Atlantic City Welcomes the 7th Annual Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend


By Luis A. Cortes III

While the world of boxing will be focused on Las Vegas and the mega showdown between two undisputed champions, across the country Atlantic City will play host to the seventh annual Hall-of-Fame Induction Weekend. This year’s festivities are highlighted by the celebration of heavyweight boxers that once helped make Atlantic City the leading destination for “big time” fights. At the top of this year’s class are names like George Foreman, David Tua, Shannon Briggs, and Pinklon Thomas. With names like these, it’s easy to understand why this year’s Induction Weekend, now a staple of the city’s entertainment calendar, figures to be the best ever.

Ray McCline, a lifelong boxing fan, is the brainchild behind the event which has matured beyond the infancy stage. For McCline (himself a 2022 inductee into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame), creating an entire weekend around the sport in a way that could also benefit the city financially was a no-brainer.

“It’s great to see what this weekend has become. It’s been a long road from the original idea, but with great support and partnerships, it’s been possible,” states McCline.

In the past the ACBHOF has had to be as nimble as some of the fighters that they’ve honored to continue making sure the weekend wasn’t lost in the shadows of a city that has dealt with economic struggles. McCline and his staff at the ACBHOF have done an excellent job integrating the history of boxing with the history of Atlantic City. They’ve done this by offering fans the opportunity to spend more than just one evening immersed in the culture of the sport.

“It continues to grow and get better and that’s what it’s all about; making this the type of weekend that boxing fans mark on their calendars each year. This year we’re fortunate to partner with Hard Hitting Promotions to provide a great night of live professional boxing for fans as well,” says McCline. It’s the type of addition to an already full weekend schedule that only strengthens the ACBHOF brand.

A partnership with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has also been a key to recent enhancements for the weekend of events.

After years of having to adapt the schedule to the schedules of their host properties, having this partnership with Hard Rock has allowed for the ACBHOF to lock in the final weekend of September or first weekend of October which is important because it allows fans to plan out their post summer and pre-holiday schedules without having to skip their trip to Atlantic City. “A major bonus,” says McCline. “It was one of the major hurdles that we had to jump over. Integrating Hard Rock and their established relationships in the world of entertainment only benefits both parties.”

It’s a fact that isn’t lost when you see crowds of concert-goers and people arriving in the city for other events enter the Free Fan Expo that takes place prior to the award ceremony.

Which brings us to this year’s schedule of events. Tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 29) will be the customary V.I.P opening cocktail reception followed by the live fights at Bally’s Casino. On Saturday at Hard Rock is the free Fight Fan Experience which allows fans to interact with legends of the sport from the past and fighters of today and tomorrow. During the evening hours. the actual awards and induction ceremony will take place at the Hard Rock. The weekend activities culminate in a legends brunch on Sunday morning at the Blue Water Grille at the Flagship Hotel.

What’s going on in Las Vegas isn’t lost on McCline. “This year is going to be great for those attending the induction ceremony at the V.I.P. level. We were able to set up our post ceremony cocktail reception in conjunction with showing the Canelo-Charlo fight. At the end of the day, we’re all fans of the sport so why miss a historic fight?”

Just listening to the joy that springs from the voice of Ray McCline when discussing both this year’s event and plans for the future is refreshing, especially when one considers all of the roadblocks that he’s overcome to bring his vision to reality in the form of a full weekend of celebration.

Note: The main event of the boxing show on Friday is a 10-round contest between super lightweights Branden Pizarro (18-1-1) and Esteban Garcia (16-2). For more information on event tickets, room reservations, and weekend schedules, visit the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame website at: