Boxing


The Future of the Heavyweight Division: Vol: 2

20.02.06 - By Troy Ondrizek: Three months ago I started following some of todayís young prospects in the heavyweight division. I believe this service is always warranted in knowing the future of the sport. However, in regards to heavyweight prospects, it is the only reason why we should still follow the division; for the division lacks any excitement or promise with the majority of itís big players out today. Lamon Brewster and Wladimir Klitschko are the rare bright spots, they wonít be around forever and we need for these young guys to step up and take over. I put seven fighters up on the last list and another six this time. Out of these thirteen fighters, maybe only five will ever contend for a title, and out of those five, two might be champions. Though two might only be champions, all have the possibility of giving us exciting fights and are able to resurrect the heavyweight division. That is what makes following them at a young age integral for us fans to get to know them on a personal level, and for the exposure they need to develop through bigger fights. So just like a high-school graduation, I introduce you to the future of leaders of the WorldÖ. I mean the heavyweight division..

Scott Gammer: 15-0-1 8KOís

Scott is a little old at twenty-nine to really be labeled a prospect, but heavyweights do mature later in their careers. He didnít turn pro until twenty-five; so he is a little behind on the times, but is making up for it with his recent bouts. Gammer is probably the best boxer out of Britainís heavyweights; with the exception of Audley Harrison. Gammer, unlike Harrison isnít afraid to throw a punch and take one too. He carries victories over the typical British journeymen. He has defeated Julius Francis, the one-time prospect, Mark Krence, a solid heavyweight who will go nowhere, and Michael Steeds; who has turned into a decent prospect himself. Gammer fights best at a lighter weight, somewhere between 215 and 220. He has been a little heavy is his last couple of bouts. Scott has a bout scheduled for April against Matt Skelton for the British Heavyweight Title. That fight will only go off if Skelton loses to Williams; because Danny isnít eligible for the British heavyweight crown. However, I just watched Sinan Samil Sam and Danny Williams, and Skelton reminds me of Sam; just in a lot better shape. So I actually see a similar outcome for that fight. If Skelton does beat Williams, then Gammer will be looking for a new opponent; because Skelton will be fighting a big money fight instead.

Chris Arreola: 13-0-0 11KOís

Chris is a big boy at 6í4Ē and 255lbs. He could stand to lose some adipose tissue and come in a little lighter, but not much lighter. As advertised he carries a heavy hand. His only victory over a tested fighter of any kind is Dominic Jenkins. Jenkins in his own right is earning a name by being a stepping stone for young fighters and did a quality job of disposing Malcolm Tann from the land of prospects. Other than Jenkins, Arreola has beaten up on no-hopers, fattening his record like a grizzly bear feasting on spawning salmon. Chris has good power as previously stated, but needs rounds to develop ring savvy and some boxing skills. He has a supposed fight on March 3rd; we will see at that time exactly how far he has come along. It will be a couple of years before he makes some noise on a world level.

Alonzo Butler: 21-0-1 16Koís

Butler has beaten everyone he can in Tennessee. It is time for him to expand his horizons and shrink his waistline. We just witnessed the ďBig ZoĒ on Friday Night Fights. He showed us a new finishing punch in his repertoire that rivals Floyd Pattersonís Gazelle punch for effectiveness. I am referring to the ďass punchĒ that Butler delivered to Terry Porter; that knocked Porter out of the ring and the fight. Alonzo does possess a very nice one-two combination that ends with a thunderous right cross to the opponents face. He seems to forget that not all fighters are floating heads; there is actually a body connected to them. As soon as he realizes this, then a lot of his opponents will be in grave danger. We wonít know how good Butler is until he actually steps up his competition, but he has the power and size to carry him a ways. Plus he is fighting again this coming weekend. A pace like this will go far in helping him develop as a fighter.

