Ishe Smith, the first native Las Vegan to win a world title in that city’s storied pugilistic history, will join longtime cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran, former welterweight champion Zab Judah and champions-turned-commentators Timothy Bradley and Shawn Porter among the inductees to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame this August. 

For Smith, who retired in 2019 with a record of 29-11 (12 KOs), the news is vindication for a life and career that has been consistent in its turbulence. A highly touted prospect who was one of the early stars of the ShoBox franchise on Showtime, he was a participant in the first season of "The Contender." But despite being one of the favorites going in, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals via decision defeat by Sergio Mora.

Thereafter, Smith’s career began a downward slope, with a series of frustrating decision losses to the likes of Sechew Powell, Joel Julio and Fernando Guerrero. By 2009, Smith was so disillusioned and downbeat that he contemplated suicide. But in 2013, he outpointed Cornelius Bundrage to win the IBF 154-pound strap, collapsing to the canvas in floods of tears after the scores were announced. 

The turmoil was not over: He would lose his belt in his first defense and would lose five of his final nine contests. Worse yet, in 2017, his ex-wife and the mother of his three children, Latoya Woollen, was shot dead in a random murder after exiting a grocery store. 

But all that trauma faded into the background on Thursday, when Smith received the phone call that would tell him he was being inducted as part of the NVBHOF’s 2024 class. 

“The poor little kid who started boxing because he was bullied growing up ... who was told he was never gonna be shit, is headed to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame,” Smith announced on his Facebook page.

With his election, Smith joins the likes of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez and his old friend Diego Corrales in the Nevada Hall, which was founded in 2013 by boxing journalist and broadcaster Rich Marotta

“I’m always excited to welcome the new classes of inductees into our Hall,” said NVBHOF President Michelle Corrales-Lewis. “Celebrating their accomplishments is something very near and dear to my heart. All of these great boxing figures have made strong contributions to the Silver State’s reputation as ‘Boxing Capitol’ of the World.” 

Among the other inductees in the 2023 and 2024 classes, who will be inducted simultaneously at an August 10 gala and fundraiser at the Orleans Casino, are former heavyweight champions Michael Moorer and Lamon Brewster, fighter and trainer Ann Wolfe and Marvin Camel, the first Native American to win a world title when he took the inaugural WBC cruiserweight belt against Mate Parlov in Las Vegas in 1980. 

"I'm very excited about the diversity of our 2023-24 Inductees,” Marotta told BoxingScene. “Marvin Camel becomes the first Native-American inductee in the NVBHOF. Two fantastic women boxers will be honored, Ann Wolfe and Layla McCarter. Two Mexican heroes, Rafael Marquez and Jorge Arce, as well as Australian great Kostya Tszyu. Then, of course, the full array of great champions who are all well-known to boxing fans. Also, pleased to honor some of those who fly under the radar, although they've been very important contributors to the Nevada boxing community."