HBO’s “New Faces of Boxing” fall flat

By D.C. Winters: HBO’s attempt to promote a new generation of boxing stars has been derailed by a series of poor performances and disappointments. The subjects of the campaign (Victor Ortiz, Alfredo Angulo, Juan Diaz, David Haye, Cristobal Arreola, and Chad Dawson) have done little thus far to justify the hype.

Ortiz, a camera and crowd-friendly fighter with power in both hands, was surprisingly stopped in the sixth round by Marcos Maidana. “Vicious” Victor impressed early by dropping his opponent three times, but he lacked the experience and the will to overcome a barrage of straight right hands. Despite an entertaining fight, many in boxing were disappointed in the result because of Ortiz’s massive star potential.

Angulo had the look of the next “Mexican warrior” before being defeated by Kermit Cintron in a unanimous decision. Though there is little shame in losing to Cintron (whose only losses are to Antonio Margarito), it showed Angulo as a fighter needing more speed and experience.

Juan Diaz, another charismatic fighter with a crowd-friendly style, has suffered defeats in two of his last three fights (Nate Campbell and Juan Manuel Marquez). The “Baby Bull” may deserve a pass, however, due to the level of competition he’s been willing to face.

David Haye and Cristobal Arreola are both prospects hoping to ignite a stagnant heavyweight division. Due to an injury, Haye was forced to withdraw from a title fight with Wladimir Klitschko while Arreola has struggled with weight against second-tier competition.

The lone standout may be undefeated Chad Dawson. In wins over Tomasz Adamek and Antonio Tarver, “Bad” Chad demonstrated the skill and versatility necessary to overcome more experienced fighters. Dawson should also be credited for his willingness to vacate the IBF light heavyweight title for a rematch with the dangerous Glen Johnson.

One can’t fault HBO for promoting a crop of exciting new boxers, and it is equally unfair to dismiss young fighters after early losses. However, for fans, promoters, and executives hoping for the next boxing superstar, the disappointment mounts.

Article posted on 24.07.2009

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