The Light Heavyweight Division’s Possible Next Breed

01.10.04 - By Coach Tim Walker: This past Sunday marked the beginning of debates over whether Roy Jones Jr. got old over night, finally got exposed, or a dozen other reasons for his loss to Glengoffe Johnson. Relax readers this isn’t another article stating the particulars of what happened in that fight or the previous fights with Antonio Tarver.

No one knows whether Jones is planning retirement, or a comeback, or going into commentating, or wants a rematch with Johnson or Tarver or both, or if he will revamp his team. Irregardless of what Jones, Johnson and Tarver do they won’t be able to hang around forever and that begs the question, “Who is the next great light heavyweight?” Here is a peering look at some of the light heavyweight makeup minus Jones, Tarver, Johnson and the rest of the top ten.

No. 12, Pietro Aurino

This 5’11” southpaw ring-named “The Killer” is an Italian native. He began his professional career 7 years ago and now boast a 29-2-0 record. Does he live up to the nickname? He has fallen twice in his career, first against number two cruiserweight Johnny Nelson and again at the hands of up and coming converted heavyweight Juan Carlos Gomez. The loss to Gomez was also at the cruiser limit.

Despite having an impressive record he musters only 13 knockouts battling fighters who will never be ranked higher than him. In his last fight against Ramdane Serdjane, a journeyman fighter at best, he went the distance and squeaked out a win. Pietro is a gritty boxer who does not get discouraged by loss but the step into the light heavyweight arena is a bold move that will probably cost him his ranking as soon as takes on a top 20 fighter. He lacks the power necessary to be highly competitive in this division. He is a top 100 fighter but not the next superstar at light heavyweight.

No. 13 Hugo Hernan Garay

This boxer is battling more than just his opponents, he is also battling the myth that Argentineans box novices to pad their records then fizzle against upper competition. Hugo doesn’t want that sticker on his career. If you take a dive into his 21-1-0 record you unmistakably notice that he fights competitive fighters. His last ten bouts have been mostly against rated boxers the best of which came against Alejandro Lakatus. His only loss came by majority decision to number three ranked light heavyweight Zsolt Erdei for the WBO title.

His greatest asset seems to be his willingness to take on quality fighters. He is aggressive and at 23 years of age he hasn’t fully grown into his light heavyweight frame. His style of boxing is exciting which means that he won’t have difficulty filling venues. His last bout against Nestor Casanova ended in a first round knockout which might mean that he is beginning to fully develop into his power. With the come-forward style he implores he will need a bit more pop. He is definitely a top 50 fighter but maybe a couple of years from fully developing.

No. 16 Tomasz Adamek

Forget every negative that you have ever heard about the Polish because this guy is primed to put Polish boxers on the map. His record reads 28-0-0 (20 KOs) but if you are hoping to find recognizable names on his resume then stop looking. The most recognizable name he can lay claim to is beating solid punching French boxer Olivier Beard. He beat Beard in a more convincing fashion than his better known counterpart Stipe Drews. Tomasz totally dominated Beard and delivered knockout shots in the third round while Drews took 6 rounds and looked average. He used the momentum from that win to propel himself in title bout with Russian Gabrail Gabrailov to win the Intercontinental version of the WBO Light Heavyweight Title. Gabrail was knocked down in the second and finished in the fifth.

At 27 years of age he is gradually gaining a reputation as a heavy hitting boxer. Unfortunately, he dwindles in notoriety and needs better marketing. If the heavy hitter label becomes permanently attached to his name, upper level boxers will avoid him because the risk reward factor is too great. Tomasz, get marketing! His next two or three bouts will largely determine his future and place among the better light heavyweights. Tomasz, get marketing! This guy is a legitimate top 20 but is about to be seriously avoided. Tomasz, get marketing!

No. 22 Kai Kurzawa

Keep at least one eye on the German boxer. Some are hailing him as the future of the light heavyweight division while others are skeptical. He is becoming one of those boxers whom you support or emasculate. At first glance his record appears padded and doesn’t seem worthy of such a high rank. His two major wins came against way outside the fringe contenders James Crawford and Craig Cummings. His ranking invokes the question, “If your biggest wins are against Crawford and Cummings, how do you get a 22 ranking in 16 bouts?”

Another dark cloud that looms over his head is the questionable unanimous decision he got in his hometown against Lolenga Mock who had seemingly won the fight. In my opinion, Kurzawa is not yet ready to be considered the real deal although he is ready for the next step. He has potential but only time will tell as he mixes it up with credible boxers. If he does not step up his competition he may find himself on the outside looking in.

Article posted on 01.10.2004

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