BUFFALO - During the height of his career, Tonawanda heavyweight "Baby" Joe Mesi was referred to as the "third franchise."

His popularity rose to be close to that of the Bills and Sabres when he was a top heavyweight contender. His career spanned from 1997 to 2007. He finished with a 36-0 record, with 29 coming by knockout.

Mesi's career ended due to a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain) and his license was suspended for health reasons.

Tuesday night, he was the headline member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2018.

Class of 2018 (Courtesy:GBSHOF) :

  • Werner “Babe” Birrer (D) – Major League and Buffalo Bison pitcher
  • Bill Bradshaw – Highly acclaimed college administrator
  • Gina Castelli – Canisius College standout hoopster and college coach
  • John Faller – Champion Sweet Home football and lacrosse coach
  • James Hewson (D) – Track and field Olympian
  • Marv Hubbard (D) – Three-time NFL All-Pro fullback
  • “Baby” Joe Mesi – Golden Gloves Champion and undefeated heavyweight boxer
  • Lonnie Nielsen – PGA golfer and senior tour champion
  • Barry Smith – Legendary NHL coach, administrator, Stanley Cup champion
  • Louise, Estelle & Mary Weigel (D) – Figure skating champions
  • Jimmy Williams & Rickey Williams – College and professional basketball standouts
  • Jeff Yeates – NFL player and college football standout