Who Is America's Best Heavyweight Now?
By Paul McCreath - With Eddie Chamber's fine victory over Alex Dimitrenko in the WBO title eliminator last weekend fans are once again debating who is actually the best heavyweight in America. Let us take a look at the arguments for some of the leading contenders.
Article posted on 09.07.2009
Eddie Chambers - 27 years old, 35-1-0 with 18 KOs. It is pretty difficult to argue against Eddie now. The fighter we saw last weekend was a much improved version over what we saw before and he wasn't even bad before.. We now have a slimmed down more fit and more aggressive fighter who is putting some hurt in his punches. He now has met 4 top 10 fighters, Calvin Brock, Alex Povetkin, Sam Peter and Dimitrenko and defeated all but Povetkin. Some would favor Eddie in a rematch with Alex. Nobody else has compiled a comparable record recently. While his size may limit his chances with either Klitschko brother what other American is likely to win against them?
Kevin Johnson - age 29, 22-0-1 with 9 KOs. Kevin's problem is that he still has not met a top ranked fighter. His best win is over prospect Devin Vargas who was 17-0 at the time. He owns a fine jab but has been criticized as having little power. The truth is he may have had it and just didn't use it. He has won his last 3 bouts by KO and is now fighting with more aggression and combinations to go with the jab. Like Chambers he has improved. His next fight on August 15 against Odlanier Solis will tell the tale. A win here will be a strong talking point for a bright future. Unlike Chambers, Kevin at 6 foot 3 inches and 245 pounds has the size.
Chris Arreola - Age 28, 27-0 with 24 KOs. Chris is easily the most talked about and most exciting of the American heavies. He has more power than the others but fewer technical skills. His best wins are KOs over prospects Chazz Witherspoon and Travis Walker neither of whom is close to being a top 10 fighter. There remains the question of his weight and conditioning. He has looked overpowering against the "B" class fighters but can he take that to the upper levels of the division? We could find out in September if Vitali Klitschko decides to fight him rather than David Haye but since Haye looks like the biggest attraction in Europe I would guess we may have to wait a bit yet. His power alone would give him the best puncher's chance against the Klitschkos but his inexperience against top 10 fighters and limited technical skills may prove to be a problem at the higher levels..
John Ruiz - Age 37, 43-8-1 with 29 KOs. Gasp ! I know ! I Know ! But the fact remains that John's last 3 losses were all title bouts and all 3 were either split or majority decisions against Ruslan Chagaev and Nicolai Valuev twice. Nobody likes to watch him but no American wants to fight him either. Let's just say he would be a rough night for anybody on this list though he might not win.
Lamon Brewster- Age 36, 35-4 with 30 KOs. Lamon might have been number one a few years ago but since the second fight with Wlad Klitschko he is really not the same fighter anymore.He is still active but has had no important fights lately. He is more of a gatekeeper now.
Tony Thompson - Age 37, 32-2 with 20 KOs. Since his loss to Wlad Klitschko he has pretty much disappeared.He has talent but also seems to have a sparrring partner type approach in his fights. At his age it is not likely he will achieve anything much from here on in.
Evander Holyfield - age 46, 42-10-2 with 27 KOs. I know somebody will bring his name up so I might just as well do it. Evander came close to upsetting Nicolai Valuev last December but that was more a case of neither one doing anything than it was Holyfield looking good. Like Ruiz he could probably make it a rough night for any on this list but I doubt if he would beat any of them.
Brian Minto - age 34,33-2 with 21 KOs. Brian is still looking for his first win over a name opponent and lost to Luan Krasniqi when he tried to step up a couple of years ago. The Donnell Holmes match on August 14 may give us a better idea of where he stands.
The rest of the lot are either too old and done or too green and untested. There are some long term future hopes but for now I would say Fast Eddie Chambers is number one.
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