Two World Title Challengers Return June 18th!
By Timmy Kudgis (June 17, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
On Friday June 18th boxing fans in Winston-Salem, North Carolina will be able to witness the return of two world title challengers in two separate bouts. The bout was put together by Promoter Cary Smith and Matchmaker Cedric Harden. Everyone reading right now is probably saying to themselves “Heavyweights are making comebacks at least once a week now, this isn’t a big deal” but this is a little different which you will realize when I get into detail.

The first return is of a man we haven’t see since his December 12th loss to WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
Kevin “Kingpin" Johnson (21-1-1) will be returning to action against relatively unknown David Saulsberry (6-2). Saulsberry, who hasn’t been in the ring since his March 28th, 2008 victory over then (3-0) Roberto White, does have something in common with the “Kingpin”. The both have done battle with former Olympian Devin Vargas, though the outcomes were severely different. Saulsberry was stopped in the 2nd round, while “Kingpin” found success by stopping him in the 6th round on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

This fight should be the same as most comeback fights. “Kingpin” should be able to dismantle his opponent, who is nowhere near the level of his usual opposition. With that being said this should allow the “Kingpin” to shake off the ring rust during the one or two rounds this fight should last, and prepare him for his rise back to title contention. Maybe we can see a rematch between “Kingpin” and Timur Ibragimov, who was victorious last night against Oliver McCall (I believe it would make a great ESPN Friday Night Fight’s Main Event).

The interesting part of the card is the return of the next former world title challenger. “Smokin” Bert Cooper (36-22), the man who many believed was going to be the next “Smokin” Joe Frazier, hasn’t been in action since his September 20th, 2002 loss to Darroll Wilson who was then (26-6-2). His opponent, similar to Kevin Johnson’s, is an unknown fighter by the name of Corey Winfield (3-6). The only difference is Cooper has been inactive for nearly 8 years and is at the age of 44.

“Smokin” has been in the ring with the who’s who of past and present heavyweight contenders. He has squared up with names such as Evander Holyfield, Ray Mercer, Michael Moorer, Mike Weaver, Cory Sanders, Fres Oquendo, and Joe Mesi. Now he is back, no idea for how long, but is scheduled to return again in August possibly for one last shot at glory. Even if you imagination wanders and leads you to believe Cooper can make a Cinderella-like rise to title contention, reality will soon kick in.

I remember reading an article written by one of my favorite writers Ken Hissner entitled “The Return of Smokin’ Bert Cooper.” ( In this article he suggests a fabulous idea of a round robin tournament between over 40 fighters. Could you imagine a one night tournament with rules similar to Barry Hearn’s Prizefighter? Past their prime heavyweights battling it out for one more shot at glory. My roster would look like this:

1. Evander Holyfield
2. Riddick Bowe
3. Andrew Golota
4. Michael Moorer
5. Oliver McCall
6. Ray Mercer
7. Brian Nielsen
8. Danny Williams

Other than the tournament I do not see how far these fighters can go even in a heavyweight division that is not anywhere close to as exciting as the heavyweight division in their time. Every time these fighter’s step in the ring I pray that they will make it out with their health. Bert Cooper will most likely be successful Friday but the question is “How far can this comeback take him?”.

Side note: Please tune into the debut edition of Breathe Boxing Radio “Where we eat, sleep, and BREATHE Boxing” at 6pm-8pm EST on the Fighting Words Radio Network. More Info to come this week!

Questions or comments for “Bigtime” Timmy Kudgis he can be reached at

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