26.02.09 – By Coach Tim Walker – The Contender ends with a bang as Troy Ross (21-1-0 15 KOs) of Canada by way of Guyana gets the technical knockout of Ehinomen “Hino” Ehikhamenor (15-4-0) in the fourth round of the finale to become the fourth Contender Champion. Previous Contender Champions include Sergio Mora, Grady Brewer and Sakio Bika. Out of growing frustrations with the series’ format, which does not show fights in their entirety until the finals, many boxing fans don’t tune in but this was by far the best season. It showcased the lack luster cruiserweight division which has historically struggled to find its place in the boxing world.. Big men who are a bit too small for the giants of the heavyweight division and little too bulky to get down to 175 pound light heavyweight division.
This season turned out to be a pleasant surprise by attracting a few significant names within the division: Rico Hoye, Felix Cora Junior and Darnel Wilson. Previous seasons had not been able to attract many fighters who had progressed substantially in their careers. In a division that does not have many stars and virtually no superstars Ross seems primed to make some noise.
Ross, a former two-time Olympian, has struggled getting fights since turning pro in 2001. Primarily because he boxes with a disciplined southpaw style that is founded on a piston like jab. Couple that with his obvious power and you have a guy who can compete with the likes of Adamek, Cunningham, Bell and Braithwaite. He is a well spoken guy with a humble persona.
In my mind he has the makings of a world champion. I think he needs 2 or 3 more preparation fights but then should mix it up well with the big guns. One thing for certain is that upper level fighters won’t be able to use lack of notoriety as an excuse to not fight him anymore.
The embarrassing moment of the night was Ross getting undeserved catcalls from attendees. He represents the sport well and remained humble even in the glow of posting 3 knockouts in his four Contender series wins.
Final note: How awesome would a bout between Troy Ross and BJ Flores be? Sign me up!