Eastsideboxing’s Top 30 Heavyweights: Part I

29.12.03 - By Steve Trellert: It has been a long time coming for an update and since it is once again the end of the year it seems the best thing to do is to start from scratch and reassess who exactly is in the Top 30 and why. As with last year’s rankings a fighter deserves to be on this list not based on their estimation of talent or potential, but on their results. Now of course in some cases one can dispute certain results that are highly controversial and this shall be taken into account where an apparent robbery is obvious and overwhelmingly recognized.

One must take into account that this is of course a subjective rankings system, though objectivity is desired that can in many ways be more problematic and inaccurate as the heavyweight rankings make clear. Nevertheless, I have attempted to remain as objective as possible and detach any sense of emotional attachment to certain boxers over others. It is up to your judgement to see if that is in fact the case. Fighter’s rankings are based on accomplishments against ‘name’ opposition with the more recent results taking precedent over those more distant. The more distant in terms of time, the less relevant.

In starting off I must first instigate a detour to explain why certain fighters do not reside on this list despite the fact that they would likely defeat some of the fighters currently above them.

Ray Mercer may be aged but he also retains good power and an ability to withstand punishment. It is in my opinion that the merciless one would probably defeat, even at this point in his career, many of those ranked amongst the twenties on this list. Why is he not on it then? That is because he has not defeated anyone of note since 1996 against Tim Witherspoon.

Duncan Dokiwari and Cedric Boswell are two fighters whom of late looked quite good in their recent losses against Dominick Guinn and Jameel McCline respectively. Of course looking good in unquestionable defeat and winning against ‘name’ opposition are two distinct things. Neither fighter as of yet has really gained enough accreditation in terms of quality wins to warrant an entrance into the top 30 list. Of course at this point it seems only a matter of time, but one must remember that fights take place in the ring, not on paper. Good losers may be just that. To begin we will look at those fighters ranked from #26 to #30.

#30. Ray Austin
It is almost fitting that a somewhat historically decrepit Top 30 start with a fighter that can only be regarded as an ‘A’ level journeyman. This was once a role held by fighters such as Terrance Lewis and Robert Davis, but they have of late slipped into journeyman ‘B’ status. Ray Austin is the kind of fighter who lacks the skill to become a true contender, or even an also-ran, but is good enough to function as a gatekeeper that exposes pretenders and announces contenders. A recent case in point regarding the former is Jo-El Scott whom some thought may just have the goods to compete and yet found Austin locking the gate before him. On a bad day Ray Austin can also make a contenders life miserable as Mount Whitaker found out in a draw. These two results, in addition to a win over the ever-unpredictable Sedrick Fields, finds Mr. Austin in this almost natural position. In terms of his upside from here it would appear minimal, especially considering prospects Dokiwari and Boswell and the perhaps resurgent Golota and Maskaev moving in from the shadows.

29. Jeremy Williams
One only needs to look at the warm/cold dial on their washer to get a sense of Jeremy Williams career. This fighter resides somewhere in limbo between journeyman and contender while never quite attaining either. After losses against Mo Harris and Brian Nielson a semi-retirement ensued, but this did not last and a bit of a comeback flourished allowing us to witness David Bostice getting blown out in one round and a durable Ron Guerrero being brushed aside. In his latest fight he disposed of up and coming Andre Purlette but this was subsequent to a draw with a very clearly washed up Al “Ice” Cole. One can claim these results are not all that distinguished in appearance, but in comparison to those below him they are enough to get him here. Currently Williams seems to be becoming inactive again but if he chooses to come back, at the very least, he would continue to be a relatively entertaining fighter with potent power in his right hand who can be out-boxed by those with a modicum of technical ability. His recent wins are superior to those behind him.

