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Contender or destined to lose? 

Author: John Tandy


image There are a number of fighters in the game today who are regarded as top prospects, some however my not be as good as people might think, lets have a look at some of the top prospects and see who are true contenders and who are destined to lose.

To qualify you must be unbeaten, 25 years or younger and not have been involved in a world title fight.

James De la Rosa - 19-0 (12)

21 year old welterweight James De La Rosa already has a couple of decent wins under his belt, against the likes of Abel Perry who he knocked out with a huge left hook marking his first defeat, James Webb and formerly undefeated Tim Coleman. He is still a little green, jumping in with his shots, he rushes a little and hangs his chin out more than he should, but he has tremendous hand speed and decent power and as long as he devolves his ability I think he can be a real force in the division in the years to come.

Verdict - Future Contender

Denis Boytsov - 25-0 (20)

Heavyweight Boytsov’s style reminds me a little of the way Mike Tyson used to fight, the problem is he just doesn’t carry the same sort of power, and for someone his size (6’1 and 220lbs) things might prove just too tough for him at the top. I think if there was a division in which the top weight was 220lbs I think there wouldn’t be many who get the better of Boytsov, but unfortunately the heavyweight division is ruled by the dinosaurs these days and the smaller skilful guys like Boytsov, will always struggle, no matter how good they are. Boytsov has come through every test so far with flying colors, however I think defeat will be just around the corner, he is only 23 years old and for a heavyweight that is very young, so it maybe some time before they decide to pitch him in with the like of the Klitschko’s. I think he will hold his own against other fringe contenders but will fall short at the top.

Verdict - Destined to Lose

Nathan Cleverly 17-0 (7)

Light Heavyweight Cleverly has been moved along nicely by his management, he has already faced a couple of decent tests against the like of Tony Oakey, and has already picked up the British and Commonwealth titles. At 22 years old he has plenty of time to fill into his 6’3 frame and become a lot stronger at the weight, he will need to if he is going to compete at the top level. He has good hand speed, decent power and a good boxing brain, but I think he will fall short when stepping up to the highest level. I have a few doubts over his chin and also how he will deal with a strong opponent when he is really pressed. I think he has a few more fights in him at a decent level but unless he is matched safely I think he will fall short.

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Marcus Johnson 17-0 (14)

In a very hot super middleweight division 23 year old Johnson has a lot of improving to do in order for him to reach the top, he is very stiff and robotic, he leaves his chin hanging out and struggles off the back foot. When someone allows him to come forward and do his thing he looks very strong, but so far he has only faced fighters who have allowed this to happen. He looks in great shape but I think he maybe another one who just hasn’t got what it takes to be one of the top fighters in the world. We will hopefully soon see him stepping up in class, but I think there are a lot of quality fighters in the division that will cause him real problems

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Fernando Guerrero 15-0 (13)

Short power punching Guerrero has already been walking around like he is a world champion, in his home town of Maryland he is being billed that it is only a matter of time before he is crowned as a champion, and he has already topped a number of home town shows, and certainly draws a crowd. However I think he is too small to be a super middleweight, he is more of a light middleweight. His only real test to date has been tough Philly fighter Gabriel Rosedo who gave him absolute hell in their bout knocking Guerrero down in the 3rd round of that contest and pressed him very hard before gassing out to the bigger man. From what I have seen of Guerrero I think he is very cocky and arrogant and I think that might be his downfall. He already thinks he is the best but is yet to be really tested, I think he is too easy to hit, don’t get me wrong he is a good fighter and has great power but you have to walk the walk before talking the talk, I think he might have that a little mixed up. If he can get himself to light middleweight he has a great chance at that weight but I am not convinced he has the dedication or is willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Daniel Jacobs 18-0 (15)

Danny Jacobs has exploded onto the scene fighting an amazing 12 times in 2008, he has since progressed to 10 rounder contests and has already fought 5 times this year, an incredible 17 times in just over 18 months. He has been dubbed as a puncher but I think he is a much more intelligent fighter than that, he adapted his style recently to fight tough gate keeper Ishe Smith, when he refused to load up on his shots and relied on a incredibly high work rate to beat Smith, knowing full well that Smith had never been stopped before. My only concern with Jacobs is his chin, he was caught a few times in the Ishe Smith fight and was wobbled, Smith is not regarded as a big puncher, however he did recover well and fight back. I think in order to beat Jacobs many will need to stop him as they will just not be able to live with his work rate. From what I have seen so far I think Jacobs looks like a great prospect and if matched correctly will go all the way.

