Saturday, 11 May 2013

Losses mean nothing.... well and truly.

One of the biggest shames in modern boxing is the obsession that many boxers and fans have with undefeated records. An undefeated record in today's era is like music to the ears of many promoters, TV executives, and fans alike. The retention of the "0" is of tantamount importance in today's era of divisions over-saturated with world titles. How can fans possibly know who the best fighter is when every fighter holds some kind of title? Simple: Don't lose a fight!

A week doesn't go by without reading somewhere that Floyd Mayweather Jr is not only the greatest fighter of all time but that he would easily beat Sugar Ray Robinson (as well as Henry Armstrong, Willie Pep, Joe Gans, Pernell Whitaker et al.). I, of course, disagree. I don't think Robinson or Armstrong (or 90% of other all-time greats) would have a problem beating Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero, Shane Mosley, Diego Corrales or any other Mayweather opponent. Very few of his opponents will make it into the Hall of Fame, let alone beat a Hall of Fame fighter.

But, this isn't about him. This is about fighters who have plenty of losses on their records yet who, despite fighting in this era, have managed to carve out a career for themselves which in some cases included world title victories.

Here is a list i've compiled of current fighters who have done just fine despite their multiple losses:

- Michael Sprott: 37-20-0 - Recently went the distance with Robert Helenius and defeated Edmund Gerber before that. Has fought all of the top European fighters yet has rarely been stopped in his career. Wins over Danny Williams and Audley Harrison secured his place as one of the top British domestic heavyweights of the past decade.

- Matt Skelton: 28-8-0 - He never made his pro debut until he was thirty-five years old due to him having previously been a kickboxer. Despite this, within six years he had beaten every domestic British heavyweight and won English, British, Commonwealth, and European titles as well as the lightly-regarded WBU title.

- Glen Johnson: 52-18-2 - One of the toughest fighters in history; A modern day Archie Moore. Only stopped once - by Bernard Hopkins in his first ever loss - and has been one of the top light heavyweights throughout his career.

- Firat Arslan: 33-6-2 - Only has six losses in a sixteen year career so not a bad record really. But, i've added him here because he seems to have suffered a bit in his career from bad luck. Last November he arguably beat WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck whilst many thought he should have been given the win against Alexander Alekseev in his fight before that which ended in a draw. His other two losses this past decade were against world class foes.

- Silvio Branco: 62-11-3 - In his twenty-five year career, he has fought from middleweight up to cruiserweight and yet despite being forty-six years old is still one of the top contenders out there. He tends to fall short against the best fighters, but he has challenged a lot of them.

- Ovill McKenzie: 21-11-0 - McKenzie continues to rack up wins at British and Commonwealth level. He's coming off of three good domestic wins and gave Tony Bellew two very tough fights before that.

- Gabriel Rosado: 21-7-0 - Has had his fair share of defeats, but many of which were against world class opposition. For example, his only two knockout losses were at the hands of two heavy-handed fighters in Gennady Golovkin and Alfredo Angulo. Has some good wins on his record too though, against Kassim Ouma, Saul Roman, Jesus Soto Karass, Sechew Powell, and Charles Whittaker. Many people also thought his split decision loss to J'Leon Love recently should have been a win on his record.

- Carlos Molina: 21-5-2 - His record doesn't look too spectacular until you look closer. He defeated Cory Spinks last time out (albeit a past-his-prime Spinks), and was robbed of a victory over James Kirkland a year ago. A win over Kermit Cintron plus draws against Erislandy Lara, and Julio Cesar Chavez are impressive too.

- Randall Bailey: 43-8-0 - Eight losses in seventeen years isn't bad at all but to the untrained eye perhaps it seems a lot. A year ago he was a big underdog against Mike Jones, who only had to win to set up a big world title showdown with Kell Brook, but he won via an eleventh round stoppage over an exhausted Jones. His career has also included a brief reign as WBO light welterweight champion in the late nineties.

- Kendall Holt: 28-6-0 - He is considered the sort of fighter who can upset the favourite. He went the distance with Danny Garcia and Timothy Bradley, and also had two classic bouts against Ricardo Torres - the second of which resulted in him dethroning the WBO light welterweight champion.

- Jesus Soto Karass: 27-8-3 - Another warrior who hardcore fans really appreciate. Had two close fights with undefeated welterweight Mike Jones which he only marginally lost, has wins over Selcuk Aydin and Carson Jones, and rarely gets overawed in the ring.

- Zab Judah: 42-8-0 - I have written this guy off so many times yet he keeps coming back. After his losses to Joshua Clottey and Amir Khan i thought he was finished yet he's managed to remain on the scene and has gone on to defeat Kaizer Mabuza and Vernon Paris, and gave Danny Garcia his toughest fight. He also has a very controversial win over Argentinian puncher Lucas Matthysse.

- DeMarcus Corley: 39-20-1 - To look at that record you'd think he was a journeyman. He held the WBO light welteweight title in the early 2000s briefly but his only significant performance back then was his win over Randall Bailey. Since then he has given countless champions tough fights and even sprung a surprise win a year ago over Paul McCloskey in Northern Ireland.

