on U.S. 501.

A golf tour­na­ment sched­uled for Satur­day morn­ing at Crown Park Golf Club has been post­poned be­cause of ex­pected in­clement weather, but a Satur­day ap­pear­ance is sched­uled at 4 p.m. at the North Strand Recre­ation Cen­ter in Lit­tle River be­fore the 6 p.m. start of the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony at Crown Park.

“We’re al­ready work­ing to­wards 2019 and we want to try to get Le­gends Golf Re­sort,” Smith said.

Smith said the HOF pro­ject hasn’t gained much trac­tion. He’s hop­ing to partner with the City of Myr­tle Beach to se­cure a Hall of Fame build­ing, and he hopes to go on a fundrais­ing tour with Spinks, Shavers and pos­si­bly other re­tired box­ers.

Spinks, 62, held the undis­puted light heavy­weight ti­tle from 1983-85, and be­came

heavy­weight cham­pion af­ter mov­ing up and de­feat­ing Larry Holmes. He won the gold medal in the mid­dleweight divi­sion at the 1976 Sum­mer Olympic Games, and was nick­named “Jinx,” lead­ing to his right hand be­ing dubbed the “Spinx Jinx.” Spinks went 31-1 in his pro ca­reer, los­ing only to Mike Tyson in his fi­nal fight on a first-round knock­out.

Shavers, 74, of Alabama, is con­sid­ered by many to be the hardest puncher of all time, fin­ish­ing his ca­reer in 1995 with a record 74-14-1 with 68 knock­outs, in­clud­ing 23 in the first round.

He de­feated heavy­weight cham­pi­ons Ken Nor­ton and Jimmy El­lis and lost to long­time cham­pi­ons Muham­mad Ali, whom he hurt, and Larry Holmes, whom he knocked down. Spinks, a na­tive of St. Louis, lives in Delaware, and his brother, for­mer heavy­weight champ Leon Spinks, lives in Las Ve­gas.

Smith, 65, held the WBA Heavy­weight ti­tle in 1986-87 af­ter de­feat­ing Tim Witherspoon, and was 44-17-1 in his pro ca­reer. Smith and Spinks knew each other as spar­ring partners for Joe Fra­zier.

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