The Unknown Future of the Heavyweight Division

18.11.05 - By Troy Ondrizek: With the malcontent towards today’s top heavyweights, everyone ask, who is going to drag the glamour division out of this funk? We as fans are constantly looking for the next big fighter coming along. We all put our hopes into Samuel Peter and came out disappointed in his loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Yes he showed heart, power, and a granite chin. However, he showed he needed all of those qualities just to survive the fight. He showed no apparent boxing skills needed to lift him into the Heavyweight lure that he seeks. Instead seemingly Samuel Peter’s destiny is to be this generation’s David Tua.

So with Lamon Brewster and Wladimir Klitschko being the only two absolute legitimate great Heavyweights today, and only a handful of prospects like Calvin Brock and Nicolay Valuev, putting pressure on our “out-stayed their welcome” champions.

The division also possess’ the “Old Guard” former contenders and Champions such as Shannon Briggs, Oliver McCall, Riddick Bowe, and Tony Tubbs, trying to capture greatness that was previously within their collective grasp. So I search for relatively unknown prospects that within a year or two can make a big splash in the division and could either end up a true Champion like Lamon Brewster, or an overblown could have been like Dominick Guinn.

I picked five hopefuls and two former Olympians that I have seen in person or on film that have shown some talent and glimpses of what it takes to be a contender. All these prospects are undefeated and under twenty-six years of age. So lets travel across the pond and look at what some may say is the next Vitali Klitschko in Ukrainian Alexander Dimitrenko: He is a 6’7” 240 or so pound twenty-three year old with a record of 20-0-0, 12 Ko’s. He has steadily moved up in class after feasting on Tomato cans for his first couple of years. He has beaten the Wladimir conqueror in Ross Purity, a decent prospect in and of himself in Chris Koval, and most recently the former World Title challenger in Vaughn Bean.

Dimitrenko has Vitali type size, but he lacks the Klitschko fitness, and subsequently lacks the power and knockout ratio that a man of his stature should possess. With some road work and further emphasis on his footwork and power, he can do some damage to all the older European challengers out there.

Probably the most recognizable American prospect today is Malik Scott. The twenty-five year old has a record of 22-0-0, 10 Ko’s. He has good size in being 6’4” and around 230 lbs. His physical training looks the part of a boxer, and he has flashed the boxing skills, he reminds me of Calvin Brock. Malik has victories over Calvin’s next opponent David Bostice, and over the “Ultimate Gatekeeper” in Louis Monaco. Monaco has fought a who’s who of fighters, including, Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, Butterbean, Michael Dokes, James “Buster” Douglas, and many more of today’s fringe contenders.

Eddie Chambers is a well rounded boxer the lacks true Heavyweight size, but has true Heavyweight heart and a respectable chin. This 23 year old carries a professional record of 24-0-0 13Ko’s. Like I stated he is little for a heavyweight being all of 6’1” and around 210 lbs when in the ring. Some say he could be a viable Cruiserweight. He has faced and beaten the typical Litmus Test fighters in Melvin Foster, Ross Purity, and the aforementioned Louis Monaco. He doesn’t possess the electric knockout power that plagues Samuel Peter, but has enough ring-savvy that in time he can grow and become a true contender. Look for Chambers to fight on the 2nd of December and decide for yourselves if he is anything to talk about.

B.J. Flores has the least accomplished resume of the fighters listed. He hasn’t faced the same quality opponents, but in stark contrast to the others, he has totally out-classed everyone who has stepped into the ring with him. With a record of 14-0-1 10Ko’s, he has decent power, but really overwhelms his opponents with incredibly accurate punches, and a great jab. His footwork is well above any fighter at the same stage of their career as he. His jab looks similar to the one that Buster Douglas used against Mike Tyson, and he paces himself greatly. The knock on the former college football standout is that he too might be too small to compete in the division. However, the 6’2” 215lb fighter states otherwise with his impressive showings in the ring.

Michael Marrone is the youngest fighter on this list, and is probably the least known. The twenty year old has competed in eleven bouts and sports a record of 11-0-0 9Ko’s. He is only 6’2” and 210 to 220 lbs. He does have the body and youth to grow into a bigger stronger fighter. He has more power than any other fighter on this list. He throws good combinations and has power in both hands. He has put away former cruiserweight Cliff Nellon he has losses to current IBF Cruiserweight Champion O’Neill Bell, and losses to Vassiliy Jirov, and B.J. Flores. Marrone’s biggest victory to date is a 3rd round TKO of Forrest Neal, another former cruiserweight he was put away by Vassiliy Jirov. Marrone has the most potential to be like Dominick Guinn in regards as to power, he also lacks some fundamental boxing skills. So hopefully a few more fights will rectify that problem.

Those were the five fighters that the average fan might not be familiar with. I predict that B.J. Flores is the most ready to make a splash in the division, and is most capable of beating the top fighters out there today. Now it’s hard to fly under the radar if you achieved Olympic fame. So a quick look at 2004’s Olympic fighters is warranted. Jason Estrada was the American representative in the Athens Olympics. He didn’t capture a medal for the United States, but he has pursued Heavyweight greatness for his country. The overgrown twenty four year old is 4-0-0 1Ko. He is only 6’1” but weighs a heavy 246lbs. If Estrada losses some of that weight, his hand speed will increase dramatically and would put him in a much better situation given he lacks Heavyweight power but has above-average boxing skills. Expect Estrada to be brought along slowly and we won’t hear anything major from him for at least two years.

Another fighter is the much talked about Alexander Povetkin. The 2004 Olympic Gold medallist has been written about fairly
extensively, including myself. He carries a record of 4-0-0, 3 Ko’s. He has another fight this year on the Valuev/Ruiz undercard. He will take a little time to blossom, but he is well on his way to achieving Heavyweight greatness. Expect to see him on the scene much before Estrada.

Now only time and experience will tell us whether or not these fighters are worth reading about. However, they are starting to make waves and gather notice from better fighters and promoters. Not all of these fighters can be all-time greats. In fact the odds are they will end up more like Dominick Guinn than Lamon Brewster. However, this young crop of
fighters could very well be the future demise or saving grace for our much maligned glamour division.

Article posted on 19.11.2005

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