The Rio Grande Valley Boxing Hall of Fame has announced it inaugural 2019 class of inductees.
They are Alfredo Gomez, of Brownsville, Andrew Maynard, of Harlingen, Dr. Benjamin Salinas, of Weslaco, and Heriberto “Beto” Carr and Tomas Barrientes, both of Mercedes.
The five men are to be honored at an induction ceremony/banquet at 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at McAllen’s Radisson Hotel in the Bluebonnet Ballroom.
“After three years of planning and talking to many people, including community leaders, this is a big load off our chest to see this event (finally) take place,” said Tom Lindsey, president of the RGV Boxing Hall of Fame and an amateur and professional boxing referee who lives in San Benito. “We’ve got a long way to go (before Nov. 17), but we are on our way. It’s been a great event (to put together).
“I’m speechless to see the quality of individuals we’re inducting,” Lindsey added. “This is a wonderful, wonderful time (for these inductees). The main thing is to give due credit to these individuals for what they’ve done for boxing in the Valley.
“What we’re doing by showing people the past (of Valley boxing through these inductees) is giving a light to the future. I hope we see a good turnout (on Nov. 17) in support of these first inductees. It’s a well-deserved honor for them. This is a boxing mecca here in the Valley, and this (establishing a boxing hall of fame) is something that can only grow.”
Also at the Nov. 17 event, a top male youth boxer, female youth boxer, coach and official from the amateur ranks for 2019 will be recognized.
Here is a brief summary of each inductee’s involvement in Valley boxing:
Beto Carr: Carr, 87, is a lifelong resident of Mercedes who has been involved as a coach, trainer and promoter of amateur boxing since 1977, which was when he opened his boxing gym in Mercedes.
He has put on amateur boxing shows for many years at the Mercedes Livestock Showgrounds. One of his former fighters was fellow inductee Tomas Barrientes.
“I’ve loved to work with kids (in boxing) throughout all these years,” Carr said.
Alfredo Gomez: Gomez, 83, is a longtime resident of Brownsville who came to the city with his family as an 8-month-old. He was a standout amateur boxer as a 17-year-old before graduating from Brownsville High in 1955. He fought at 106 pounds. Gomez gained a nickname of “Chicken” because his older sister was called “Chickie.” He was a successful Golden Gloves fighter who made multiple trips to the state tournament in Fort Worth. and won Golden Gloves regional titles in 1954, 1955 and 1957. He worked for Brownsville Flooring before opening his own business, Al’s Flooring Service, that he operated for approximately 30 years before retiring in 2001.
“This feels very good,” Gomez said. “It’s something I never expected.”
Andrew Maynard: A native of Maryland, Maynard, 55, has lived in Harlingen for more than 30 years. While he has been involved with amateur boxing in South Texas, his biggest claim to fame was winning the gold medal as a light heavyweight at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. As a pro, Maynard went 26-13-1 with 21 knockouts from 1989-2000.
Tomas Barrientes: Barrientes, 49, also a native of Mercedes, compiled a pro record of 27-11-1 with 17 KOs from 1989-2007. He fought as a super lightweight. In 2004, he won the International Boxing Association’s world super lightweight title. He started fighting as an amateur at age 8 in 1978. Altogether as an amateur and pro, he fought 34 years. He has a refrigeration business in Mercedes.
Dr, Benjamin A. Salinas — Salinas, 65, was raised in Pharr and now lives in Weslaco. He started his medical practice in the Valley in 1988. Dr. Salinas has worked ringside at Valley pro and amateur bouts for the better part of two decades. His medical practice has included offices in Mercedes and Weslaco, and for the past two years, he has served as a physician at the ICE detention center in Port Isabel.
“I wasn’t expecting this, and I think it’s a great honor,” Dr. Salinas said. “I am honored and blessed to be one of the first inductees. I especially enjoy being there (as the ringside doctor) for amateur fights and looking out for the kids to see they don’t get hurt. It’s very rewarding.”
For ticket information regarding the Nov, 17 induction banquet in McAllen, contact Tom Lindsey at (740) 352-7298.