Brewster, Chambers, McCall, Johnson And More American Heavweights Coming Alive
11.05.09 - By Paul McCreath: The past few months have been pretty quiet on the American heavyweight front with few fights and even fewer success stories. Now at last we are about to see some action and perhaps some hope for the future. The first of these bouts will be seen on ESPN on Friday May 15 when unbeaten Kevin Johnson (21-0-1 with 8 KOs) meets another unbeaten fighter in Devin Vargas (17-0-0 and 7 KOs). Devin was a two time National Golden Gloves champ and won the National championship as well in 2003 at 201 pounds. He is filling in for the injured Monte Barrett who was originally set to meet Johnson.. Devin has no big names on his record yet so this is a gutsy step up to meet a fighter who many feel is America's best young hope at heavyweight. Neither fighter is a big puncher so expect a distance fight with Johnson the favourite to grab a decision mainly through the use of his fine jab. Maybe if we are lucky we will see some sign of developing power as well.
One day later in Raleigh North Carolina the unbeaten Donnell Holmes (30-0-2 with 26 KOs) has a soft touch against Ryan Thompson (9-7-0 and 6 KOs). Don't expect anything important from Holmes who has been around for years and is just padding his record. An interesting trivial fact is that a win in this one will pull Holmes to within 5 wins of tying Faruq Saleem with the longest unbeaten streak among current heavyweights. Saleem is 38-0-0 with 32 KOs. These two fighters are an example of what is wrong with world boxing today. Too many boxers are more interested in protecting their records rather than taking meaningful, competative fights that the fans want to see.
On May 22 in Vegas we will see the return of the aging veteran former belt holder Oliver McCall (51-9-0 and 36 KOs) against Aussie John Hopoate (11-2-0 and 11 KOs). Oliver in spite of his age should win this one and he is hoping that a good showing here will lead to an early chance against a name fighter like Chris Arreola. McCall's son Elijah will also appear on this card in his 4th pro fight. He has 2 wins and a draw so far and shows some promise. You can see one of his early bouts on Youtube.
May 23 in Cincinnati we will see Olympian Deontay Wilder go for his 5th straight KO win against Charles Brown who brings an uninspiring 6-15-1 record with 3 KOs. That is pretty bad but his experience could cause Wilder a few problems although I expect not for too long.
Things get really active on May 30.In Finland former belt holder Lamon Brewster (35-4-0 with 30 KOs) meets TBA on the undercard of the Chagaev-Valuev match. Lamon is now signed with the German promoter Sauerland and is staying busy while waiting for another chance at a big match. In Reading PA top prospect Travis Kauffman (16-0-0 with 13 KOs) meets veteran Livin Castillo (14-6-0 with 9 KOs). Castillo has been stopped by Eddie Chambers, Bruce Seldon, Alex Povetkin and Oleg Maskaev so he is no stranger to name fighters but he doesn't beat them. His best win was in 2004 when he outpointed tricky vet Robert Hawkins in 6 rounds. Travis should add another KO to his list of victims. In Florida another much talked about novice prospect Tor Hamer looks for win number 6 against TBA. Some think Hamer is a coming champion.
On June 20 up in Alberta big flop Tye Fields (41-2-0 with 37 KOs) returns to action against Nicolai Firtha (16-5-1 with 7 KOs). Fields showed us his limited future when he was blasted out in one round by Monte Barrett last June in a nationally telecast bout. He should have enough to win this one but he is strictly a minor leager in spite of his 41-2 record.
Finally we get to Eddie Chambers. Nothing is set yet but he has been mentioned as the first choice as an opponent for Alex Dimitrenko in an WBO title eliminator for July 4 in Hamburg, Germany. Dare we hope?
Denis Boytsov is not an American but he is a young Russian that I believe Americans are going to get interested in very soon so I will mention him anyway. Denis is a fine young slugger with a 24-0-0 and 19 KO record who will meet his stiffest test so far on June 6 when he collides with the veteran Taras Bidenko (26-2-0 with 12 KOs) in Germany. Bidenko once gave Nicolay Valuev all he could handle and was leading against contender Vlad Virchis until stopped in the late rounds. He also outpointed Michael Sprott. He is a slick boxer who will severely test Boytsov.