By Derek Bonnett: It was bound to happen. I’ve been having a ball over the past year ripping the sanctioning bodies for handing seemingly unworthy boxers title fights. My Title Shots Here! Getcha’ Free Title Shot series has prompted numerous SecondsOut readers to reach out and voice their own disgust at some of the match-ups they feel are being peddled off as world championship caliber fights. But, alas, I got one wrong.
On April 14, Peru’s Alberto Rossel, 28-8 (13), became an interim WBA world champion after outpointing previously unbeaten Jose Alfredo Rodriguez over 12 rounds. Now, I maintain that Rossel’s work since losing his previous world title attempt against Hugo Fidel Cazares in 2010 did not merit a title shot. Even an interim title shot. His three wins over nondescript opposition did amount to a hill of teeth leading into this one. However, my error was made by looking heavily into Rossel and giving a pass to Rodriguez, whom had been matched softly. While he may have lost, Rossel possessed valuable experience his unbeaten opponent lacked. Rossel has tangled with such world caliber opponents as Cazares, Vusi Malinga, Luis Alberto Lazarte, Brian Viloria (twice), and Ivan Calderon throughout his career.
Numbers, it appears, can in fact lie. Looking over the landscapes of the boxing world today, there are a multitude of legitimately world class labeled fighters with non-threatening records number-wise. Some have made their names known while others are just a win away from permanently being removed from the "written off" list. light middleweight Carlos Molina, 19-5-2 (6), and lightweight Richard Abril, 17-3-1 (8), have recently risen to prominence in their respective weight classes in spite of spotty records. Here are some unheralded fighters, who just might climbs the ranks and shake up the boxing world if given the right opportunity.
1.) Garrett "The Ultimate Warrior" Wilson, 13-5-1 (7), hardly has the numbers on paper to send his opponents running for a softer touch. However, it’s likely the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA native is going to find it harder and harder to line them up. At twenty-nine, Wilson has earned a number seven cruiserweight ranking by the IBF. After an 8-5 start to his career, Wilson has run off a 5-0-1 streak against his best opposition to date. In that run, Wilson drew with Andres Taylor, who was 16-1-1 at the time. In his last outing this month, he stopped Taylor in the twelfth to gain revenge. Amid that streak, Wilson also overturned a fourth round TKO loss to Omar Sheika by nearly shutting Sheika out at the close of 2011. One-time prospect Aaron Williams, then 20-2-1, got TKO’d by Wilson in seven. Chuck Mussachio, 17-1-2 going in, fell by twelfth round TKO as well. Wilson currently holds both the NABF and USBA cruiserweight titles, so additional rankings are bound to arise as long as he can keep winning. Whether he can compete with the top ten of today’s cruiserweight division remains to be seen, but I’d love to see him take on SecondsOut’s number ten ranked Mateusz Masternak to find out.
"I lack an extensive amateur background. That is what I contribute most of my losses to," Wilson stated. "I learn pretty quickly, but not being able to experience different styles and techniques is one of the biggest setbacks that I had early in my career. Also, I wasn’t sure what weight I was most comfortable. So, I fought in three different weight classes from super middle to cruiserweight. Some would say the fact that I will fight anyone at any time is a contributing factor [to my spotty record], but that hasn’t changed. I was willing to fight Aaron Williams, Andres Taylor, and Omar Sheika. However, being closer to a world title means I have to be a little more selective."
2.) Kerry Hope, 17-3 (1), may have a power shortage in his fists, but his career is at an all-time high. The unlikely middleweight contender crashed the world rankings last month after scoring a majority decision over unbeaten contender Grzegorz Proksa. Proksa was coming off a career defining third round stoppage of former world champion Sebastian Sylvester. Now, Hope has gone from being unranked to number five under the WBA and thirteenth by the IBF. Prior to the Proksa victory there wasn’t that much for Hope to be hopeful about. He had twice been stopped by Matthew Hall and Taz Jones. Most recently, he lost a decision to Caleb Truax in 2009. Hope is riding a five bout win-streak and owns the European middleweight title. Hope’s prospect of winning another significant bout at 160 are good, but his lack of pop will surely make it difficult against the division’s elite. An all United Kingdom clash with recent world title challengers Darren Barker or Matthew Macklin would make for solid match-ups all round.
