Class of 2015


Arnold “Arnie” Bayer was born in Hartford on September 29, 1937 to Jack and Tillie Bayer. From the time he was a small child, Arnie worked in the family business, Bayer’s Milk. Riding the delivery trucks, he learned the name of every street in Hartford before he reached kindergarten. Arnie continued to work nights and weekends in the dairy well into adulthood. In his spare time, he loved going to the fights in New York City with his uncles.

Arnie Bayer graduated from Bulkley High School and went on to the University of Connecticut where he met his future wife, Judith Nason, with whom he had two daughters, Teri and Melissa.

After graduating from the UConn School of Law in 1961, Arnie established himself in private practice in Hartford and on a part time basis, became one of the state’s first public defenders.

He went on to forge the partnership of Bayer, Odlum and Scheinblum with his dear friends Peter Odlum and Howard Scheinblum. The firm has evolved into Bayer, Odlum and Hyde.

Through his work in the court system, Arnie became great friends with Julius “Johnny Duke” Gallucci, boxing manager and director of the Bellevue Square Boxing Club in the north end of Hartford. Duke reignited Arnie’s love of boxing. The two formed a great team combining Duke’s decades of experience in boxing with Arnie’s organizational skills and financial support. Together the two trained professional boxers such as “Superb Herb” Darity and Hector “Cuchi” Ortiz. They also enjoyed spending time in and out of the gym with the young amateur fighters. The BSBC family traveled together throughout New England, New York and New Jersey.

Tragically, on December 4, 1983, while taking a group of young fighters out for Sunday breakfast, as he did every week, Arnie Bayer was killed in a traffic accident.


Lou DiBella may be a boxing promoter based out of New York, but his affinity for Connecticut has become clear through the years.

Not only did he bring a number of quality boxing cards to the Nutmeg State, DiBella bought the Connecticut Defenders, an AA minor league baseball team that played in Norwich.

A former head of boxing programming for HBO Sports, DiBella created and orchestrated the highly successful series, “Boxing After Dark.”

DiBella is the founder and CEO of DiBella Entertainment based in New York. Among the fighters DiBella has been involved with include former WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, former middleweight world champions Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins, former junior welterweight contender Paulie Malignaggi, and former WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto.


The name Shelly Finkel was well known in Connecticut before he ever got involved in the sport of boxing. Back in the 1960s and 70s, it was common to hear on the radio commercials touting a concert that was “A Jim Koplik-Shelly Finkel production.’’

After his success in the music business, Finkel tried his hand at boxing promotion and managing. He found success there as well. He managed such prominent fighters as Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Mike McCallum and Alex Ramos.

Finkel received the Boxing Writers Association of America Manager of the Year award in 1990 and 1993. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.

Finkel currently serves as the chairman of strategy and development for SFX Entertainment.


The 1940s and 50s are still considered by many to be the glory days of boxing, and Carey

Mace was a prominent presence during that era. Mace fought in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was a member of Willie Pep’s stable, and Pep was part of the first CBHOF induction class in 2005. Mace at one time was the eighth ranked welterweight in the world.

Mace finished his career with a 72-18-2 record. His last bout was in 1962, a loss to CBHOF member Gaspar Ortega. The fight was in Mexico. Mace’s most notable win came in 1950 when he stopped former champion Joey Giardello.

Mace was born in Hartford, where he fought several times early in his career. He was living in Manchester when he passed away at the age of 73 in 2003.


There is perhaps no higher compliment that can be paid to the late George Russo then when he is referred to as the “Johnny Duke of Southern Connecticut.”

Duke, part of the CBHOF class of 2005, was a Hartfordbased trainer who was nationally known.

Russo is a legend in Bridgeport where he became well known for running gyms like Red Man’s Hall, the Acorn Club, and East Washington Avenue.

Russo produced many fine amateurs, and, in 1992, brought boxing back after a decade-long absence to the old Police Athletic League building in Bridgeport. Russo was considered one of the finest amateur trainers in New England.

Russo was also a fighter from 1922-34. He had 85 pro bouts, winning roughly 60. He was born in Springfield, but moved to Bridgeport when he was 6. Springfield’s loss turned out to be Bridgeport’s gain.


Back in the early 1960s when he was an esteemed boxing writer for Sports Illustrated, the late Mort Sharnik had an observation about heavyweight champion Sonny Liston that still reverberates through the boxing world today.

“His hands look like cannonballs,’’ Sharnik said.

As if working for Sports Illustrated wasn’t prestigious enough, Sharnik would wear many hats while connected to the sport. He was the director of boxing programming for CBS. He was an advisor and one of the few believers in George Foreman when the heavyweight champion from the 1970s reinvented himself in the 1990s.

But some of Sharnik’s best work came when he was an advisor to former world welterweight champion Marlon Starling.

“Mort was like a big brother and a father to me,” Starling recalled. “Mort was one of those guys you could depend on.” Sharnik, a longtime Norwalk resident, would no doubt, be thrilled to know he will be alongside Starling again in the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.


Foxwoods Resort Casino helped keep boxing alive when it first opened in 1992, and Peter Timothy was a big reason why.

Timothy was the commissioner of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal National from 1995 to 2009. The late John Burns who was a founder and inductee of the CBHOF mentored him.

During his tenure at Foxwoods, Timothy regulated hundreds of fights and more than 90 title bouts. Two of the biggest fights at Foxwoods during his tenure was John Ruiz vs. Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title and James Toney vs. Vasily Jurov for the cruiserweight championship.

Other big names who ventured into Connecticut to fight at Foxwoods while Timothy was commissioner include Roy Jones Jr., Diego Corrales, Shane Mosley, Acelino Freitas, Dana Rosenblatt, Peter Manfredo and Lawrence Clay-Bey.