The Future of the Heavyweight Division Vol.5

22.11.06 - By Troy Ondrizek: As the revolving door continues to spin with alphabet champions running in and out; we cannot wait until the future of the division arrives. Well that means its time again to look at three more candidates to see if they got the goods to be a true contender..

This time around we follow a very obscure and slightly elderly fighter from the islands, a young raw fighter who just showcased his skills on Showtime, and possible stud from the rich heavyweight breeding grounds of New York State. We also will take a look back at past candidates and see what they have or have not accomplished since gracing us with their prospect presence.

Kertson Manswell (12-0-0 11 KOs)

kertson manswellNow this is the long shot of the group, but he has been fairly impressive of late. Manswell started the year off with stopping the Vinny Maddalone of the island nations in Curtis Murray. Murray was undefeated at the time, but has since lost to another slugger in Claudio Rasco.

Manswell then garnered another half-decent victory against Louis Monaco. If you have paid any attention to past installments of this series, then Monaco is a name that is often on the list of victories for prospects. However, unlike a lot of other prospects, Manswell stopped Monaco and now stands with guys like Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, and the enigma Lance Whitaker who have accomplished the same feat.

Manswell though really enters this list because last month the Trinidadian slugger finally went the distance with the declining but still durable Corey Sanders. Sanders came in overweight and was underproductive as Manswell couldíve been busier but he carried the pace throughout. Actually Manswell looked about as good as Eliecer Castillo and Timo Hoffman did in their victories over Sanders. Now this isnít the Corrie Sanders that stopped Wladimir Klitschko, but it is the Corey Sanders that KOíd current WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in eight.

So this is a good win for someone with so few fights. Kertson Manswell is a little old at 30, but heavyweights do mature later. Manswell comes from seemingly limited boxing background, but he has fought four times this year and against progressively better opponents. At 6í4Ē and roughly 235, the man is in shape and when he lets his hands go, he is dangerous, hopefully weíll see him soon, but most likely it will be in Germany and he will most likely be set up for someone like Dieter Roth.

Travis Walker (22-0-1 17KOs)

Travis Walker is a prospect I have been keeping my eye on for some time wondering when the hell he was going to fight a live opponent. Finally Walker gave me something to talk about when he signed to fight 2004 Olympic represenative Jason Estrada. Walker was a very accomplished amateur for being such a crude boxer. Over time he has worked on timing and landing his big right hand. Not too much has changed over the years with his style, he knows how to fight, but itís not intuitive for him yet. Walker showed moments of skill in his victory over Estrada, and moments of utter inexperience, for upper-echelon fighters would pound him mercilessly when Walker would lunge forward head first to land a punch.

Walker has a solid jab and previously mentioned a big right hand, but he needs work, but so does every prospect. Walker with this high profile win will land some more fights and hopefully some better training will be down the road for him as well. Its time for the 6í4Ē Walker to get some momentum going in his career. Walker wasnít overly impressive in victory, but believe it or not, Estrada is a tactically difficult opponent to fight. There are no talks of any immediate fights, but I would like to see him again, maybe against guys like Alonzo Butler or David Rodriquez.

Derrick Rossy (14-0-0 8 KOs)

Rossy made his first blip onto my radar when he stopped rugged Gary Bell earlier this year. Bell was a much more experienced fighter who has wins over Jameel McCline, Robert Hawkins, and the honorable Louis Monaco. However, Bellís biggest fight was up against a prime Davis Tua, and Tua stopped him in one. After that respectable win over Bell, Rossy fought cannon fodder for a couple of fights until he recently met up with Shannon Miller. The very Shannon Miller who combined with Vinny Maddalone gave us the best heavyweight fight last year on free cable. Miller turned that experience into a decent boxing career until Rossy derailed him.

Now Rossy is a little bigger than I would like him to be, but heís not too bad weight-wise. Rossy is however thankfully very busy, fighting five times this year so far. I like this pace for the young man, as he needs to learn how to finish opponents once he knows he can beat them. Besides that, Rossy would be a handful for guys like J.D. Chapman or Malik Scott, while still out-classed by those two, Rossy is closing the gap quickly. There is no tentative fight on the schedule, but expect to see him more often in the next year.

