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Home Boxing RETURN OF THE AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT
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RETURN OF THE AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT

 

dominic-breazeale-boxerLong have we wondered what the heavyweight division would be like post-Klitschko.  Much in the same way we have wondered about the post-Mayweather pay-per-view landscape.  Both questions have often been asked with a sense of doom, as if boxing could not recover from the loss of these entities.  However, very soon, we may indeed get our answer to both questions.  While Mayweather's exit will certainly leave boxing's biggest PPV attraction out of the equation, boxing always recovers.
 
The heavyweight division, however, has only been in bad shape depending on your geographic perspective.  Even that may be open to question, as the reality of a Klitschko retirement looms.  The elder Klitschko, Vitali, has not only surrendered his WBC belt, and mandatory obligation, he is calling for elections to take place one year earlier.  This could potentially put him in the ultimate seat of power in Ukranian politics by this time next year.  Wladimir's mandatories are actually getting less interesting, if that were possible, as the loud-talking, but not oft-fighting British heavyweights vie for the next big money fight.
 
The Americans are by no means left out in this equation.  Between Olympians Dominic Breazeale and Deontay Wilder sporting unbeaten records, with all wins by knockout, and the recent performance of Bryant Jennings on HBO, the USA has many players in the Heavyweight discussion.  Perennial favorites like Arreola and Thompson may be falling short of the Klitschko line (or even a bit under it), yet Arreola always makes it exciting, and Thompson keeps reinventing himself.
 
Bryant Jennings looked poised well beyond his late-start to boxing, in his dominant showing over Artur Spilka.  The next generation is slowly starting to step up in order to take on bigger challenges.  Breazeale, the least scintillating member of the USA Olympic team, is actually moving faster than most of them.  He is already facing fighters with winning records in scheduled 8-rounders, only a year or so removed from his pro debut.  He has stopped them all.  Unbeaten Andy Ruiz has already been put in with other young prospects like Joe Hanks and Tor Hamer, and won easily.  Malik Scott is not out of the discussion either, nor is limited, but highly ranked Travis Kaufmann.
 
Wilder may be brought along in painfully slow fashion, but what else do you expect from an Al Haymon fighter?  He will eventually be tested, but not before it means big dollars against a limited fighter, and Tyson Fury is about the only man to provide that option, currently.  Prince Charles Martin will be fighting at Hollywood Fight Night February 6th, and is another young unbeaten heavyweight who has been showing power, and a fast learning curve.  We may have been concerned that too many of our heavyweights don't take up boxing until age 20 or older, however this division is different than most.
 
Heavyweights peak in their early 30's nowadays, starting late does not even mean a lack of amateur background, let alone a lack of natural instincts.  Former Olympic gold medalist Henry Tillman, himself a late-starter in boxing, is now training many fighters out of his Carson-area gym.. the town that is the training home of Breazeale and Martin.  As these trainers and fighters are reminding us, this game is one that is learned, and it seems that the USA heavyweights are using this Klitschko-twilight time to learn quite a bit..

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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