One of the most famous boxing axioms is “as the heavyweight division goes, so goes the sport of
statement never really made much sense to me considering boxing has always had
popular heavyweight champions. Sure there were times when we did not appreciate
what we had (I still remember most boxing publications in the 90s complaining
of a “stale” heavyweight division that consisted of Tyson,
Holyfield, Bowe, Foreman, Holmes, Lewis, Mercer, Moorer and Morrison) however every year we were still treated to a high profile
The electric atmosphere that surrounds a heavyweight title
fight between two well-known and respected fighters is something that no other sport
can match. As I stated before it used to be an annual occurrence but those days
are no more. It has been a long time since a heavyweight bout excited the
American public. The last few Klitschko defenses have
been dumped to the relative obscurity of espn3. I understand that the Klitschko’s still sell out arenas in
Germany and maintain a high level of popularity
in Europe however I cannot think of any other
period in boxing history in which a dominant heavyweight champion has been
disregarded by the American sports fan.
It comes down to one thing: excitement. Heavyweights are
only exciting when someone is getting knocked out. That’s why Mike Tyson
was able to dominate the boxing media within 18 months of turning pro. He was
knocking guys out. Now don’t get me wrong here, the Klitschkos knock fighters out. However it’s a different kind of knockout. It’s
a more cautious knockout. None the less successful however the Klitschko brand of knockout is a bit dull and tasteless.
It’s like drinking near beer. Sure it looks, smells and tastes like the real thing but it just doesn’t give you that
So we look to the future and right now the future actually
looks to be brightening up. Hard hitting American prospects, European bangers
and even some big punchers from other parts of the world are all on the
horizon. Sure there are some solid prospects out there whom are smooth boxers
that add up the points to a masterful decision but someone else will write
about them. I’m here to profile the next generation of potential
heavyweight excitement makers.
The only thing keeping Boytsov from assaulting the top 10 in the division are fragile hands. Boytsov is not really a one shot knockout artist, he is a
volume power puncher, a guy that puts his head down and throws power shot after
shot. While this style is exciting and could lead him to international
superstardom it doesn’t do his hands any good. The lack of size and the
hand issue could be problems in the future however his style and youth are
Pulev’s record with only six
knockouts may not look like that of a power puncher but trust me, The Cobra has
bite. Pulev’s rather mediocre knockout ratio
can be attributed to two things, one is a high level of competition in which he
has already faced and beaten fringe contenders and two is a habit of being lazy
and executing poor technique. Pulev has fast hands
and some pop but he can get content with just headhunting and winning wide
decisions. That is a bad habit that needs to be fixed. Pulev is ready for contenders. He should be fighting boxers rated in the top 10 by
the alphabet orgs as soon as his management can make it happen.
Seth Mitchell, Age:
29, 6’2” 245 lbs., Record: 22-0-1 (16) (*Pictured top of page)
Mitchell is an athlete that came into the fight game late.
He had to learn to use his physical gifts in the ring and after a slow period
of learning he has built up some speed. He seems to get better with each outing
as his footwork, timing and the crispness on his punches improve with each win.
In only three years he has went from an awkward former linebacker trying to box
to a legitimate prospect on the verge of contendership.
He should be matched vs. fringe contenders and former champs right now. A fight
with HasimRahman sounds
Robert Helenius, Age: 27, 6’7” 235 lbs., Record: 15-0
Helenius has a great amateur
pedigree and he began to face solid competition very early in his career. He
doesn’t have the best physique (he looks like a Viking version of Gerry
Cooney) and he doesn’t protect his chin sometimes however stamina
doesn’t seem to be an issue and getting hit on the chin is the best way
to prove that you have got a good one. Helenius soaked up a few Peter bombs and ate more of GbengaOloukun’s punches than he should have but he
recovered well. He is an improving finisher that has developed a good killer
instinct to finish a bout. He is set to fight former titlist, SerheiLyakhovich next.
Mike Perez, Age: 25,
6’0” 230 lbs., Record: 16-0 (12)
A Cuban amateur star based out of
Ireland , Perez burst onto the
heavyweight scene by dominating the British Heavyweight Prizefighter Series
tournament. Winning two of his three bouts by first round stoppage Perez looks
to be the fast starter the division needs. Size is not an advantage for Perez
however like Boytsov he makes up for it with
explosiveness and volume. Perez is ready to fight fringe contenders and former
At 32 the time is now for prospect Stiverne.
Fortunately for him he is getting the big push he needs in his next fight vs.
perennial contender Ray Austin and it is for a WBA Silver title no less!
Austin represents a big
step up in class for Stiverne, who made my list for
one reason, power. Although his stamina has proved to be an issue in the past
he is now 10 pounds lighter and in more solid shape. He also has that one shot
power that make fans gasp “Ooooooo” and “Aaaaaahhhhh”. Stiverne is
limited but limited fighters with one shot power have went far in the heavyweight division in the past.
First the good about Fury: his age, his size, his charisma,
his heart and power. Now the bad about Fury: he almost knocked himself out with
a huge uppercut that landed on his own chin. Fury is the guy that grabs
headlines and he has a chance to prove his bold claims vs. fellow U.K prospect DereckChisora. Fury looks very
ordinary most of the time and he makes this list for the same reason as Stiverne, power. I assume Fury’s power is real
because besides the fact that he almost knocked himself out he has also hurt or
knocked out some pretty solid journeymen. He also is not afraid to stay busy
and take tough fights.
David Price, Age: 27,
6’8” 245 lbs., Record: 10-0 (8)
Former British amateur stand-out Price does all the work but
doesn’t seem to get the headlines his louder and more charismatic fellow
commonwealth prospect Tyson Fury gets. Price is the one that seems to be the
better fighter of the two and the one that will most likely go further. Price
has great size and finishes a fight well. He has been matched rather easily for
someone with his amateur pedigree however his competition seems to be taking a sharp
turn upwards as of late. Either way a fighter with his size and skill cannot be
Surprise medalist in the Olympics won bronze with less than
30 amateur bouts. He is a physical specimen that does not carry an ounce of fat
on his frame. Great natural talent he is still very raw and is being moved very
slowly. His natural power and charisma get him on this list. He is not ready
for fringe contenders but solid journeymen should be safe enough. He has proved
he can come back from disaster and still win big (vs. Sconiers)
however it does not bode well that the best fighter he has faced is the same
guy he proved that against and that fighter is also a 20 loss journeyman.
Wilder has a ways to go but if done right he can be a huge star. He should be
fighting the Damon Reed’s and Gabe Brown’s of the world every month
until he is ready for former titlists.
Luis Ortiz, Age: 32,
6’4” 240 lbs., Record: 9-0 (7)
Miami-based former Cuban amateur star Ortiz has been moved
very quickly in his first year as a pro. That is a good thing because at his
age there is no time to waste and a lot of ground to be made. Luckily for his
management the division is ripe for the picking and a fighter with the talent
of Ortiz can get real far, real fast if the right fights are made. So far Ortiz
has feasted on solid journeymen and former contenders. He has looked lazy and
uninspired at times and at other times he looks like the quick finisher the
division needs. Ortiz has good speed for a man his size, I only wonder about
his stamina and chin.
There we go,10 heavyweight bangers
to watch. They may not win any titles or even become decent contenders but
I’m willing to bet they will provide excitement by way of knockout down
whatever path their careers may go.