(Dec. 5, 2018) — Top Rank is proud to announce that Lee Samuels, the company’s chief publicist for nearly four decades, will be inducted as part of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) Class of 2019 in Canastota, N.Y.
Samuels is only the second publicist to receive this honor following his mentor and former Top Rank public relations chief, Irving Rudd, who was inducted as part of the Class of 1999. Samuels is the fifth member of the Top Rank family to receive boxing’s highest honor, joining Rudd, Founder and CEO Bob Arum (1999), longtime matchmaker Bruce Trampler (2010), and the late matchmaker Teddy Brenner (1993).
The IBHOF Induction Weekend will take place June 6-9.
“This is a tremendous honor, the biggest in the sport of boxing,” Samuels said. “Bob Arum hired me in 1983 to be part of a new ESPN Thursday night boxing series. Todd duBoef, our president, personally helped my family when we needed it the most and kept us going. It’s incredible for me to join Top Rank’s greatest publicist, Irving Rudd, in the Hall of Fame. I love interacting with media from all parts of the world. There is no night like fight night and being with the writers and our Top Rank family on press row. I would like to thank all of the great champions, contenders and prospects I’ve worked with throughout the years. You have all made this possible.”
“For decades, Lee Samuels has been outstanding in disseminating information about boxers and boxing to the public around the world,” Arum said. “He truly deserves the honor of being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.”
“There are few individuals more deserving of this honor than Lee Samuels,” Trampler said. “I am honored to have known him for decades as a friend and a colleague. Welcome to Canastota, Lee!”
A native of Pennsville, N.J., Samuels cut his teeth as a sports writer at the Courier-Post and the old Philadelphia Bulletin. At the Bulletin in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he covered many of the sport’s leading lights, including Muhammad Ali’s historic victory over Leon Spinks on Feb. 15, 1978 in Las Vegas. After the Bulletin shuttered its doors, Samuels joined the Top Rank team, working out of an office in Atlantic City but spending most of his days on the road.
Three years into his Top Rank tenure, Arum dispatched Samuels to the Canyon Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., where he headed up publicity as Marvelous Marvin Hagler prepared to defend his middleweight world title against Sugar Ray Leonard. Since the days of Hagler, Samuels has helped tell the stories of the world’s leading pugilistic superstars, including Manny Pacquiao, Thomas Hearns, Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Michael Carbajal, Donald Curry, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Timothy Bradley, Terence Crawford, Vasiliy Lomachenko, and Erik Morales.
From Leonard vs. Hagler and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, to De La Hoya vs. Chavez I and II and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, Samuels has been an integral part of many of the biggest fights of the 20th and 21st centuries. Come June, boxing’s nicest guy will take his rightful place among the sport’s all-time greats.