The Impossible Heavyweight: Zuri Lawrence

By Paul McCreath: Alright I know you are going to ask so I will get right to it. You are wondering why I call him the impossible heavyweight right? Let me ask you a question first. What are the chances of finding a fairly decent heavyweight who stands 6 foot 4 inches and weighs around 235-240 pounds with 43 pro fights and a winning record who has never scored a single KO victory? Impossible right? Well no it isn't because those facts describe one 38 year old Zuri Lawrence who has been a pro since 1994 and is still winning fights..

You would think that nearly any heavyweight no matter how bad he is would score a KO or two after he has had 8 or 10 fights. You would think that there is always someone who is worse that you can knock out. So is Zuri a bum? Absolutely not! He is obviously no puncher but he does have considerable skills. His overall record is 24-14-4 with of course no stoppage wins. There is also 1 no contest. He has been stopped 7 times himself but 5 of these KOs came against name fighters like Tony Thompson, Sultan Ibragimov, Calvin Brock, Dominick Guinn and Hasim Rahman. His chin is not exactly solid rock. He is basically a good trial horse fighter who will never be a champ but can give good fighters a solid workout and sometimes pull an upset, especially against rising prospects. He has fast hands and moves well but I would not call him a runner. He usually puts up a good fight with plenty of action.

Consider some of Zuri's better showings. In June of 1994 he made his pro debut against future fringe contender Mo Harris. Mo had already had 9 pro fights.They fought to a 4 round draw. In March of 1997 Zuri was matched with prospect Josh Imardiyi,15-1 at the time. Zuri won a 6 round decision. In September of 1999 he defeated fringe contender Darroll Wilson over 10 rounds. In August of the next year he won on disqualification over prospect King Ipitan, 19-1-1 at the time. Zuri was leading on points when it was stopped.

In August of 2002 Lawrence beat the undefeated Paolo Vidoz over 8 rounds. Vidoz was a former Olympic bronze medal winner from Italy who was campaigning with success in America. Vidoz went on from there to win the European title and make 2 defenses of the crown before losing it to Vlad Virchis. He meets Matt Skelton for the vacant title in December. In February of 2003 Zuri gained a ten round draw with Ray Austin, a future title contender and then followed that 2 years later with a ten round win over another contender Jameel McCline.

Last year he was matched on TV against ex-champ Hasim Rahman and was leading on points on many cards before being stopped in the last round. More recently this past August Zuri met the Polish fighter Albert Sosnowski. Albert is not close to being as good as his 43-1 record at that time would suggest but he was expected to beat Zuri. Lawrence won by decision as usual. This is the same Albert Sosnowski who just knocked out Danny Williams.

Of course there are lots of losses mixed in with Zuri's good days. Sometimes he has lost to little known fighters but you have to admit he has a lot of good results on his record. Zuri and other trial horses like him rarely get much publicity and even less repect but they are an important part of boxing that should be recognized in a positive light. They fill an important roll as gatekeepers and many a good fighter has stumbled at this level. A fighter's record on paper is not always an accurate indicator of his abilities. Still he has those 43 fights with never a KO.

Impossible right?

Article posted on 25.11.2008

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