What Makes An “Opponent?”

06.12.07 - By Ted Sares: Some refer to them as designated losers, others as stepping stones, boxing record builders, limited opposition or easy victories, but I find “designated” a bit much. Oh, maybe a fighter with a 20-110 record might fill that bill, but anyone who has the courage to get into the ring is not a “loser” in the pejorative sense---and in my view, albeit a minority one, a fighter should never be called a “bum” or “tomato can.” All fighters are entitled to some degree of respect.

Brian Sargent

Sargent has a record of 16 (KO 13)-16 (KO 13) with a high chill factor of 81%. He has lost his last five fights one of which was to Innocent Otukwu whose record is 14-11. His career highlight was beating “The Big Tuna,” Marcus Rhode, and he was taken out in one by a 46 year old Toney Tubbs in 2004.

Marcus Rhode

Rhode’s record is now 33 (KO 28) - 33 (KO 28) - 2 in 70 fights and a chill factor percentage in the 80‘s. All but one of the stoppages suffered by The Tuna have come in 3 round or less and the other was a 4 round stoppage to one Ahmed Abdin. Rhode has been iced by just about every well known heavyweight now fighting---even Riddick Bowe and Butterbean “fattened” their records by stopping him. His wins have come against fighters with a combined won-loss record of 84-231. All but one (Mike Rabe who was 2-1) had losing records. He was dispatched by Tommy Morrison in the first round of a 1996 bout in Tokyo in what was The Duke‘s first fight since the announcement that he had the AIDS virus.

Innocent Otukwu

Otukwu has been stopped or knocked out nine times and has lost seven of his last nine. In his last fight, the Nigerian heavyweight, living in Minneapolis, beat Dione Craig, 4-11, by majority decision to “improve” his record to 14-11. His career highlight involved two 4-round UD’s against the aforementioned Sargent in 2004.

Inncocent’s wins have come against such poor opposition as Marcelo Aravena, now 7-32-1, Terry Armstrong (9-18), Tim Dendy (17-44-2) Eddie Curry (13-27-2), Frankie Hines (17-120-5), Chad Votaw (0-2), Derrick Dukes (0-3), Charlie Dean Moore (12-23-1), and Danny Wofford (17-102-2).

Some of his defeats have been to Shane William Heavy runner (4-2) and Jeremiah Johnson (7-3-1), but in all fairness, he was KOd by rising Chazz Witherspoon, and by once rising Malcolm Tann. He was also stopped by Malachy Farrell, Raphael Butler, tough Carl Davis, Gabe Brown, hard hitting Steve Herelius, and Marcellus Brown.

Innocent, who is 35, fights in places like The 4 Bears Casino in North Dakota, the Prairie Meadows Track & Casino in Iowa, the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, California, the Lady Luck Casino in Lula, Mississippi, and the CR Sports Bar in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

In 1999, he apparently tried his hand in the Super Heavyweight of the 1999 IKF/RINGSIDE National Championships (Muay Thai). Although Otukwu and his trainer confirmed they were going to be at the Nationals, they never showed up for the weigh-ins. Thus, by the rules and regulations, Ryan Quendensley was awarded the title by forfeit.

After being KOd in his pro debut and then winning five in a row against truly awful opposition with a combined won-lost record of 44-189, Innocent has become an “opponent.” Along the way, he, The Big Tuna and Sargent have demonstrated some striking similarities. First, they have an unfailing ability to beat opponents with losing records and to lose to opponents with winning records. Secondly, they each have high chill factors, that is, the total number of knock outs (both for and against) divided by the total number of fights.

In so doing, they have become the quintessential and proverbial opponents---and that’s how it happens.

Article posted on 07.12.2007

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