Boxing's Unsung Heroes - The Great Losers

13.06.07 - By Paul McCreath: We are all aware of boxing's many superstars. The names of fighters like Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Roy Jones Jr., Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, and the like are recognized by all boxing fans, but have you ever thought about the fact that in every fight that has a winner, there is also a loser? For every fighter that has a great record there has to be an equal number who lose most of the time.

We often tend to sluff off these fighters as bums and stiffs and it is true that there are some out there who truly fit that description. The world is full of fighters with 10, 15, or even 20 or more losses in a row, mostly by KO. They may be brave, but they sure are not skilled. There is however another type of loser who deserves a great deal of respect. I refer to the old reliable veterans whom the promoters can always count on to show up and lose, usually over the distance, but do their best to test the young prospects or favorite veterans they are thrown in with.

They seldom get an even break. Fights most often come on short notice and often they take place on the other guy's home turf. Giving away several pounds in weight is standard procedure. In the unlikely event that these journeymen outbox their opponent, there is always the hometown decision to take away their win. Is it any wonder they lose most of their fights?

To be one of these respected journeymen takes a special set of skills. For one thing, they can be aggressive in order to make a good fight, but should be lacking a KO punch that would be dangerous to the house fighter. They also need to be good defensive fighters or they will get their brains scrambled or at least knocked out. It is not easy to lose without getting hurt, and they must be willing to fight anybody, anywhere, any time for a relatively small purse. Today we will look at some of the great losers.

The king of all the great losers is the British welterweight, Peter Buckley. Peter was born in 1969 and turned pro in 1991. Since then, he has engaged in a staggering 293 pro fights as this is written. Yes, that is not a misprint. His record is an amazing 31-243-11 with 8 KO wins, and he has been stopped only 10 times in all those losses, the last time was way back at fight #184. His last win was in fight #211 in June of 2002. There has been one draw since then. One of the most active fighters in the UK, he is still much in demand. He fought 22 times in 2006 and seven times already this year. His bouts are mostly four and six-rounders. There may never be another like Peter Buckley.

Another British boxer of similar ilk is the cruiser Paul Bonson. Born in 1971, Paul turned pro in 1996, and has a record of 19-90-7 with ONE KO victory. In those 116 fights, he has been stopped only twice, and has gone the distance in other fights with both men who stopped him. Some of the names he has taken the distance include heavyweights Roman Greenberg and Albert Sosnowski the 40-1 Polish hope. Popular Enzo Maccarinelli and former WBO champ Carl Thompson are also on the list of those who could not stop Paul.

No list of great losers would be complete without the name of American heavyweight trial horse Marion Wilson. Mo was born in 1956 and turned pro at the age of 33 in 1989. He has amassed a record of 12-41-4 with 5 KO wins but that is not the impressive part - He has never been stopped! Even most top 10 heavies can't say that. And it is not because he meets soft opposition. Among those he has taken the limit are seven former champs, including Ray Mercer, Shannon Briggs, Orlin Norris (cruiserweight), Greg Page, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman, and Oliver McCall. Wilson has also gone the distance with contenders Frans Botha, Andrew Golota twice, IKE IBEABUCHI, Larry Donald, Tony Thompson, and Sam Peter in a 4-rounder. None could knock Marion out. He actually held Mercer to a 10-round draw in 1994. His most recent bout was the loss to Oliver McCall last February at the age of 50. One of his best wins was over former Olympic silver medalist Paea Wolfgramm in 1998.

Finally, we have the veteran middle and light middleweight Anthony Ivory, another American trial horse. Anthony was born in 1964 and turned pro in 1989. After winning eight of his first nine fights, he settled into his role of respected opponent and now has a record of 32-78-5 with 11 KO wins. He has been stopped only five times in these 116 fights. Among his foes have been former and future champions and contenders like Dave Hilton, Julio Vasquez, Mikkel Kessler, Felix Sturm, Keith Holmes, Sam Serrano, and Kelly Pavlik. He has nine times gone the whole route with undefeated fighters with 15 or more wins.

These four fighters are not the only great losers, just four that came to mind as I wrote this article. There are lots of others. Together they form a group of fighters that are due a lot of respect. They may not win very often but boxing could not do without them, and they bring a very different meaning to the term "loser." They are the foundation on which our champions careers are built.

Article posted on 14.06.2007

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