Its reflection time, as we look back at past fighters and their progress. We will start with the six men who are making their last appearance on this list, these men range from a current WBA mandatory challenger to a fighter that is rawer than uncooked meat.

Scott Gammer: Out-pointed Michael Steeds for the second time in his career. A fight with Danny Williams is still being talked about, but something needs to materialize soon.

Chris Arreola: Followed up his solid victory over Damian Norris with a breakout stoppage win over previously undefeated Damian Wills. Arreola has nothing on the immediate horizon, but hopefully something soon.

Alonzo Butler: Hasnít fought since his embarrassing performance on ESPN and has nothing in the pipeline. Butler is starting to resemble Farug Saleem.

Taras Bidenko: The crafty boxer added a TKO win over toughman Andreas Sidon since we reviewed him last. Bidenko is starting to create a buzz about him and a rematch with EBU champion Vladimir Virchis to avenge a previous loss would be perfect for him.

Chazz Witherspoon: The man stays busy Iíll give him that. Two straight 2nd round kayos over Innocent Otukuwu and Earl Ladson doesnít do more than pad the record and Andrew Greeley will only do the same, but like I said Witherspoon is busy.

Ruslan Chagaev: A great year for Chagaev has just been capped off with a solid and surprisingly hard-fought victory over John Ruiz this past weekend has just made Chagaev the mandatory challenger for Nikolay Valuev. Expect to see Chagaev challenge for the WBA strap this coming January instead of unworthy Canadian Jean Francois Bergeron.

J.D. Chapman: Fight with Chauncy Welliver fell through, but he still was able to stop Ray Lunsford in Welliverís absence. Chapman has no immediate fight planned and rumors of retirement are circling about. I havenít talked to the kid in a while to verify that, but the grumblings about it is getting louder.

Kevin Johnson: Johnson decision Demetrice King and Michael Rhodes since we last saw him. Problem with those victories is both guys couldíve been stopped and Johnson still hasnít discovered his right hand. No fight in the immediate future, but a real fight to display this kidís skills would do wonders for him.

Roman Greenberg: Greenberg stopped unheralded Alexei Varakin earlier this month and has a fight on December 9th with Shelby Gross. One day Greenberg will step up in competition now that he signed with Warriors boxing, but for now itís the same old cannon fodder, Greenberg canít avoid guys like Rick Dyer forever.

Jason Gavern: The former cop has been busy as a sparring partner and has made more money at that than fighting in the ring. Gavern will stay a sparring partner for a little longer and until the busy big name season is over. We should see Gavern early to mid next year.

George Garcia: Unanimous decision victory over former cruiserweight journeyman Charles Davis doesnít prove anything. I will admit that Iím a little embarrassed about calling him a prospect; I hope he changes my sentiment shortly. I havenít heard of anything in the near future for Garcia.

Ondrej Pala: The Czech fighter suffered a hometown decision loss to Rene Dettweiler and that was followed by a hometown technical loss to even more popular Denis Boytsov. Apparently Pala has found a niche exposing prospect fighters, too bad he keeps getting tagged with losses over it. Palaís fight was stopped early on a cut that wasnít serious, he was giving Boytsov a stern test and Boytsov needed the refís help in stopping the fight, all of which was to the chagrin of the fight fans ringside. Pala followed the loss to Boytsov up with two stoppage wins against no-hopers. Pala is probably done for the year and will fight again early next year.

Mariusz Wach: Took another technical decision over a fighter not worth mentioning. Wach is scheduled to face Arthur Cook in Poland on December 16th. Wachís previous victory over Cook was a bit controversial and Wach is looking to prove it wasnít a mistake.

Oleg Platov: Stopped Tama Borbely in a keep busy fight in September, and on the Chagaev/Ruiz undercard Platov garnered his biggest career victory over former WBO heavyweight champion Henry Akinwande. Hopefully now Platov can score some decent fights on the European level and contend for a regional title by the mid-year.

As always, you never truly now how these fighters will turn out, and the truth most will become nothing. I do enjoy watching young prospects fight and love to see them develop into a force. So instead declaring that all are unworthy, actually take the time to watch these young guys and formulate an opinion of your own. Until then enjoy the fights and hopefully youíll enjoy these young fightersí fights.

Article posted on 23.11.2006

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