My Candidate for Manager of the Year: Cameron Dunkin
Adam J. Pollack
You will not hear from or see him very often, and probably
most of you have no idea who he is. Cameron Dunkin is a behind the scenes guy
who is perhaps the most effective boxing manager in the business. His resume
includes world champion names like Stevie Johnston, Diego Corrales, Johnny
Tapia, Danny Romero, Marc Johnson, and Eric Morel.
The key to being a great manager is knowing how to move the
fighter along so that he not only maximizes his long term economic prospects,
but also so that he learns the game, isn’t overmatched, and is positioned to
obtain a title shot and be best prepared to able to win it. To me, the best
manager gets the most out of a fighter, regardless of talent. A good manager can
handle a super talent. A great manager can get a title shot or a title for a guy
without a great deal talent, but who learns the trade and is brought along well.
That is the beauty of Dunkin. He is a guy who gets title shots and often title
victories for guys who, at the start of their careers, were not necessarily
predicted to do so.
Cameron Dunkin does a beautiful job at getting his
prospects the experience they need to win a title, and protects them in the
early years while they are still learning. A lot of his fighters who are
undefeated or who have only one or two losses could easily have multiple losses
in other manager’s hands. Some of his champions, in the hands of another
manager, could easily have been nothing more than journeymen.
Guys who are and were champions were not household names
when Dunkin first took them from the amateurs and groomed them into the finished
product with which we are all familiar. Consider Diego Corrales. How many of you
would have predicted the type of career that he had when he was an amateur back
in 1996? He did not come out the amateurs a big heralded star. He was not an
Olympian. Hell, a lot of folks did not even think he was going to beat Robert
Garcia when he first won the junior lightweight title. But Dunkin has the eye,
and knows how to develop and move fighters. He has the patience to bring them
along slowly and properly, and not rush them. Oh, and take a look at Corrales’
record after he and Dunkin parted ways.
All you need to do is look at the position some of his
fighters are in today and you will realize that Dunkin simply has it. Kelly
Pavlik was unheralded coming out of the amateurs. Today he is a 31-0 knockout
artist, a fan favorite exciting #1 contender who just impressively knocked out
Edison Miranda on HBO, and is going to get a title shot. Win or lose against
Taylor, there is no denying that Dunkin moved and positioned Pavlik beautifully,
and Kelly is going to make a lot of money in his career.
Nonito Donaire – 18-1. In a brilliant performance, he just
knocked out the undefeated 28-0 IBF world flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan, the
big bad monster that was knocking everyone out. There is no denying it now that
Donaire has learned his craft very well and got the experience that he needed to
be prepared to do what he did. He did it looking very good.
Steven Luevano – 33-1. He just went to England and stopped
27-0 Nicky Cook for the vacant WBO featherweight title. Here is a guy who was
moved along well over the years, and got the experience that he needed in order
to step it up in the big one. How many would have predicted this?
Victor Ortiz – 18-1-1 – This is one of the hottest
prospects in the business today. Win or lose, this kid is a whole lot of fun to
watch, and in Dunkin’s hands, is likely to win a world title at some point. He
has been on Telefutura and Showtime, and I cannot wait to see him again.
You can really tell a great manager when he even manages to
move fighters who are not necessarily guys you would pick to have undefeated
records. Jose Aguiniga is 31-0 and has been televised on Telefutura a number of
times. I guarantee that in another manager’s hands, this kid could easily have a
lot of losses.
Here is another sign of a good manager – when he can get
his fighter a bunch of fights and paydays when he is not even that entertaining.
I cannot stand watching Zahir Raheem! I hate watching him and root for him to
get knocked out every time I see him. This was a guy who got knocked out in the
Olympics, and probably not too many managers wanted to touch him. Yet, Dunkin
miraculously got him to 28-2, has got him on HBO three times, including a
victory over Erik Morales and close losses to Rocky Juarez and Acelino Freitas,
and he was recently on ESPN. Raheem is a boring fighter who is going to make far
more money with Dunkin than he would otherwise have done with anyone else.
Dunkin has the golden touch.
Not every one of his Dunkin’s fighters is going to make it.
But in his hands, they have a higher probability. Cameron Dunkin is having a
stellar year, with guys doing well who many would not necessarily expect to be
in the positions that they currently are, and he deserves some credit for it.