The CyberBoxingZone News
Churchwell Loss Continues Disturbing Trend of Tennessee Boxers
|By David L. Hudson, Jr.
Another fighter with a glossy record from Tennessee recently
stepped up in competition and lost. When will this disturbing
trend stop? To those of us learned boxing fans in the
Volunteer State, which I count myself, the pattern is all too
Power punching lightweight Terrance Churchwell showed his
remarkable power against tough Jose Antonio Ramirez on the Stevie
Johnston-Jose Luis Castillo
ESPN2 undercard on Friday September 14.
Churchwell, who possesses one punch kayo power in either hand,
floored Ramirez in the first round but couldn't finish the tough
Dominican. Ramirez finished Churchwell in the third round of a
remarkably high-energy battle.
Though the action was nonstop, the fight showed the importance of
fighting decent competition - an undeniable fact that seems to be
lost on boxers and
their handlers in Tennessee.
Churchwell, who sported an impressive amateur career, entered the
Ramirez fight with a record of 18-0 with 14 knockouts. However,
the first 15 of those fights took place in Nashville against a
string of journeyman and outright tomato cans.
From Oct. 30, 1996, until December 2, 1997, Churchwell racked up
week after win. In September 1997, he fought four times alone.
Then, in December 1997, Churchwell fought the one and only Reggie
Strickland who outweighed him by at least 10-15 pounds.
Strickland, who has nearly 300
career pro bouts (and who deserves a book written about his
career), arguably beat Churchwell in a close four-rounder.
Then, inexplicably Churchwell did not fight again until April of
this year. Allegedly he was embroiled in a bitter contract dispute
with his former manager.
Whatever the real reason, local fight fans in Tennessee were
dismayed at seeing their fighter sidelined. Then, earlier this
year, Churchwell resurfaced in Nevada adding three more impressive
His power is undeniable. "Man, Churchwell has real
power," said local middleweight Brent Cooper, who used to
spar with Churchwell in Nashville. "Fighters didn't want to
spar with him because he hit so hard. Even guys that outweighed
him by 20 pounds didn't want any part of him."
However, the quality of his opposition remained questionable. His
first fight back was against a Jose Luis Limones, a fighter with a
losing record. Then, he faced 39-year-old Javier Lucas whose first
pro bout took place in 1979 - when Churchwell was 2 years old.
In his last bout prior to the clash with Ramirez, he faced Jose
Luis Baltazar, a fighter with a record of 28-18-1. None of
these three opponents made it out of the 2nd round.
Last Friday, Ramirez almost didn't either. Churchwell blasted him
with sledgehammer right hands. Yet, Ramirez, one tough customer,
fought back and hit Churchwell more in one round than he'd been
hit in his entire pro career.
Part of the difference, as the ESPN announcers pointed out, was
that the 15-2-4 Ramirez had faced much tougher opposition. Ramirez
had gone the 12-round distance four times against tough
Churchwell couldn't handle it when he fought a guy that (barely}
survived his punching power. Hopefully, he will train hard and
rebound from the devastating defeat.
Unfortunately, numerous fighters who pad their records in
Tennessee against limited competition fail when they step up in
Junior welterweight Theo Elmore racked nearly thirty wins against
inferior competition before failing in his television fight. Local
heavyweights Frankie Wood and Joey Guy also lost when they took
fights against contenders.
Hopefully, undefeated middleweight Jonathan "Reid Dawg"
Reid, who is now 26-0, can change the disturbing pattern.
The lesson from the Churchwell-Ramirez fight is quite simple:
fight quality opposition before taking a major step up in