Since the late 1950’s,
Las Vegas has remained the undisputed boxing capital of the world. Like many of the sport’s champions, the state of Nevada has resiliently held onto its title by, “highlighting some of the greatest bouts of all time since, the Jack Johnson days and has brought billions of dollars to the State of Nevada; primarily the city of Las Vegas,” mentions the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame President Michelle Corrales-Lewis. This is a core reason the NVBHOF is anchored in Vegas.
The registered 501(c)3 nonprofit was founded in late 2012 by four time Emmy award winning Hall of Fame boxing announcer, Rich Marotta. In October 2016, the NVBHOF appointed the widow of former two-division boxing champion Diego “Chico” Corrales as the President to execute its mission. During our interview over lunch at TC’s Rib Crib, she articulates its mission: “to protect the history of boxing in Nevada, support champions of the present, assist the amateurs/youth of today, and preserve the history of yesterday.” In practice,
Corrales-Lewis spends her days visiting local boxing gyms, in-need boxing professionals and their families, attending any boxing related programs or causes, while running the organization and planning its events.
“We try to bless as many people as we can, as well as support others missions,” says
Corrales-Lewis. “Yet, there are a lot of families and programs we aren’t able to reach because our funds are stretched thin.” This year, NVBHOF desires to implement fundraising programs to raise additional financial support needed to help the boxing community. Corrales-Lewis explains, “We don’t get the support people think. People think every boxer is paid [well] and promoter or big fighter is donating to the cause, but they are not. In boxing, you’re only as good as your last fight. Afterwards, these boxers are forgotten about. There are so many champions in need of medical assistance or even a place to stay, but because of their celebrity status, people look at the champ and don’t recognize he’s having a hard time. In reality, he may not have anything to eat.”
Boxing is the only major league nonunion sports organization. Their athletes are not protected from the wiles of celebrity. To raise funds and increase awareness, the NVBHOF hosts events, including but not limited to: Fight Night with a Champ, cocktail parties, and tickets are now available for their upcoming Annual Gala which be held on August 12th, 2017 at Caesar’s Palace. Additionally, Corrales-Lewis would like to create opportunities to assist members of the boxing community like revenue sharing through retail sales.
“Boxing is a family and to sustain a healthy relationship with its members, whether professional or amateur boxers, announcers, cut-men, referee, promoters, and/or family members, it’s important for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame to be in Las Vegas and have a home for the family and fans to visit and call their own.”
Corrales-Lewis signifies as the purpose behind the NVBHOF seeking a permanent Vegas location for a boxing museum. “In addition to providing classes expanded on the commission’s offerings, the location would give fight-fans somewhere to visit, locally outside of an event and a reason to come back,” describes
Corrales-Lewis. Let’s help NVBHOF give our champions a home in their capital city.