Convicted Artist Magazine

Aug 19th
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chris straitChris John is being honored for longevity... I just don't see it.  Guys like him, Omar Narvaez, Sven Ottke, etc. do not really impress me, because the one time they left the safe confines of their home cooking, they showed weaknesses, and nothing special.  Longevity is not that hard when you are fed a steady diet of bums, and your belt is the kind that forces someone else to face your mandatories.  Chris John really has nothing going for him except for his unbeaten record.  Calzaghe is actually the only one who shined outside of that decade long protected bubble, and we had to wait forever to see it.

Speaking of waiting forever, Vitali Klitschko is officially holding a belt hostage.  How much more can the WBC bend over backwards to appease him?  You get the feeling they are still apologizing for the Lennox Lewis stoppage, which was not even their fault.  They allow him to go a year with no defenses, even longer with no mandatories, and even invented the "emeritus" status so he could come right back and challenge for a belt, with no tune-ups, after a four year layoff.  I appreciate the skills of both Klitschkos, but the act is getting old.  That boring dominance could be forgiven if they were active, and gave us great finishes, but even that has left their arsenal lately.

Speaking of an arsenal, Vasyl Lomachencko has everything to be one of the greats... but perhaps I am a bit hesitant.  There was another time we were singing the praises of an unbeatable amateur star who KO'd everyone and won Olympic Gold.  His name was Mark Breland, and while becoming a two-time belt holder is nothing to scoff at, he never came close to realizing his potential as a pro.  Skills cannot be measured in 9 minutes, when you know you may have to fight 36.  The good news is, we will know very soon if Vasyl is for real.. I just hope they don't ruin him if he is anything less than perfect.

Speaking of perfection, this trend of unbeaten prospects who have fought absolutely no one has to stop.  Yes, certain fighters are exposed in their first couple of losses (i.e. Seth Mitchell, etc.), but others like Orlando Salido would not have become the fighters they are today without plenty of them.  There is more than one way to build a prospect, just like there is more than one way to ruin them.  If the whispers about Deontay Wilder's chin and stamina are indeed true, how is building him up against stiffs and has-beens going to protect that?  Wladimir Klitschko had both problems, and it wasn't until they were exposed that he was able to get better.  Even Frank Bruno made some adjustments after a few hard losses.  

Al Haymon is a great manager, but the backlash against him is well-deserved.  We wait way too long for his fighters to take on anybody real.  Careful matchmaking hurts as much as it helps.  Why do you think it took us so long to believe in Danny Garcia?  He just hadn't been thrown completely to the wolves yet.  Keith Thurman is another example of a fighter who people would pay to see even after losses.  he is exciting, skillful, powerful, and a character.  He can lose, and we would still be interested.  If he beats Karass, it's time to put him in against winner of Judah-Malignaggi, and get him in the Floyd conversation.

Chris Strait

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