28. Sinan Samil Sam
Sam was in fact the Heavyweight surprise to come out of Europe last year. Successive wins over Polish journeyman Saleta, Julius Francis and the relatively talented British prospect in Danny Williams raised a few eyebrows particularly amongst those in North America not privy to watching the actual fights. On the recent “Night of the Young Heavyweights” though certain limitation came through loud and clear. Although Sam is durable, tough and packs a decent wallop, his movement is attune to walking through water, slow. He is a plodding slugger who needs to land his big shot to get anywhere, and against a skilled technician in Juan Carlos Gomez that was just not going to happen. Sam in this scenario appeared highly impotent and exposed and there is little to suggest he would have much success against someone with true boxing ability and a degree of intelligence in the ring. The upside seems fairly limited unless opponents are carefully handpicked to enhance Sam’s limited strengths and minimize his weaknesses. This could occur, but in all likelihood Sam will remain a largely Euro based fighter where he can maximize his marketability amongst the large Turkish Diaspora in Germany against opposition such as Timo Hoffman. His string of victories are slightly less impressive than Williams behind him, but the latter’s more distant losses against Nielson and Harris in combination with his draw with Cole is worse than the loss to Gomez.

27. Davarryl Williamson
Williamson was the North America version of Sam last year with his highly potent “Touch of Sleep” right hand that actually knocked out a previously iron chinned Dale Crowe and the momentum charged Corey “T-Rex” Sanders. The latter had surprisingly ran off three successive and unexpected wins over Paea Wolfgramm, Terrance Lewis and Oleg Maskaev and had Davarryl on the canvas early in their fight. What seemed to impress most was not who Williamson defeated but how. Coming back to KO a Sanders who not only floored him but also outweighed him by a hundred pounds was impressive, as was his next victory with a broken jaw against the tough and durable Robert Wiggins. With a game spirit and highly lethal right hand many picked him outright against a largely untested Joe Mesi. What actually occurred though was an unmitigated disaster for Davarryl. Defensively he appeared completely inept and was brutally knocked out in one round. Afterwards some claimed Williamson had basically frozen like a deer in headlights as a first time headliner in his first big fight. I think at best this may only be partially true. In previous fights Williamson seemed horribly awkward when placed on the defensive and his chin had always been a little suspect. In terms of rankings his wins over Crowe, Sanders and Wiggins gets him here, particularly when one considers Sanders momentum at the time. The Mesi loss places him on the fringe of contender status but not lower than Sam. Additionally, a recently announced opportunity for redemption is already on the horizon. He is scheduled to fight another fighter with a lot of momentum in Elicier Castillo. In my estimation this caliber of opponent may be too strong after the kind of defeat Williamson suffered. Unlike Sanders at that time, Castillo seems to be improving at a fairly rapid pace and although I understand Davarryl’s age is a factor in deciding to take this fight, his confidence is likely not where it should be. A loss here will likely end what’s left of his boxing career.

26. Attila Levin
Attila Levin and Joe Mesi over the last few years have been in many ways identical twins in terms of their boxing careers except that Mesi had a much larger spotlight on him. Both fighters’ careers had been progressing agonizingly slowly in terms of taking on quality opposition. Since then Joe Mesi’s career has taken off while Attila continues to meander into stultification. Attila has some decent wins against some ‘B’ level journeymen in Ross Puritty and Ron Guerrero as well as a more distant win over a more highly regarded Ray Austin. Not bad, but considering Attila has been a prospect for sometime now one can only proclaim frustration at his progress. In watching Attila one tend to be witnessing a decent fighter all-round but lacking anything special. He seems to be something of a Charles Shufford in waiting without taking the chances the latter has. With legendary trainer Angelo Dundee in his corner it makes one wonder what Angelo is waiting to see in his evolution before taking him forward. To most it appears Levin should step up come what may and would be far more likely to learn in potential defeat much more than another win against mediocrity. Nothing-ventured equals nothing gained here. Why is Attila ranked this high? Though his wins are somewhat inferior to the previously listed fighters, his lack of a terrible defeat (initial loss was relatively early in career so discounted) keeps him slightly above the others. In terms of his future an Andre Purlette would be a rational move forward.

Article posted on 29.12.2003

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