2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame Awards Dinner

By Colleen Aycock       Photos by Dave Wallace

(Click on thumbnail for larger image.)


Master of Ceremonies Juan Nunez

The 2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame awards dinner was held August 6 at the VFW Post 401, 2011 Girard in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Master of Ceremonies was Juan Nunez who fought under the name of Johnny Brito. Juan is the current Chairman of the Boxing Hall of Fame and will be next year’s president for the NM Golden Gloves.

Attendance was at 102, full capacity for the hall, with guests coming from as far away as Oklahoma, Texas, and Michigan. Special Las Cruces guests were HOF Boxer/Trainer Louie Burke and his mother Alba Burke, of the Sammy Burke family.


Art Aragon Jr. sang the National Anthem


Neil Wallace played the Bagpipes

The night opened with the entrance of the bagpipes played by Neil Wallace, member of the award-winning High Desert Pipes & Drums and current medical student at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. The Colors were posted by veterans John Van Sickler and Art Aragon, Jr., followed by the singing of the national anthem led by the multi- talented Art Aragon, Jr.

The dinner, gourmet by any standard, was provided by Juan Nunez’ son, Ernest Nunez, current manager of the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, one of Albuquerque’s most popular attractions for food and culture.

John Van Sickler presented a special award to VFW Post 401 on its 50-year anniversary in Albuquerque and for its 50-year sponsorship of the New Mexico Golden Gloves. Juan Nunez presented a check for $400 to the NM Golden Gloves, followed by a special award to John Van Sickler for 50 years of outstanding service to the Golden Gloves.


Art Aragon, the Original Golden Boy


Art Aragon Jr. accepting the award for his late father

The first Hall of Fame award was presented to Art Aragon, deceased (HOF 2015) whose son Art, Jr. was unable to accept the award for his father last year. This year Art, Jr. introduced his father with a touching story about his boxing coach, Henry Anaya, Sr. reuniting young Aragon with his father who was so pleased to learn that his son had become an international boxing champion.






Aragon vs LW champ Jimmy Carter


WW & MW champ Carmen Basilio vs Aragon

Arthur Anthony Aragon was born in Belen, New Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles to become a fixture in the boxing and entertainment business of Los Angeles. A tall lightweight, orthodox fighter at 5′ 8″ Aragon entered the LA and Hollywood boxing rings wearing a golden robe and gold trunks. He was one of those renowned fighters who never won a title, but who could pack the Olympic Auditorium and Legion Stadium with his Charismatic personality and exciting style.  Amazingly, Aragon was ranked in the Top 10 by The Ring magazine from 1949 – 1958. He had the whole package: he was a boxer-puncher, he was an excellent counter-puncher, and he used the ring as his personal dance floor. When other good fighters of his era averaged 60-70 total bouts, Aragon compiled a record of 90 wins, 20 losses, and 6 draws for a total of 116 bouts from 1944 to 1960


Tommy Campbell

Aragon had to fight during one of California’s most notorious scandal-ridden eras. He fought contender Tommy Campbell in 1950. Later Campbell testified that he was ordered by Olympic matchmaker Babe McCoy to lose to Aragon. McCoy was banned for life by the California Athletic Commission. Aragon fought many ring notables during his illustrious career: Redtop Davis, World Lightweight Champion Jimmy Carter and Carmen Basilio.


Marilyn Monroe and Aragon

Around Hollywood, he was the man to be seen with. He dated Mamie Van Doren and was friends with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. He acted in the Audie Murphy pictures, To Hell and Back (1955) and World in my Corner (1956). His other credits include Off Limits (1953), a boxing comedy with Bob Hope, and John Huston’s Fat City (1972). He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and the NMBHOF in 2015. He died at age 80 in Northridge, CA on March 25, 2008.


Elias “Neffie” Quintana


Neffie Quintana’s son


Neffie Quintana

Neffie Quintana was introduced by his son. Mr. Quintana, an Albuquerque lawyer, definitely inherited his father’s sense of humor. Both men kept the audience entertained. Born March 18, 1927, Neffie Quintana is almost 90 years young and still actively serving New Mexico. He has been a boxer, coach, and referee, and has been a member the past 3 years of the New Mexico Athletic Commission. (He previously served on the Commission from 1983-1987.) He has judged and refereed both amateur Golden Gloves and professional fights for 50 years. He refereed Tony Tubbs and judged Evander Holyfield’s last 15-round fight. He has judged 30 world title fights. He continued officiating boxing until 2004. As a boxer he had 9 amateur fights, one of which was with Willie Hall. He had one pro fight.

