Boxing - The Undefeated Heavyweights - Dimitrenko, Mesi, Valuev, Walker, Chambers, Scott...etc.
(Joe Mesi, pictured here, after stopping George Linberger in February 2007) 11.04.07 - By Paul McCreath: Having an undefeated record does not make a fighter unbeatable nor does it make him the best in his division. For that matter, it does not even make him a good prospect. What it does do, however, is attract the attention of the fans and usually the big promoters. We all wonder, how good is he really? How good will he be in a year or two? Is he a future boxing champion or in the case of the woeful heavyweights, is he the savior of the division? Today, we will look at the heavyweights with the longest unbeaten records and try to predict what their future may hold. Keep in mind, these are not necessarily the best right now or the best hopes for the future.
Article posted on 11.04.2007
Nicolay Valuev currently holds the longest unbeaten streak. The WBA beltholder is 46-0-0 with 34 KOs and 1 no contest. This Russian 33-year-old giant may be around for awhile yet. His size alone - 7 feet tall and around 330 pounds - will make him very hard to beat.
His next match, this weekend against mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev will be his sternest test yet, but he should retain his title by decision.
Joe Mesi is number two with a 34-0-0 record, including 27 KOs. Mesi is a 33-year-old former top boxing contender, who is trying to restart his career after a serious head injury suffered in his win over Jirov caused him to sit idle for two years. Now a year into his comeback, Mesi does not seem to be making much progress. He has five wins so far over soft opposition. His next foe for this weekend is the worst yet, from my perspective. Marvin Hill has been KO'd eight times, including a first round stoppage by George Linberger, whom Mesi just stopped in one round.
Number three is Eddie Chambers, a 25-year-old Chris Byrd clone with a 28-0-0 record and 16 KOs. On the small side, like Byrd, Chambers combines some of the style of Byrd with a touch of James Toney thrown in for good measure. His size may limit his potential, unfortunately for him. At 6 foot 1 and around 215 pounds, he could probably make the cruiserweight limit, but prefers, like Byrd, to try the big guys. Next up, is his first serious test, Dominick Guinn on May 4. If Chambers can get by the former top prospect, Guinn, he may well be in title contention in another year or so. As it is, he is currently the highest rated young American prospect.
Next, at #4, is Malik Scott, who brings a 27-0-0 log with only 10 KOs. A 26-year-old former national champ in the amateur ranks, Malik has been a top prospect for some time now. At 6 foot 4 and around 245 pounds, he has the size and skills to go along way but seems satisfied to spin his wheels winning dull decisions over outclassed and lesser skilled boxing opposition. As of now, he is scheduled to fight again May 5th, in Vegas but no rival has been named. We can likely guess what that will mean as far as the quality of this fight is concerned. Malik is still young,but he needs to make a move now.
Jean Francois Bergeron,a Canadian, comes in at #5. He has a 26-0-0 record with 19 KOs and is 33-years of age. Bergeron has fast hands and looked a good prospect about three years ago but his career has been interrupted by injuries. Considering his age, he is running out of time. He has nothing scheduled at this time although a few months ago there was talk of a bout with Valuev. We should see a big step up soon. He was a good amateur so there is potential there.
Donnell Holmes has the sixth longest streak with 26 wins and two draws. Already 34-years-old, he appears to have wasted his chances. After signing with Don King some time ago, there was talk of a title shot with Chris Byrd but nothing happened then and very little since. We can probably write off Donnell as a might have been.
Alexander Dimitrenko, based in Germany but from Ukraine, is next at #7 with a 25-0-0 record and 15 KOs. Just 24-years-old and 6'7" and around 250 pounds, this young lad has talent. A world boxing champ as an amateur in 2000, he has been brought along very carefully by his promoters. The one question mark seems to be his chin, which may turn out to be Ok. Until he meets tougher opposition and catches a few good ones, we won't know for sure. He was offered a European title shot against Krasniqi for May 19 but turned it down. We should see him finally make his move sometime this year.
Roman Greenberg,an Israeli, is #8 with 25 strait wins including 17 KOs. Only 24-years-old and a former Junior Olympic champion, Roman is looked at as a bright prospect though, perhaps, overprotected. Like Malik Scott, he is inclined to coast through bouts rather than go for the KO he could likely get. He has nothing scheduled just now but should be moving into the upper ratings in the near future.
#9 is JD Chapman, who also has 25 wins, 22 by KO. Chapman did not have an extensive amateur career so he has been brought along very slowly, learning on the go as a pro. He will need to continue this approach and is likely about two years from title contention if he continues to improve. It is really too soon to predict his chances. He is 24-years-old. Next up is James Walton, a much smaller but experienced journeyman, who is not likely to prove much one way or the other.
#10, is Alonzo Butler and another big guy at over 250 pounds. Alonzo is mostly piling up wins over tomato cans and has not looked sharp lately. Don't count on much happening here. He is 25-0-1 with 18 KOs but it means very little.
David Rodriguez at #11 is more of the same. Rather idle the past two years, he is presently at 24-0-0 with 23 KOs. He is 29-years-old and living proof that a great record on paper does not mean a great fighter.
Finally, rounding out our top dozen unbeaten streaks is Travis Walker, with 23 wins and 1 draw along with 17 KOs. Travis was the National Golden Gloves champ in 2003 but has been a bit less impressive as a pro. He did defeat former three-time national champion Jason Estrada last year, so there may be hope yet, but he is a work in progress. He does seem more willing to step up than most young heavies, so perhaps, he will improve with time. Right now, he is still pretty green and probably at least a year and one half away from the top 10. He needs to develop a jab.
That about does it. Some are good,some are promising and some are closer to being a lost cause but these are the 12 longest active streaks in the heavyweight division.
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