Current Champions, Top Contenders, and Fighters to Watch Out For
by Adam Pollack
His fights with Lennox Lewis and Corrie Sanders fights have the public excited
about a heavyweight again. The guy can fight.
Letís see someone else take those left-hand bombs.
Toughness, chin, and heart are qualities very few heavies have shown lately, and
they earned him a win against Wladimir Klitschko. But Brewster didnít exactly
follow it up against Kali Meehan.
Still a dangerous, entertaining puncher, despite absence of chin, conditioning,
Huge guy with good conditioning. Donít count him out.
Defensive specialist; minimal offense means heíll never be dominant or
Was redeemed somewhat against Byrd, but always quits against punchers, which
Byrd is not.
His wins actually reduce opinions of him. Hugging and grabbing should not make a
Still a former champ with a good jab, heart, and some pop.
Canít box but still a huge puncher. Needs to get in the ring.
Still a test for most.
Showed some toughness in his last two, but that may have cost him his career,
which is TBA until more is known about his medical condition.
Good boxer and a test for anyone.
Against Tyson he showed a chin, heart, speed, good pop, conditioning, and good
combinations for a man that big.
Tougher than expected against Brewster.
Embarrassed by Wlad, but still okay in todayís division.
Keep in mind, his only heavy win was against a shot Evander Holyfield, and heís
coming off a long layoff as a result of injury. September 23 bout against Booker
might be more competitive and duller than most expect.
Still a dangerous puncher. No shame in losing to Williams.
Truly a cruiser, showed in the Mesi fight he can be a threat at heavy.
Former Golden Gloves champion. Pretty quick. Has recent wins over Arthur
Williams, Uriah Grant, and Art Jimmerson.
(17-0): Olympic gold medalist in 2000. Older guy, but big, tall, strong,
and fights southpaw. Has faced nobodies.
Calvin Brock (20-0):
Good amateur background, he was the 2000 U.S. Olympian and beat Dominick Guinn
in the amateurs. Win over undefeated Terry Smith was a bit of a step up. May
have some chin issues, but picks his punches well.
Juan Carlos Gomez (37-1):
After a long layoff, he got stopped by Yamplier Azcuy when caught cold. But
still donít entirely count him out. He has good speed, punches often, has good
footwork, and a difficult southpaw style.
Nicolai Valuev (37-0):
Good record but has been protected, fighting mostly nobodies. Needs to step it
up. Fact that he hasnít and is older than 30 says his people know something. How
often have 6-foot-10 heavyweights had a chin?
Samuel Peter (20-0):
Won his first test against Charles Shufford.
(25-1): Lost to Barrett but still a commodity in the wide-open division.
Looks to be one of the better cruiserweights in a while.
Could eventually make a great entertaining
fight with Braithwaite.
Jean Marc Mormeck:
Wins over Virgil Hill and Gurov.
Valery Brudov (28-0):
Good record but hasnít fought anyone.
Felix Cora, Jr. (10-0):
Recent bouts with Simms Jr. have put him on the map.
Heís the man now, but where does he go from
Roy Jones Jr.:
Ray Robinson dealt with losses. Can he? Scheduled September 25 bout with
experienced Glencoffe Johnson.
Recent win over Julio Gonzalez gives him the lineal title (Gonzalez beat
Michalczewski close). Solidified claim with close win over previously undefeated
Still a fun guy to watch.
Now maybe youíll come to America? Still a durable, hard puncher, but Gonzalezís
style was all wrong for him.
Hugo Garay (20-1):
Made it close with Erdei in losing majority
Rico Hoye (17-0): Recent knockout win
over Richard Hall.
At 37-0, simply the best at this weight. Should be a superstar but has not been
moved as well as he should be.
Just beat Anthony Mundine.
Beat Echols but has ironic KO loss to Sven Ottke, and just lost to Siaca.
Head case lost to Mundine, but still a big puncher who can make for an
entertaining fight with the right matchup.
Jeff Lacy (16-0):
Big punch but susceptible to being outboxed. Has hand problems.
Anthony Hanshaw (18-0):
Quick boxer but not much power. Lost to Jermain Taylor in the Olympic Trials.
Mikkel Kessler (34-0):
Recent wins over Dingaan Thobela and Julio Cesar Green.
The champ until someone takes it from him. Showed some age against
Oscar De La Hoya:
Will have to be at his best for Hopkins.
Lost to Jermaine Taylor in the 2000 Olympics. Fight with De La Hoya proved he
has the skill to hang with anyone.