Mr. Quintana received his BA and MA in Physical Education and School Administration from the Univ. of New Mexico and was accepted as a doctoral candidate.  Most of his life was spent teaching and coaching in both high school and college. “Mr. Q,” as he was known, coached baseball and softball (40 years), basketball (45 years), football and boxing (50 years).

In addition to teaching, he was also an APD Policeman. Neffie is also a lifetime member of the VFW, having served in the United States Army from 1945-1951, during World War II and the Korean conflict. He worked in Los Alamos for the University of California handling classified material.

After retiring from APS in 1981, Mr. Quintana managed and sold Real Estate. Upon his wife’s death in 2008, he became active in missionary work. He has served 18 missions in several countries including the Philippines. His advice to others: “You don’t start living until you start giving.”

Neffie told the audience that now he wanted to write poetry; so he read us his poem that he had penned about Holly Holm. If that poem was any indication of talent, he has a future in writing.


Danny Romero, Sr.


Danny Romero, Sr. with Elba Burke and his son


Former 3 time champ Danny Romero, Jr.

Danny Romero, Sr. was introduced by his son, 3-Time World Champion and NM Boxing Hall of Fame (2012), Danny Romero, Jr.  Danny Sr. had trained many of the fighters present in the room Sat. night. Danny Romero, Sr. is one of the all-time great amateur and professional boxing trainers of New Mexico, training beginners through champions for over 30 years. From 1979 to 1986 he coached boxing at the PAL gym in Albuquerque. In 1986 he started his own gym, the Hideout, where he trained state, regional and national amateur champions, as well as professionals. Danny was a featured coach and administrator at all levels of the Golden Gloves organization. He served as Regional (4-state) Golden Gloves Coordinator in 1984, ‘85, ‘88, and ‘90. He trained National Golden Gloves Champion Ronnie Rentz in 1981, and both Rentz and Steve Hindi for the National PAL Championships in 1983. He took Ronnie Rentz and his son Danny Romero to the Olympic Trials. In 1986 he was head coach for the Olympic Sports Festival, coaching the East Team to victory.  As head coach in 1988, he took the National Junior Olympic Team to Canada. He was voted Team Coach by the Olympic Committee for USA international bouts in Ireland, England, and Tahiti from 1989-1991.

His professionals during the ‘80s and ‘90s included national title holders, world contenders and champions. He worked with Tony Tubbs, Jaime Garcia, Joe Mercanti, Johnny Tapia, Primo Ramos, Sam Houston, Ray Sanchez, and his own son Danny Romero, Jr.  In 1994 Danny Romero, Sr. was voted Trainer of the Year by ESPN and Top Rank.

Perhaps Danny Romero’s greatest testament and legacy to boxing is his own son. Beginning in 1994, he coached Danny, Jr. to the NABF championship and managed him through 3 world titles. But during the year Danny won his 3rd title, “Big Danny” was diagnosed with a crytogenic disease, a genetic blood disorder that attacks the body’s organs. At that point, Danny, Jr. became caregiver and took over his father’s training responsibilities. By 2005 Danny Sr. received a liver transplant and his daily life has been challenging. He has met those challenges with the same fighting spirit and dignity that he taught his young boxers.

His son Danny continues his father’s legacy at the Hideout Gym, a not-for-profit organization that takes kids off the streets, in a program that has as many as 600 students a year, and gives them a vision for their own future.


