Michael Hunter Stops A Grossly Out Of Shape Ignacio Esparza In Mexico

By James Slater - 03/25/2024 - Comments

In a fight that flew almost completely under the radar, heavyweight contender Michael Hunter pounded out a fourth round corner retirement win over Mexico’s Ignacio Esparza on Saturday, the fight taking place in Zapopan, Mexico. And 35 year old Hunter just might have been in the ring with the most completely out of shape, hog-fat fighter you will have the misfortune of seeing this year.

There is simply no other way of describing Esparza’s physical appearance, his belly swollen, the flab everywhere. Hunter, who seems to be the “forgotten man” of the heavyweight division, had nothing to beat on Saturday night, and he won with ease, banging away at Esparza as he was stuck on the ropes in a corner. At the end of the fourth round, Esparza’s team pulled their man out. He should not have been in the ring in the first place.

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Hunter is now 22-1-2(16). Esparza falls to 23-4(13).

Hunter, having his first fight since September of last year, has been in the ring with some big names, such as Martin Bakole (a stoppage win for Hunter), Oleksandr Usyk (a loss, down at cruiserweight, this Hunter’s sole defeat), and Alexander Povetkin (a draw). Hunter’s last fight of any real prominence was his December 2021 fight with Jerry Forrest, where Hunter was lucky to have escaped with a draw instead of a points loss.

Now, at age 35, after so many wasted months, can Hunter, a good fighter, still do anything of real note at heavyweight? Speaking with RingTV.com prior to Saturday’s bout, Hunter said he aims to “make up for lost time and get back in the rankings.” Hunter also told Ring that he feels he is still in his prime. Hunter wants a chance against another big name.

“I’ll fight Bakole again. I’d like to fight Anthony Joshua,” Hunter said. “The best fight for me would be Bakole. There are a few other guys I would like to fight, including Jared Anderson.”

But will any of these fighters wish to risk it by taking on Hunter, a man who could be described as the ultimate ‘big risk, little reward’ fighter of the current heavyweight division? Hunter feels he is in his prime but at the same time he has a lot of catching up to do. Scarcely anyone will have even seen Saturday’s fight, and Hunter really does need to up his current profile.

A rematch with Bakole would be interesting, Hunter being the only man to have beaten Bakole, while young gun Anderson would be taking a step up if he fought Hunter. Certainly, Hunter needs no more fights/opponents like the one he got on Saturday in Mexico.