"I don’t consider myself a dishonest person, but my record will always tell a lie," Hope expressed. "It feels great to be European Champion, but I have three defeats and one KO. The nature of the defeats need to be looked at and I punch a lot harder than the knockout stats suggest. But as an whole I enjoy being underestimated."
3.) Carson Jones has been on a lengthy run to overcome a rough start to his career. At 33-8-2 (23), Jones is a very well-seasoned twenty-five year old. The welterweight contender has earned a number three IBF ranking and the USBA welterweight title in spite of early career losses to such notable names as Alfonso Gomez, Freddy Hernandez, Roberto Garcia, and Jesus Soto-Karass. Jones is on a seven fight win-streak since a disputed split decision loss to Rogerio Pereira in 2009. Among his best achievements are stoppages of then unbeaten Tyron Brunson, Said Ouali, and Ricardo Williams Jr. Those last two came in his latest bouts. Jones has an April 26 bout scheduled against Allen Conyers to keep busy. However, with Mike Jones and Randall Bailey squaring off for the vacant IBF crown on June 9, Carson Jones could be eying the number one contender slot before too long. Mark my words, whomever emerges as IBF champion on June 6, that man will lose his title should he defend his title against Carson Jones.
"I think an advantage is my age. I’m still very young and also very, very strong-willed which might have helped enable me to overcome those losses," Jones explained. "Better yet, the biggest advantage may very well be the eight losses. It’s kind of give me a cloaking device and allows me to sneak up on opponents. After seeing the eight losses, they are surprised when they get in the ring what they are up against."
4.)Armando "Ichiro Ozeki" Torres, 31, has been professional since 1998. In his debut he outpointed eventually two-time world title challenge Shingo Yamaguchi. In his final bout of 2011, he avenged an early third round TKO loss to Sammy Gutierrez by stopping "Guty" in eight rounds to gain the WBC Silver light flyweight title. The win nabbed Torres a number five ranking by the WBC. However, in between his debut and the rematch win over Gutierrez, Torres went 15-9. That was after a 7-0 start! Also adding to Torres’ loss column were world rated Juan Carlos Reveco, Ganigan Lopez, and Juan Palacios. Torres has amassed a two fight win-streak to raise his record to 18-9 (13). Win-streaks have never been Torres’ cup of tequila, so it’s very unclear how long this one will last. However, with his silver belt, he might be able to land a title shot. In the meantime, I’d say let’s settle the score once and for all. Torres-Gutierrez III, anyone?
5.) Mario "Dragoncito" Rodriguez has nearly as many blemishes on his record as he does wins. At 13-6-4 (9), Rodriguez, 23, now holds the NABF minimumweight championship, a number five ranking by the WBC, and a number nine ranking by the IBF. In spite of a 10-5-3 record, Rodriguez found himself in a world title bout with then WBO champion Donnie Nietes. Although he lost a unanimous decision, it set him on his current 3-0-1 streak which includes a draw with then 14-0 Pedro Guevara, a decision over unbeaten Manuel Jimenez, and a first round stoppage of 16-2 Karluis Diaz. Last time out, Rodriguez stoppage former "Cinderella Man" world champion Gilberto Keb Baas with a body shot KO in the fifth. Ganigan Lopez and Denver Cuello are scheduled to face off for a WBC title eliminator on May 19. Both are also currently the top two leading contenders for the IBF. Rodriguez’ unlikely run might be coming to a close soon regardless, so he might has well take on the best available contender after these two. Fellow Mexican Juan Hernandez would make for an excellent choice.
For further boxing discourse, contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 26, 2012