Looks to have the right stuff.
Would be a better test than Joppy was.
Trinidad vs. Mayorga:
October 2 fight should be a great one and the winner should automatically become
a top contender. Questions are how much Trinidad has lost in long layoff,
particularly in regards to his chin and condition against a man who may test
both, and how effective Ricardo will be at a higher weight against a man as
strong as or stronger than him.
Tarvis Simms (19-0):
Hasnít fought anyone, but his brother just won a championship.
Kelly Pavlik (21-0):
Opposition not the best, but is a former top U.S. amateur and has a KO2 win over
Grady Brewer, who just defeated young contenders Anthony Thompson and Sechew
Jesus Gonzales (11-0):
Former top amateur southpaw is young and developing with the right manager in
Ronald ďWinkyĒ Wright:
Has finally proven heís the best at the weight thanks to gutsy Mosley giving him
Should consider going back to 147 or getting a better manager. Canít figure why
he thinks he can defeat Wright in rematch. Will have to completely overhaul game
plan if he expects to win.
Has earned a shot. His entertaining style matches well with anyone.
Proved toughness in bout with Antonio Margarito.
Switch-hitter coming off impressive win over former undefeated Alejandro Garcia
for WBA crown.
Paul Williams (23-0):
Tall southpaw looks to have some potential.
Peter Manfredo, Jr. (21-0):
Fairly protected; best wins a 2002 KO7 over shot Frankie Randall, and í04 KO
over then 17-0 Sherwin Davis, who had KO win over former 2000 Olympian Dante
Craig. Manfredo is coming off a win over Anthony Bonsante.
Marco Antonio Rubio (23-0-1):
Lately making a name for himself.
Yuri Foreman (14-0):
Pretty good, intelligent amateur boxer, just getting started as a pro, but not
Slick but somewhat stinky style will be tough for anyone to beat. Looked pretty
good against an aging Gonzalez, but still couldnít get a knockout.
Still a good boxer and a threat to anyone, Spinks included.
Title opportunity was well past due, so he moved up to 154 and lost questionable
decision to Santos. This guy is tall, strong, and a very busy, nonstop puncher.
Blew it against Spinks.
Kermit Cintron (24-0):
May be the next Trinidad. Entertaining, hard puncher.
Ishe Smith (14-0):
Solid in all departments, but might lack that something special.
Thomas Damgaard (34-0):
Good record, but at 32, this southpaw might need to make his move quickly.
The great champ who might finally be defeated by injuries and inactivity.
Sharmba Mitchell has been keeping sharp and active.
Willing to take on anyone; credit him for that.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.:
Would like to see if he can take a punch at this weight. Have to give it up to
him for fighting DeMarcus Corley, who could have spelled trouble for him.
The guy who has given the most to the sport;
always dangerous against anyone.
Looks to have the right stuff and is coming along well.
Donít forget about this guy. Has improved and can punch too, despite lone loss
to Ray Oliveira.
Tough as nails, hard worker, a heart tester
who will make you earn it.
Win over Francisco Bojado puts him up there again.
Miguel Cotto (21-0):
Moving along nicely; can box and punch, looks to be the real deal. Overcame
tests in former champ Bazan, undefeated Maussa, NíDou (who previously gave
Mitchell hell) and previously undefeated amateur nemesis Pinto.
Mohamed Abdulaev (14-1):
Still strong, very entertaining style; only loss a fight he had won easily until
stopped in the last round.
Demetrius Hopkins (15-0-1):
Young boxer moving along carefully.
David Diaz (25-0):
Southpawís career has moved slowly, but coming off wins over Gallardo, Augustus
and Ener Julio.
Antonio Mesquita (30-0):
Good record, but at 31, needs to step it up.
Paul Malignaggi (18-0):
Probably lacks sufficient power in todayís deep field.
Wins over Joel Casamayor and Acelino Freitas redeemed him.
Jose Luis Castillo:
Still a tough dude, as he proved against Juan Lazcano.
Guy can punch like hell, but moved too much against Diego.
Busy puncher who stays in range can be good match for anyone.
Entertaining, aggressive, active style, always comes to fight in shape; looked
good against Lavka Sim. Question will be his chin against the top dogs.
Still a threat to anyone.
Jose Miguel Cotto (24-0):
Just starting to step up the competition.
Jose Armando Santa Cruz (17-0):
Tall lightweight still developing.
Koba Gogaladze (15-0):
Coming off win over Lamar Murphy.
