Board members of the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame are pleased to announce 2018’s list of 7 inductees: Jerry Martinez (Founder of the Hall), Brooks Byrd (Boxer), Pat Holmes (Promoter/Trainer), Jim Lilley (Referee/Commissioner), Dr. Reynaldo Martinez (Physician), Sandy Pino (Judge/President) and Tony Romero (Boxer). Boxers Josh “Pitbull” Torres and Cristian “El Puma” Cabral will be honored for participating in the fight of year.
The Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 6-10 pm at the Embassy Suites hotel, 1000 Woodward Place, NE, Albuquerque, NM. The public is invited to meet and dine with the inductees, past Hall-of-Fame members, and other boxing celebrities. Formal business casual attire is requested. Because of the length of the event children under the age of 12 are not encouraged. Tickets are $40 per person and reservations may be made at my email firstname.lastname@example.org. or to my phone at 505-681-8151. The deadline for paid reservations is October 19, 2017.
Jerry Martinez founded the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame (NMBHF) in 2009 to honor the men and women who contributed the rich history of the sport, both in and out of the ring in our state. Unselfishly, Jerry recognized the contributions of others around New Mexico to insure there would be a lasting history of their accomplishments. In doing so he overlooked his own contributions as both an amateur and professional boxer. As an amateur Jerry lost to ‘Stormin’ Norman Goins in the 1970 Golden Gloves finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. Turning pro, Jerry fought for six years losing only one bout. It is only fitting that the man who founded the NMBHF should finally be recognized for his own contributions to our great history.
Dr. Reynaldo Martinez has donated his time to New Mexico boxing for over ten years. He travels both in and out of state to look after the safety of our boxers. This requires giving physicals to boxers the day of tournaments and checking the safety of competitors when they leave the ring. The compensation is excellent, usually involving a vigorous handshake and pat on the back. Did I mention that Dr. Martinez is the younger brother of Jerry Martinez? It will be the first time that two brothers will be inducted in the Boxing Hall of Fame in the same year.
Tony Romero boxed out of Clovis, NM in the late 60’s and early 70’s, enjoying success both as an amateur and a pro. Tony got his introduction into the world of boxing as the result of an altercation in middle school. The principal took him to the local boxing gym that evening and the rest, as they say, was history. Five times Tony made it to the Nationals of the Golden Gloves. His boxing career was interrupted in the late sixties when he was drafted into the Marines. Deployed to Vietnam, Tony received the Commendation Medal for Valor for his heroic actions in Ashau Valley. Additionally he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in Ashau Valley. Returning home Tony turned pro, fighting for four years. He was awarded the Ring Prospect of the Month in 1971.
Sandy Martinez Pino got her start in boxing as a timekeeper and secretary for New Mexico amateur boxing. It wasn’t long before her duties expanded to judging at the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs. This proved to be an historic event, as women had not been allowed to function in that capacity prior to her assignment. Ultimately, Sandy would become the first woman to serve as President of USA Boxing. Today you can see her sitting at ringside as a judge both at the amateur and professional levels. She feels grateful to have judged boxers to include the late great Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero, Vito Romero, Albert Sanchez and too many other wonderful fighters to mention. To say that Sandy has broken the glass ceiling for women in boxing would be an understatement. She is truly a pioneer and role model woman in the sport of boxing today.
Pat Holmes, for more than twenty years has been the face of boxing in northern New Mexico as both a promoter and manager. The Holmes family in the city of Santa Fe goes back six generations and has played a pivotal role in its local history. Pat credits his early knowledge of the sport to observing Chris Linson and Sergio Chavez and how they interacted with local boxers. He was exposed to the promotional side of boxing when he met English promoter Frank Warren who was putting together a boxing card at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, NM. The show featured Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero in co-main events. He also credits the influence of Lenny Fresquez on the promotional side of the sport. Today Pat promotes fights at the Buffalo Resorts and Casino and has had 12 consecutive sellouts. Pat has an eye for talent and seems to be able to spot local talent who he turns into crowd pleasing ticket sellers. This included his two sons Patrick Jr. and Brandon who could unload tickets faster than free fifty dollar bills. It is safe to say northern New Mexico would be a lonely place for fight fans if Pat Holmes hadn’t gotten the bug for boxing.
Jim Lilley was born Sept. 15, 1928, in Atlanta, GA, has been involved in boxing for seven decades, most of that time in New Mexico. As a young man, he boxed in the U.S. Army and at the University of Texas. He and his father both began their association with Golden Gloves in the 1950s, when his father became an honored member of the Double G Club in Ft. Worth, TX, and Jim joined Sertoma Club shortly after moving to Roswell in 1953.
The Roswell Sertoma Club hosted the local and New Mexico state Golden Gloves Tournaments from the 1950s through the 1970s. Lilley helped train the Sertoma Club team, and refereed boxing matches when he was not working as a corner man during bouts. He was instrumental in producing local, regional and state Golden Gloves tournaments for more than 20 years. He was director of the state Golden Gloves tournament for many years and accompanied the New Mexico champion Golden Gloves team to the national tournament on numerous occasions.
During his years of involvement with Golden Gloves, more often than not Lilley spent his weekends loading boys and young men into his station wagon and taking them to boxing matches around the state. During the week, he and Charlie (Kid Chocolate) McGarrity trained young boxers, and Lilley organized local matches. He was admired for his skill at organizing the state Golden Gloves tournaments, which at times drew more than a thousand spectators a night. He was an associate of many of the big names in New Mexico Golden Gloves during its heyday – Stan Gallup, Sammy Burke, Bob Stevens, Willie Hall, Carlos Anaya.
Lilley continued his involvement with boxing by serving on the New Mexico State Athletic Commission from 1997-2000. Up until two years ago, he assisted in training boxers at New Mexico Military Institute.
Brooks Byrd was the product of the Clovis, New Mexico boxing system. Boxing in this small border town dominated the state in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Brooks trained in the same gym as Earl Large, Melvin Johnson, Pete Esquibel, Theodor Nance and Tony Romero all of whom won state titles and competed at the national level. To survive in that environment, one had to learn some basic skills fast or take up competitive Bridge. As an amateur Brooks won the National Golden Gloves title in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1967. Entering the tournament, Brooks had suffered a severe cut over his left eye in the state Golden Gloves and was questionable to move on to the next level. When he got to Milwaukee, the stitches were removed and makeup was used to hide the injury. Amazingly, doctors did not notice the cut and Brooks won three fights to win the Nationals. As a pro, Brooks was Ring Prospect of the Month and eventually would climb to 8th in the world rankings.
This year’s banquet is honoring Josh “Pitbull” Torres and Cristian “El Puma” Cabral for their “Fight of the Year” in 2018. This was one main event that lived up to the prefight hype, leaving the audience drained emotionally at the bout’s conclusion. Ring announcer Mike Adams whipped the audience into a frenzy as each boxer entered the ring. Chants of “Pitbull,” “Pitbull,” were answered by “El Puma,” “El Puma,” and the referee hadn’t even given his prefight instructions yet. There was no loser in this contest and that included the entire audience.