Boxing


Ten Most Exciting Fighters Today

24.09.06 - By Ted Sares: I have listed them alphabetically and if you want to call me cowardly, go right ahead. You would be right. My recent top twenty list was a learning experience in the same manner that a fighter learns from tough bouts. I took a lot of heavy shots including some low blows and a number of [sarcastic] jabs.This time I didn't use any strict criteria as much as I used my own reactions as I have watched each of these warriors in action. I am sure you could post some that I left out or could list them in some order with most exciting first and so on. If so, have a go.

Jorge "Travieso" Arce, 44 (35) -3-1, "With blood flowing from a wound that made him look like a second-place finisher in a machete war, relentless Jorge "Travieso" Arce scored a brutal 10th round TKO over Hussein "Hussy" Hussein to win a classic battle in a WBC flyweight title eliminator."

A typical headline for an Arce fight. And his blow out of Hawk Makepula on Saturday took less time than the Hawk's walk in. Fans worship him and he loves them back. He puts on exciting fights in the tradition of "old school” Mexican fighters, but with more flair. Nobody knows what would happen against another very aggressive brawler of equal stature. It might boil down to "quien es mas macho?" or who lands the biggest shots first. In this connection, a fight with Flyweight, Vic Darchinyan (26-0, 21 KO’s) at a catch weight would be great. Darchinyan is about as exciting as Arce and what an exciting battle it would be. The entire Arce package is one great big exciting experience.

Jorge "La Hiena" Barrios, 46 (33 ko's)-3-1-1. He always comes to fight and like Ricardo Mayorga and most of the others on this list, would rather die in the ring than quit on his own. His fight with "Popo" Frietas was pure courage as was his recent set-to with Joan Guzman. No trips to the refrigerator during one of his savage brawls.

Middleweight Alejandro "Naco" Berrio, a 30 year old Colombian bomber who has Ko'd 24 opponents in 25 wins and is an extremely dangerous fighter, but, like fellow bombers Bob Satterfield, Tommy Morrison, Julian Jackson and arguably Jaime Garza, the downside is that he does not take a punch very well — he was stopped in all four of his losses. And that makes him super exciting....and my personal favorite as well. Just don't blink or you might miss the end. If I listed these in order of excitement, "Naco" would be no lower than second.

Lamon "Relentless" Brewster, 33 (29 ko's)-3, Aside from Wladimir Klitchko, the only exciting heavyweight out there and the only one on my list. His fights with Wlad, Golata, and Lyakhovich were all barn burners for as long as they lasted. In September 2005, he survived a severe beating by German-based Luan Krasniqi only to ice Krasniqi in the 9th round, while behind on all cards. As fellow writer Frank Gonzalez Jr. states, "success in the ring is usually the result of a combination of things, like speed, power, heart, boxing skills or stamina." for Lamon Brewster, it is usually relentlessness and that makes him exciting.

Diego "Chico" Corrales, 40 (33 ko's)-3, perhaps the purest form of warrior in boxing today. Can render a ko or be ko'd and will fight to the end. Never in a dull fight. Hopefully, he still has something left after all of his wars. We will soon find out. His first fight with Castillo may have been the most exciting in years.

Ricky "Hit Man" Hatton, 41 (30 ko's) - 0, Non-stop, incoming brawling and lethal body punching make me a watcher and a fan. A loveable and humble chap outside the ring, he changes once inside the ropes and becomes a cold, merciless and relentless warrior. In December 2005, Hatton was named the 2005 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year. Enough said.

Antonio "Tony" Margarito, 33 (24 )-4 -0-1, his savage style earns him a place on my list. His ten round stoppage of Sebastian Andres Lujan can only be described as brutal. He then beat another Puerto Rican, tough Kermit Cintron, dropping him four times on his way to a fifth round knockout. In February he iced Manuel Gomez in the first round for the WBO Welterweight Title. He is an exciting fighter pure and simple and a big fan favorite, though Daniel Santos seems to have his number.

Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather, 36 (24 ko's) - 0, He is undefeated since making his pro debut on October 11, 1996. And since 2005, he has been rated by The Ring magazine as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Incredibly, he has won four world boxing championships in four different weight classes and we may not yet have seen his best. Clearly, he is one of the most talented young fighters in the world. Blessed with speed, power and great defense, he is presently at the top of most Pound- For-Pound rankings in the world. As a 'purist," I find the level of his all around skills not only uncommonly high, but exciting to watch as well. Fighters like "Pretty Boy" don't come around that often.