Colleen Aycock


Colleen Aycock


Dr. Pat Trainor

Colleen Aycock was introduced by Dr. Pat Trainor, retired Assoc. Dean of the UNM Law School and the first female on the New Mexico Boxing and Wrestling Commission. Pat is also a sorority alumna sister (Alpha Delta Pi) with Colleen. Many of the sorority sisters were present at the event. Colleen Aycock was born Nov. 7, 1951 in the Texas Rio Grande Valley of Edinburgh with boxing history flowing through her veins. Her father C.N. “Ike” “Wildcat” Aycock had been a Depression-era fighter out of Harlingen, Texas, telling her hard-boiled stories about his travels to Mexico and New Orleans in search of fights and San Francisco to spar with Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. She saw him devote hours in his later years training young boxers in San Antonio, Alice, and South Texas. While most of the HOF honorees started their careers with boxing, her career culminated with boxing. She received her B.A. from Northern Arizona University, M.A. from California State, Dominguez Hills, and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. She taught writing at universities in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

She is married to Dave Wallace and has two grown sons, Jason (with wife Sara) and Neil both graduates of the University of New Mexico. Before moving to Albuquerque, the family lived outside the Beltway, Washington, D.C. where Colleen wrote biographies for the U.S. Capitol, Statuary Hall (during and post-911). While in Maryland, Colleen researched material in Baltimore on the life of Joe Gans, the first African-American world boxing champion.

She has written encyclopedia entrees; book reviews and articles on boxing for history, university, and sports magazines.  She has co-authored and co-edited four books on boxing with Texas writer Mark Scott.

She currently serves as Co-Editor for IBRO, the International Boxing Research Organization.


Rick Wright


Rick Wright


Austin Killeen

Rick Wright was introduced by Austin Killeen, a NM Hall of Famer (2015). Austin humorously commented on Rick’s elementary playground pugilistic (or lack thereof) skills which caused Rick to pursue writing instead. Austin also distributed samples of some of Rick’s excellent columns. Rick Wright was born on Dec. 9, 1947, in Albuquerque. He never boxed, having learned early in life on the playground that he had no talent for the pugilistic arts. But his first sports hero was Floyd Patterson, and Rick has never lost his respect for the Sweet Science and his admiration for those who pursue it. Rick attended Sandia Base and Mark Twain Elementary schools and is a graduate of Monroe Junior High, Manzano High School and the University of New Mexico. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies in 1969, then served three years in the U.S. Army.

While stationed in Germany, Rick picked up a little German. Later, he briefly studied French. As a result, he is able to say “Where is my dog” in six different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, French). Unfortunately, he is not fluent in any of the foreign tongues, and some of his readers have even questioned his fluency in English.

Rick began his journalism career in 1975 after earning a second bachelor’s degree from UNM. He worked as a sports intern at the Albuquerque Journal, then as the sports editor at the Alamogordo Daily News and the Los Alamos Monitor. He was hired full time by the Journal in 1977. Though he’s been fortunate enough to cover eight Super Bowls and three Olympic Games, he’ll tell you the most exciting event he has covered was the fight between Freddie Roach and Albuquerque’s Tommy Cordova in July 1984 at the Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas.

That’s also the year he met and married his wonderful wife. He and Barbara have no kids but love Ginger, their 12-year-old Shetland Sheepdog.

Rick is deeply honored to be inducted into the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.


Steve “The Tiger” Hindi


Steve Hindi was introduced by John Van Sickler and Juan Nunez

Steve Hindi was introduced by John Van Sickler and Juan Nunez (Johnny Brito), both speaking to Steve’s amazing amateur record in New Mexico and some of his specific fights. Sadly, if America had not boycotted the 1980 Olympics (protesting Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan) as John recalled, Steve Hindi would have undoubtedly been an Olympian. According to Jim Boggio, New Mexico boxing historian, Steve Hindi holds the most amateur titles in the history of New Mexico. Hindi’s boxing career spanned 20 years, with an amateur of 172 – 52 and a 4-year professional career of 13 – 2. He turned pro in 1991. Hindi was born July 31, 1962 and recalls, “Every year we would watch for the billboard on the north side of I-40 just before we got to I-25 (before the Big I) announcing ‘The Gloves are Coming.’ And we would go to the boxing matches.” When Steve was 14, he said, “I think I could do that.” He asked his Mom to check with the Police Athletic League (PAL) to see what he needed to do, and as they say, “the rest is history.” For the next 20 years his life became: go to the gym, run, train, watch what he ate, and run some more. (He still does that.) He was always watching his diet so he could make weight and stay in shape. Weekends were taken up at boxing matches, either in Albuquerque or in one of many cities, big or small, around New Mexico, and then later, around the country. He would eventually travel to Finland, Denmark, and Yugoslavia.

