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Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame to induct 14, including Thomas Hearns

Former five-division world champion Thomas Hearns will headline the class of 14 honorees who will be inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame this summer.

The class was announced on Wednesday by NBHOF president and CEO Michelle Corrales-Lewis, the widow of former two-division world champion Diego "Chico" Corrales.

Hearns was selected in the non-Nevada resident boxer category along with former heavyweight champion brothers Michael and Leon Spinks, former four-division titleholder Erik Morales, former junior flyweight champion Michael Carbajal, women's star Lucia Rijker and the late featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez.

Elected in the Nevada resident boxer category was late former heavyweight titleholder Ken Norton and former bantamweight titleholder Richie Sandoval.

Chosen in the non-boxer category were late referee and judge Davey Pearl, public relations specialist Debbie Munch, late Las Vegas promoter Mel Greb, trainer/cut man Rafael Garcia and Dr. Elias Ghanem, the late Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman.

"We are very proud of this class of inductees, and it contains some of the greatest fighters who ever lived," Corrales-Lewis said. "I'm looking forward to our gala dinner when we can honor these richly deserving people and allow their fans to say hello."

The NBHOF, founded by boxing broadcaster Rich Marotta in 2013, will induct its fifth class at a dinner at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Aug. 12. Dinner tickets are available to the public and go on sale Thursday.

Hearns was one of boxing's biggest stars of the 1980s, and his round-robin of battles with Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran are among boxing's most famous. Many of his biggest fights were in Las Vegas.

The Spinks brothers become the first brothers elected to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. Both won gold medals for the United States at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and then went on to win world titles in the pros, Leon in an upset of Muhammad Ali and Michael as a light heavyweight and heavyweight.

Norton, known primarily for a series of close bouts with Ali, also competed in one of the greatest heavyweight title bouts ever, losing his belt by razor-thin decision to Larry Holmes in 1978 in Las Vegas.

Morales, one of Mexico's all-time greats, had many of his biggest fights in Las Vegas, including all three of his memorable battles with countryman Marco Antonio Barrera and all three of his fights with Manny Pacquiao.

Carbajal, the first junior flyweight to earn a $1 million purse, was a long-reigning champion, a 1988 U.S. Olympic silver medalist and is regarded by many as the best junior flyweight in boxing history.

Rijker is regarded as one of, if not the best, female boxers in history. Sanchez, who died at age 23 in 1982, was a dominant champion, and one of his most famous wins, against Wilfredo Gomez, was in Las Vegas. Sandoval held a bantamweight world title from 1984 to 1986 and was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic boxing team, but he lost his chance at a medal because of the American boycott of the Moscow Games. He now works for Top Rank in Las Vegas.

Pearl is one of the best referees in history, working more than 70 world title bouts, including Leon Spinks' shocking 1978 upset of Ali and Leonard's dramatic 14th-round knockout of Hearns in 1981.

Munch, a beloved figure, handled public relations for Caesars Palace, the epicenter for big fights in the 1980s and early 1990s. Greb, who died in 1996 at age 75, was known as "the father of professional boxing in Southern Nevada." He was a promoter and matchmaker who first brought Ali to Nevada.

Garcia, 87, has worked in boxing for most of his life and is best known in recent years as Floyd Mayweather's hand wrapper. But he had a long career as both a cut man and a trainer, working with fighters such as Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello and Gomez.

Ghanem oversaw the Nevada commission during the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson bouts and has helped lure major fights to Las Vegas, including the Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad bout in 1999.