Taras Bidenko: 16-2-0 9KOís

Taras is a twenty-six prospect from Ukraine, who fights out of Germany. Now he is the only fighter who carries a loss on his record on this list. He is also the most accomplished fighter on this list. His first loss came in his fourth fight; when his management team used their collective genius to pit him against Nicolay Valuev; it was Valuevís 29th career fight. Bidenko went the distance with the WBA champ. It wasnít for some time did Taras collect his second loss. It was against another undefeated fighter in Vladimir Virchis. Bidenko handily out-boxed Virchis for the entire fight when he unwittingly stood in front of the powerful Virchis and was stopped in the 12th round. Despite those two blemishes; both of which Bidenko had nice performances; Bidenko has garnered some quality wins. He has beaten two solid European heavyweights in Konstantin Onofrei and Nuri Seferi. His most recent victory came against Aldo Colliander, who was another undefeated fighter with good size and better skills. However, the fight was boring, and Bidenko came away with an easy UD victory. Taras has no fight in the immediate future, but look out for him on the European circuit.

Chazz Witherspoon: 9-0-0 6KOís

At 6í4Ē and 226lbs Chazz is a solid fighter who always comes into fights around the same weight, much like the Klitschko brothers. Witherspoon, you recognize that name, you should. He is related to probably the most talented Heavyweight in the 80ís; yes I just said that. Tim Witherspoon was more talented that Larry Holmes and could be argued about against Mike Tyson; just Tim was much, much, much lazier than Holmes and Tyson. Anyways, that is another argument; unlike his family member, Chazz is very dedicated to his craft and is always impressive in the ring. It is too early to tell how far he will go, for Chazz hasnít fought any real competition and only has nine pro fights. He does look better than most fighters with nine fights, and is from Philadelphia, where two other young heavyweights reside, in Malik Scott, and Eddie Chambers. Iím sure at some point all three will spar and eventually face each other in the ring. Chazz has a chance to be something special and is someone we need to keep an eye on. Chazz has a fight on March 3rd; remember that date for both Witherspoon and Arreola will be fighting on that night.

Ruslan Chagaev: 19-0-1 16KOís

If you have followed boxing relatively closely over the past three months, then this is a name you have heard of. Chagaev is another quality European fighter that is helping lead the way to erase American fighters from the title landscape. Chagaev has an impressive amateur background, he even holds a victory over Audley Harrison, and is rumored to have defeated Cuban legend Felix Savon. With that aside, he has blazed a pro trail littered with remains of former prospects. Chagaev is a powerful southpaw that has left Mark Krence and Rob Calloway sprawled out on the canvas, and Sherman Williams barely stood in there for the full eight rounds. Chageavís draw came against Rob Calloway early in his career, when Calloway who was barely conscious suffered a cut that was deemed accidental, and it was before the fourth round. Chagaev got his revenge this past January filling in for an injured Alexander Dimitrenko and subsequently leveled Calloway. Chagaev isnít taking on easy fighters either; he has a bout scheduled against undefeated power-puncher Vladimir Virchis on March 11th. The winner of that fight will be ranked high by the WBO and could set themselves up for a title shot later this year on early next year. Chagaev will be a contender for some time. His solid boxing skills and heavy left hand will give many fighters trouble. I personally canít wait until Ruslan and Vladimir square off.

Now letís look at the past prospects and how they have faired since November 18th.

Alexander Dimitrenko: Hasnít fought since. He had a fight with Rob Calloway fall through due to injury. Dimitrenko is scheduled to fight April 8th.

Malik Scott: Has defeated Dennis McKinney and Kendrick Releford by UD. Releford was a good win for him. No fight scheduled.

Eddie Chambers: Just defeated Andrew Greely last weekend; no fight coming up.

B.J. Flores: Beat Jermell Barnes. Might be going down to cruiserweight, has a fight on April 15th for the bogus WBF cruiserweight title.

Michael Marrone: Has defeated Curtis Taylor, and is fighting on Friday Night Fights this week.

Jason Estrada: Out-pointed tough Najee Shaheed and received a NC for a cut caused by an accidental headbutt against Yangui Diaz this past Sunday on ESPN.

Alexander Povetkin: Has beaten Willie Chapman and has a fight with 17-1 Richard Bango on March 4th.

Iíll see you guys in three months and weíll review the legitimacy of these fighters as contenders.

photo: F.Weber/boxing.de

Article posted on 21.02.2006



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