Steve recalls many postponed Thanksgiving meals because the PAL tournament was always held during Thanksgiving’s long weekend. John Van Sickler recalls one of Steve’s fights in Hobbs when his coach, Danny Romero, Sr. couldn’t attend because he was coaching a USA team out of the country, so John had to corner him. John had Steve’s towel stuffed in his mouth so he wouldn’t yell from the corner. What a sight!

Steve is now retired after being a police officer for 33 years. He stays busy raising his 12-year-old daughter Sasha and spending time with family, friends, and traveling.

There are lots of stories and 20 years’ worth of great memories. Steve earning this award is going to be another great memory.


Steve Hindi’s Amateur Record

State and Regional Golden Gloves: 1979,’ 80, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, ‘84, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, and ‘90.

Junior Olympics: 1979-1980

AAU: 1980

State and Regional PAL: 1980, ’81,’82, and ‘84

Sugar Ray Leonard 4-State Invitational: 1980

Olympic Trials: 1980 Bronze Medal

State and Regional ABF: 1981, ’82,’84,’85,’ and ‘87

PAL Sports Festival: 1985

Police Olympics: August 1986

World Police and Fire Olympics: 1987

John Anthony Lopez Sportsmanship Award: two years consecutively


Henry “Riley” Anaya, Jr.


Henry Anaya, Jr.


Zack Anaya

Riley Anaya was introduced by his son and ring announcer Zack Anaya. Zack said he had always wanted to announce his father’s name, and the audience was completely enthralled with his slow deep, anticipatory announcement…”and Now, moving out of the white corner, weighing a little more than he did a few years ago…” Considered a legend in New Mexico, Henry Anaya, Jr., born March 19, 1965 in Albuquerque, was one of the finest boxers to come out of the state. Tonight he joins his father, Henry Anaya, Sr. in the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame. Henry’s nickname “Riley” originated from the early TV show “The Life of Riley,” and was given to him by his father because of his gentle easy-going demeanor—except in the ring. As an amateur he fought 293 with 250 wins, was a teammate of Johnny Tapia and Mike Tyson, and traveled to and won as a U.S. boxer in Finland and Ireland. After an amazing amateur career lasting 17 years, he turned professional on February 7, 1987.  His professional record was 17 – 4, 11 by knockout, 52% KOs.  He fought 15 – 1 before losing his right middle finger in an accident.

Coming up through the professional ranks, Anaya was a popular fighter in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a winning record of 16 – 1, with 10 Kos. His only loss in those three and a half years was to Joe Hernandez (on the undercard of Thomas Hearns and Iran Barkley). That loss was avenged in a rematch that Anaya won with a swift first-round KO. His winning record earned Anaya a spot to fight for the vacant NABF Welterweight title. On August 20, 1990 against former World    Champion “Lightning” Lonnie Smith (25-2-1, 12 KOs) Henry was stopped in the 10th round. His final professional bout occurred on June 10, 1991 against former World Champion Mark Breland (28-2-1, 21 KOs) at the Meadowlands, Secaucus, NJ. (Because of the injury to his hand, it has been said that “he fought those guys one-handed.” Riley told me that before his finger was amputated, he had to fight with excruciating pain in his left hand, an impediment that would be career-ending today. )

Before retiring, he was ranked #4 in North America and #12 with the WBC.

During his ring tenure he trained many boxers, including Johnny Tapia.

Now an entrepreneur, he owns KO Construction, and on occasion, helps his Dad, Henry Anaya, Sr. (also a New Mexico Boxing Hall of Famer) at the gym.

He thanked his mother and father for all of their support.


We especially want to thank the SPONSORS of the 2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.

Please visit them at their physical or internet locations and remember to thank them, because these programs and the donations made to the Golden Gloves would not be possible without them.


Arthur Aragon, Jr., Honoring his father Art “Golden Boy” Aragon, 2015

Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Honoring Colleen Aycock, 2016, and Pat Trainor

K & I Diner, Open 7 Days a Week, 7am-3pm, 2500 Broadway Blvd., SE

Austin Killeen, 2015, Boxing News, www.KilleensKorner.com

Knock Out Sheds, KO Construction, Inc., www.knockoutsheds.com

MRG, Marketing, 2501 Alamo Ave SE, (505) 246-0125

McFarland Publishers (see a full line of boxing books at) www.McFarlandBooks.com

The Wallace family