Urbano Antillon (13-0):
Seen on HBO Latino against Adan Hernandez, still developing.
Always in a good fight. Rubber match with Barrera should be excellent.
Marco Antonio Barrera:
Never count out this veteran.
Shocker win against Campbell.
Still a good fighter, but needs to pay attention at all times.
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai:
Coming off win over Steve Forbes. Has wins over Lakva Sim and Lamont Pearson.
Mike Anchondo (25-0):
Short stature, good punch, seems wild.
Jason Litzau (11-0):
Former amateur just getting started.
Dream match with Marquez was excellent. Could there be a rematch?
Juan Manuel Marquez:
Overcame tendency to choke and get conservative against the better fighters;
proved his skill and will in gritty performance against the Pac man.
Entertaining, durable fighter.
WBA champ needs more exposure.
Rocky Juarez (21-0):
Olympic silver medalist coming along, but recent close ones shows he needs more
experience before moving to the top.
Steven Luevano (24-0):
Former top amateur southpaw improving, but lacks power.
Roberto Guerrero (13-0-1):
Tall southpaw coming off win over Enrique Sanchez.
Entertaining fighter on very good win streak since last loss to Jorrin, which he
avenged by KO1.
Lost to Larios, but wins over Jorge Julio and Jose Luis Valbuena have earned him
Joan Guzman (21-0):
Strong as a bull, entertaining hard puncher. Good win over Agapito Sanchez.
Jose Aguiniga (24-0):
Entertaining and improving.
Ricardo Cordoba (22-0):
Young southpaw may be one to watch.
Awesome and entertaining, can box and punch. One of the best pound-for-pound
Unbeaten since 1996; could be the test for Marquez.
Silence Mabuza (16-0):
Power puncher is untested.
Steve Molitor (19-0):
Southpaw coming off win over Hugo Dianzo, but lacks power.
Daniel Ponce De Leon (20-0):
Gabriel Elizondo (17-0):
Awesome fight with Donaire in 2001 proved he has skill and heart. Weakness is
lack of power.
Mike Oliver (6-0):
Beginning career but was pretty good amateur.
Someone help him get fights.
Like Zaragoza, old vet in defeating Montiel proved he still has a few good ones
Deserves shot after getting ripped off against Machado.
Still a talented fighter despite loss to Johnson.
WBC champ undefeated since 1997, has wins over Penalosa.
Good record and powerful but hasnít fought anyone.
Dream matchups could be against Johnson or Montiel. Lone loss questionable.
Beat Machado twice.
Coming off KO rematch win over Masamori Tokuyama, who was unbeaten since 1997.
Jose Navarro (20-0):
Good amateur with solid skill but lacks strength or speed.
Luis Maldonado (28-0):
Needs to step it up but appears to have some pop.
Close win over former undefeated Morel to win the title. Can box and has some
pop. Recently defeated former champ Yosam Choi.
Undefeated IBF champ.
At 52-2, heís the most experienced fly, and this WBC champion southpaw hasnít
been defeated since 1996.
Vic Darchinyan (21-0):
At 29, southpaw stepping it up against
Brahim Asloum (16-0):
Former 2000 gold medalist moving along.
Brian Viloria (15-0):
Good power, entertaining; moving along nicely.
Omar Narvaez (16-0-2):
Southpaw, at 28, needs to step it up.
Glenn Donaire (12-1):
Good boxer coming off KO win over Melchor Cob Castro; won title with KO win over
Yo-Sam Choi, who defeated Saman Sorjaturong (who defeated Humberto Gonzalez).
Arceís last loss was in a great 1999 fight with Michael Carbajal. Arce was
leading on the cards but stopped in the 11th round.
Still a tough one and gave Ricardo Lopez his toughest fights, but problem has
been inconsistency. Coming off draw with Burgos.
Three tough and close ones with Alvarez shows heís still a threat. Last defeated
Coming off KO win over Alex Sanchez and draw
with Alvarez, but so-so results before that.
Coming off KO wins over Leyva and Cardenas.
Just beat Aguirre for the WBC crown.
Just defeated veteran Noel Arambulet
Has loss to Arambulet; win and draw against Chana Porpaoin. Has scheduled 10-30
bout with Niida.
Ivan Calderon (20-0):
Undefeated southpaw lacks power but defeated Alex Sanchez and Edgar Cardenas and
Roberto Leyva recently.
Rodel Mayol (18-0):
Good power for a little guy.