- Derry Mathews: 32-8-2 - Derry is a very dangerous fighter. He always brings the fight to his opponents and has big wins on the British domestic scene against the likes of Anthony Crolla, Stephen Jennings, Scott Lawton, Matthew Marsh, John Simpson, and Stephen Foster.

- Gamaliel Diaz: 37-10-2 - Hardly the record of a world champion yet that's what he was until recently. He dethroned WBC super featherweight champion Takahiro Ao in Japan via a unanimous decision but lost it to another Japanese fighter, Takashi Miura, last month. Also has wins at featherweight over Robert Guerrero and Elio Rojas.

- Rocky Juarez: 29-10-1 - His ten losses have come in the last eight years, yet despite this he gained a victory over Antonio Escalante last time out. During this time he went the distance twice with longtime champion Chris John, and twice with Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera, as well as reaching the final bell against Juan Manuel Marquez, Jorge Linares, and Humberto Soto. He also has wins over several good fighters and has never been stopped.

- John Simpson: 25-9-0 - Simpson is one of those British fighters whose record means absolutely nothing - nine losses or twenty losses, it doesn't matter. The guy always enters the ring with the same enthusiasm. He's notched up wins against very good domestic opposition in Paul Appleby, Martin Lindsay, Paul Truscott, Andy Morris, and most recently Choi Tseveenpurev.

- Jhonny Gonzalez: 54-8-0 - The losses on his record are deceiving, as four of them came in the first three years of his career whilst the other four are spaced out over eleven years. He has beaten some very good fighters including Elio Rojas, Tomas Villa, Hozumi Hasegawa, Fernando Montiel, and Marc Johnson.

- Orlando Salido: 39-12-2 - Another fighter whose record fails to flatter him. Eight of his losses came in the first five years of his career. In the past eight years he has beaten some great featherweights and at one point was the number one featherweight in the world.

- Robinson Castellanos: 18-9-0 - His record looks very poor until you look closer and see that he hasn't lost in three years and is on a ten-fight win streak which includes a win over former WBA featherweight champion Celestino Caballero last month.

- Takalani Ndlovu: 33-9-0 - Not the greatest fighter, but always willing to try again. After two unsuccessful attempts at dethroning IBF super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor he was finally victorious third time around. Also had a trilogy of bouts with fellow South African Jeffrey Mathebula.

- Genaro Garcia: 39-10-0 - Not a world beater by any means but a durable opponent. He lasted the distance last year against power-punching prospect Julio Ceja and even has a win earlier in his career against future world champion Rafael Marquez.

- Tomas Rojas: 40-14-1 - Like many Hispanic fighters he has several losses on his record from his early days. Despite racking up more losses in the past seven or eight years, he still managed to win a world title and was considered one of the better fighters in the weight classes he has fought in.

- Rey Megrino: 19-20-3 - More losses on his record than wins but plenty of those losses were against top quality Asian opposition. He defeated the legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam last year which threw his name out there. Perhaps it was more a case of "right place at the right time" but only time will tell.

- Muhammad Rachman: 64-11-5 - Has only been stopped once in his career - by Denver Cuello - and held the IBF minimumweight title in the mid 2000s.

- Kohei Kono: 28-8-0 - Despite having no impressive big wins on his record, he was handed a world title shot against the very competent WBA super flyweight champion Tepparith Kokietgym last year and won.

- Sonny Boy Jaro: 34-12-5 - A year ago Jaro, a total no hoper, stopped long reigning flyweight King Pongsaklek Wonjongkam to win the WBC title. It was a massive shock at the time. He has since lost both of the fights he has had.

- Edgar Sosa: 48-7-0 - Five of his losses came in the first three years of his career. Since then he has wins over world class opposition which includes Brian Viloria, Luis Alberto Lazarte, Gilberto Keb Baas, Sonny Boy Jaro, Pornsawan Porpramook, and Ulises Solis.

- Gilberto Keb Baas: 35-22-4 - Baas is to the lower weight classes what Glen Johnson is to the higher weight classes: A tough gatekeeper of the division. Despite racking up his fair share of losses, he has still had some success of his own including defeating Omar Nino Romero for the WBC light flyweight title in 2010 and successfully defending it once against Jose Antonio Aguirre.

- Chris Edwards: 17-15-4 - Another good British fighter with a record that doesn't reveal the true story. American radio host Bill Calogero said on his show "Talking Boxing with Billy C" ahead of Edwards' clash with British champion Paul Edwards in 2011 that "it is fights like this that prove why the UK carries the sport of boxing." He was making the point that British boxing is so competitive that records mean nothing. Chris was victorious over the undefeated Paul.

- Katsunari Takayama: 25-6-0 - Won the WBC minimumweight title in his sixteenth bout, then had a shaky six year period, before winning the IBF title against Mario Rodriguez this year in Rodriguez' hometown.

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