Erik "El Terrible" Morales, 48 (34 ko's)4, "Macho time" for real. In fact, his propensity to brawl even when unnecessary (he is an excellent boxer) creates a vulnerability that simply adds to the already considerable excitement factor. The last round of his first fight with Manny Pacquiao speaks volumes about Morales. He will always fight to the level of the fight and if it's a brawl, then that's the way he will go. Indeed, he has stated explicitly that he always wants to "excite the fans."

Manny "PacMan" Pacquiao, 41 (33 ko's) -3-2, Probably the most exciting fighter in the sport of boxing today. Simply put, he is a warrior. Rarely in a boring fight, this tough crowd pleasing Filipino has knocked out both future hall of Famers Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. If he stays focused and continues to train hard, his chances for induction into the Hall will be high, indeed. A rubber match with Morales has been scheduled and the excitement meter is rapidly moving toward 100.

Honorable mention:

David Diaz, 32 (17)-1-1 is one of the best kept secrets in boxing. This former Olympian has been delighting his hardcore Chicago fans since 1996. His nationally televised sensational 10th round ko of Jose Armando Santa Cruz for the WBC Lightweight Interim Title on August 12 put him on everyone's radar sceen and they liked what they saw. And as ring magazine pointed out in its latest edition, "we haven't heard the HBO team so shocked into silence since Mickey Ward vs. Alfonso Sanchez." That in itself made me a big fan of this exciting "never say die" warrior.

Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz, 30 (15 ko's)-0, The "Baby Bull" assumes a bull-like approach to his opponents. With tremendous hand speed and punching volume, complimenting his aggressiveness and great body punching, he creates continual excitement in the ring . However, he has often been criticized because of his inability to ko his opponents out. Nevertheless, he has been somewhat under the radar screen and when more people see him fight, I think they will concur with me that he brings special excitement into the ring.

Roy Jones Jr, 50 (38 ko's )- 4, with the new and very real possibility of being knocked cold, his fights now take on a new dimension...almost a cat and mouse quality. What happens if he gets hit with a bomb? For me, that adds up to excitement, particularly with what he already brings to the table. Altogether an intriguing, if not compelling situation.

Wladimir Klitchko, 46 (41 ko's) - 3, You never know what can happen at any time and that makes him exciting enough for near inclusion on my list. Against Peter, he was down 3 times though he prevailed. Against any heavy hitter, he may be in danger and issues about stamina linger. Yet, like Gatti, his fights will fill the area a to capacity and there is a reason for that. Barley missed inclusion on the above list.

Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga, 28 (23 ko's)- 6 -1, his fights with Andrew Lewis, Forrest, Trinidad and De La Hoya indicate that he will always excite, whether in defeat or victory. Explosive brawler who can close things out decisively if he gets his opponent hurt. Mucho macho and lot's of courage, but may not have much left in the tank.

Edwin "Dinamita" Valero, 20 (20 ko's) - 0, 19 of this Venezuelan's 20 ko's have been in the first round! In 20 fights he has only fought 30 rounds! Now that's excitement. The problem is it doesn't last long enough to really enjoy. Not enough rounds to get top billing here, but it's really not his fault.

Paul "The Punisher" Williams, 31 (23 ko's) - 0, The younster put on a spectacular performance last time out against Shamba Mitchell but there been little news since. I think he has all the tools in his arsenal to give the big guns serious problems in the 147 division. Williams v. Quintana would answer a lot of questions. Williams vs. Judah would be interesting as well. But I think his best bet may be with Kermit Cintron and Margarito, of course, looms. All of this this makes for much excitement as does his freakish height and reach along with solid skills.

Note: Arturo "Thunder" Gatti would be included, but it's not yet clear if he has retired. Based on this, I left him off the list, but if he decides to fight on, he has a place waiting for him between Corrales and Hatton.

“I felt very excited to know that here I am training, knowing that I'm healthy. And I was feeling healthy, but you never know what's going on inside your body. I just didn't know what was going on. I was feeling good, but sometimes, because I have a big heart, my attitude is I always feel good. I don't want to go to the hospital for nothing.” Arturo Gatti

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@adelphia.net

Article posted on 25.09.2006



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