Prediction - Future Contender

Vanes Martirosyan 25-0 (16)

Standing 6’0” and with broad shoulders it is hard to believe that 23 year old Martirosyan is still making the light middleweight limit, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before he is forced into the middleweights, however for now he is really starting to be reconised as one of the top prospects in the division and this is fully deserved. Martirosyan is seen regularly in the wildcard sparring guy up to 175lbs and not looking the smaller man. He has a tremendous jab and great hand speed, it will not be long before he steps up in class and gets a go at the big guns in the division, I personally am looking forward to it and I think he will take them all in his stride just as he has worked through the step ups in his career to date.

Prediction - Future Contender

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 39-0-1 (29)

Chavez made his professional debut at age 17, he has since had 40 fights in the last 6 years, desperately trying to get out his fathers shadow he has finally started stepping up in class. He unfortunately does not have the tools his father had although he has more recently looked a more complete fighter, and he has started to step up in class. I think he needs to be careful though as I just don’t think he has the ability to make it to the top, he is currently making a great living, he is regularly on PPV and has a tremendous following, he is young enough to get away with fighting lower level fighters with good records for the next couple of years as I think if he does step up to a top fighter he will fall short.

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Joe Greene 21-0 (14)

Rough tough youngster Joe Greene is certainly strong, and can punch however he is losing out on a lot of power due to the fact he is so square, his quicker shots are mainly arm shots and when he loads up he telegraphs the shots as he has to swing them in. He is also pretty easy to hit and due to the fact he is so square it affects his balance and he has been knocked down due to this. The 23 year old south paw has a decent amount of natural ability and there is a chance he will progress but he will need a lot of work. I doubt that will happen before it is too late and he gets exposed.

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Kell Brook 20-0 (14)

Kell has still not competed on the world scene but he is certainly making waves on a domestic level. He looks a little green and easy to hit but has great natural ability and if he continues to develop he has the potential to do really well. He has been carefully matched, but faces a decent challenge in the form of Michael Jennings, we will learn at lot with this step up, he has all the attributes to be a top fighter it is just whether he is able to reach his potential.

Prediction - Future Contender

Saul Alvarez - 28-0-1 (21)

Alvarez has been brought along nicely, he had a draw over 4 rounds earlier in his career but he has started stepping up in class and beaten some decent guys fairly comfortably. He is not a huge puncher so he will always have to do things the hard way but he has shown great hand speed, and boxing ability. He is definitely one of the guys I will be keeping my eye on.

Prediction - Future Contender

John Murray 27-0 (15)

For a guy with 27 fights, Murray has fought practically no one, he has looked good and been named as the young fighter of the year a few times, but is he that good?, the answer is we don’t really know, the likelihood is that he will be thrown in deep when he finally does get stepped up, if that happens it will be a sink or swim scenario, unfortunately I think he will sink, if he had been managed better it might have been a different story, we will see.

Prediction - Destined to Lose

Kevin Mitchell 29-0 (22)

Mitchell is another carried fighter who has fought a string of limited fighters, at 29-0 he really should have stepped up in class by now, he is another one that will be put in a sink or swim position, and it is likely the opponent will have more experience and he might be out of his depth. As a fighter I actually like Mitchell and I wish he had been given a better standard of opponents, I think when he finally gets the big fight he will find it tough, on this occasion I am going to go with him scraping through, but his management should be questioned.

Prediction - Future Contender

Miguel Angel Garcia 17-0 (14)

Garcia is still in the early stages of his career but he is progressing well, his seems to have all the attributes to make it, power, speed, skills and ring craft, he will however need to be tested at a higher level before stepping up further but I think he has a great chance to make waves in a very tough division. The 21 year old is one to watch in the future.