27.06.06 - By Dan Horgan: As every fight fan knows, deciding who is a contender and who isn’t is an extremely difficult task. Fighters, unlike other athletes, can’t perform everyday, so separating the contenders from the over-hyped frauds becomes quite subjective. But instead of just sitting back and saying that we don’t know if a fighter is for real or not, we as boxing fans debate, and debate until we are proven wrong in the fights themselves---it’s what makes following this sport so much fun.
Being privileged enough to share my point of view with all of the ESB readers, I have come up with an overrated-underrated list that hopefully will spark some good-natured debate on the message boards. These types of lists make some fans want to punch the computer screen in anger while others can’t agree more with what the writer has to say. While reading this list, all I ask is one thing: don’t claim I know nothing about boxing because you disagree with my point of view. Respect my opinion and realize that I am backing up my claims with facts, not bias.
Rodney Jones - The fact that most readers of this article will not recognize this man’s name is an absolute tragedy. One of the most sound technicians in the game today, the junior middleweight Jones has lost only once in his past 33 fights. All this guy needs is to fight a big name on a big stage to show the world how great he is.
If you’re looking for a fighter to compare this guy to, look at Winky Wright two and half years ago. Jones, like Wright, is a crafty southpaw who simply beats who is put in front of him. Also, Jones fought to a close majority decision against Harry Simon just like Wright did before he made it big.
HIS COMING OUT PARTY WILL BE….
Jones right now is the IBF’s number one contender. If Cory Spinks can take Roman Karmarzin’s title this July, then Jones will be first in line to fight him. This will give him the big name fight that he deserves.
Terry Smith - It’s easy to see why Smith is not on the heavyweight radar screen as his level of competition has been absolutely putrid. 14 out of his 29 opponents have either had losing records or have yet to win, and some of his opponents with winning records have been on huge losing streaks when they fought him. Nevertheless, this man can fight. With a strong jab and aggressive style, Smith has become one the division’s toughest men to beat. Just ask Calvin Brock who had the toughest fight of his career against Smith who took the fight on just two weeks notice.
HIS COMING OUT PARTY WILL BE….
Smith is going to need a lucky break in order to get a big fight. While he does not bring a big name to the ring, he brings a huge threat to beat anyone in the division. Thus, not many of the top fighters will want to fight him. However, Smith is just the type of guy that often goes over to Germany to fight a big prospect. He does not have great knockout power, and the decisions there tend to favor the home town fighters, so a promoter may want his prospect to get the experience against such a tough guy. If Smith can land one of the big name European prospects (Alexander Dimitrenko, Ruslan Chagaev, etc.), then, with a little luck, he may finally put himself in the heavyweight picture with a big win.
Carlos Baldomir - It drives me crazy that even when this guy becomes the welterweight champion of the world, he still can’t get any respect. In the first defense of his title, he will be taking on fan favorite Atturo Gatti in which should be a good action fight. Gatti is a top ten contender who looked great in his last outing against Thomas Damgaard, but the fact that people are even giving him a chance in this fight is completely disrespectful to Baldomir. Baldomir is simply on another level than Gatti. He has yet to lose since 1998, and his win over Zab Judah should have proved that to the world that he is one of the best in the game. However, experts and fans alike still don’t recognize his excellence as they make it seem as though his fight with Gatti this summer will actually be close.
HIS COMING OUT PARTY WILL BE…
Baldomir’s coming out party was against Judah, but with a dominant win over Gatti (which you can expect) he will finally get the respect he deserves.
Ann Wolfe - Ann should be a famous star right now, yet her total earnings in her 24 fights equals a scant 20 thousand dollars. Perhaps the best pound for pound fighter in the game today, Wolfe is forced to show off her talent on the under cards of small shows down south.
With her aggressive style, and her willingness to fight anyone, Wolfe should be headlining nationally televised main events. Her fight against formerly undefeated Vonda Ward (who was the heavyweight champion moving down to fight Wolfe for the light heavyweight championship) in which Wolfe knocked Ward out in less than a minute should have given Wolfe the credit and respect she deserves, yet most readers of this article won’t recognize her name!
HER COMING OUT PARTY WILL BE….
If Laila Ali or Leatitia Robinson ever get up the guts to step in the ring with Wolfe, then Wolfe will finally be on a big stage where she can showoff her exceptional ability. Mark my words: if Wolfe were ever to fight either of them, it would end early with Wolfe on top.
Simeon Dunwell - While the likes of Vicente Escobedo and Rock Allen have the privilege of showing off their talent on national television, probably the best lightweight prospect in the world, Simeon Dunwell, is forced to fight on small New England cards in front of small crowds. With one of the fastest set of hands I have ever seen, Dunwell will be forced to climb the lightweight ladder slowly because of his lack of exposure. Too bad, because the world will be missing out on what could be a future champion.
HIS COMING OUT PARTY WILL BE….
Dunwell has a long way to go before he becomes ranked, but as soon as he is nationally televised, he will impress everyone watching and end up getting the attention of the big name promoters.
Brian Minto - Somehow, the boxing world seems to think that Brian Minto can be a player in the heavyweight division which is simply absurd. How can a man who loses to a 46 year old Tony Tubbs be taken seriously? Minto has no credible wins, and whenever he steps up in competition even a little bit (Vinny Madalone, Billy Zumbrum) he is in a life and death fight.
HIS DOWNFALL WILL BE….
Minto’s next fight is against a blown up light-heavyweight with a padded record, so he should keep his status up for a bit longer. However, as soon as Minto steps in the ring with a top twenty contender, he will be exposed.
Rock Allen - Despite the fact that Allen is a physical specimen and a good puncher, he is far too one-dimensional to become a champion. All he is capable of doing is power punching, and in order to be a contender, one needs to do much more than that!
HIS DOWNFALL WILL BE…
As soon as Allen faces a slick, experienced boxer, he will be out-pointed. Anyone with elusiveness and a good jab will give him trouble.
Antonio Magarito - Is he an incredible puncher at 147 pounds? Yes. Is he a top 5 welterweight in the world? Yes. Does he belong in the same ring with Floyd Mayweather? No way!
Fans and writers alike have been calling for a match between Antonio Magarito and Floyd Mayweather for about a year now, and I have no idea why! How is Magarito any different from guys like Joshua Clottey and Joel Julio? He is a top welterweight, but he simply isn’t on the same level as Mayweather! He has been in with very soft competition (almost every fighter he’s fought have since been knocked by lesser opponents), he is very one-dimensional, and to top it all off, he’s lost very recently! The fact that so many fans would give Magarito a chance to beat Mayweather makes him very overrated in my book.
HIS DOWNFALL WILL BE…
Magarito has been built up as this devastating machine that can give Floyd Mayweather the fight of his life. However, what will shock fans and critics alike is when he loses to someone other than Mayweather. Personally, I think that Joel Julio, Joshua Clottey, and Ricky Hatton would all beat him, and I wouldn’t count out Carlos Baldomir if they were ever to fight. However, don’t expect Magarito to face anyone good too soon. His next title defense will likely be against Felix Flores or Sharmba Mitchell