James “Buddy” McGirt
Induction Year: 1992
McGirt is a former professional boxer who competed from 1982-1997. He was a world champion in two different weight classes, having held the IBF junior welterweight title in 1988 and the WBC and lineal welterweight titles from 1991-1993. He is also an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
McGirt’s aspirations of becoming a professional boxer started at a young age, debunking all criticisms that he was too small and saying that he would be the first world champion from Long Island. He turned professional in the year 1983, the year he graduated from Brentwood High School.
In 1988, he defeated Frankie Warren to win the IBF light welterweight title, but lost the title to Meldrick Taylor in his second defense in a technical knockout. This was the only loss of his career.
He defeated Simon Brown in Las Vegas in November 1991 to win the Lineal and WBC welterweight titles. Known as one of the hardest punches in the division, Brown was favored to win the fight 5 to 1. This reputation stemmed from his 28 knockouts in 36 wins.
At the beginning of 1993, McGirt was ranked the world’s top 147-pound boxer, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. However, he lost the title to Pernell Whitaker that year and lost again in a rematch in an attempt to regain the title.
He retired in 1997 with a 73-6-1 record with 48 knockouts. His career wins are greater than those of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Thomas Hearns. The following year, he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.
Following retirement, he became a trainer and worked with many up-and-coming young fighters who later on became world champions, including Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, Hasim Rahman, Paulie Malignaggi, and Sergey Kovalev. The Boxing Writers Association of America named him Trainer of the Year in 2002.
Buddy McGrit is known as one of the greatest fighters pound for pound. According to Daily News boxing expert, Michael Katz, he is “purely the best”.