Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 06th
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Home Boxing Hard Luck Challengers:
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Hard Luck Challengers:

boxing_artHere are some fighters who had many shots at titles, but could never attain the ultimate goal.
Victor Polo – Four title shots featuring incorrectly ruled slips, bad decisions, and simply close losses.  Scott Harrison, and Julio Pablo Chacon both needed help to beat Polo, while Derrick Gainer took a close, deserved decision.  However, it wasn’t until Juan Manuel Marquez beat him easily that Polo realized it was never happening for this talented Featherweight.  He is one of the better fighters, alongside Rocky Juarez, to have never worn a belt in this era.
Ali Funeka – Two fighters coming in overweight, in order to gain advantages and close decision wins, as well as one total screw-job decision.  That is Ali Funeka’s experience with North American title shots.  His countrymen Mbulelo Botile and Isaac Hlatshwayo fared much better over here, but Funeka cannot get the judges, or the scale, to see things his way.  When the 6’1 fighter is the one making 135 easily, our hemisphere is coming off looking fat and lazy once again.  Nate Campbell did not make a career of this, but Joan Guzman, and his handlers, ought to be ashamed of the way his career is being handled.  His mother was right... quit boxing!
Alvaro “Yacqui” Lopez – Five title shots were received by the Stockton , California Light heavyweight and Cruiserweight of the 1970’s.  Only his final shot, a four-round drubbing at the hands of Carlos DeLeon, was non-competitive.  John Conteh, Matthew Saad Muhammad, and Victor Galindez (twice) all had their hands full for 15 rounds with the tough Lopez.  In another era, probably a champion, but in the competitive 70’s, the hard-charging challenger just didn’t quite have enough to get over that hump.
Honorable mention:
Levander Johnson & Frank Bruno – Unlike the first three entries, neither of these men were only mildly competitive in their first few title shots… being KO’d in all of them, after giving decent efforts.  However, their perseverance paid off when they finally became world champions.  Both took advantage of weak opportunities (Bruno beating Oliver McCall, and Levander Johnson taking on an unimpressive former champ Stefano Zoff), but were able to shine in that final moment.  I say ‘final’ because both men scored their final victory in each of their respective title wins.  Bruno gave a horrid effort in three-round TKO loss to Mike Tyson, and then retired.  Levander Johnson lost even more, as he died of a brain injury in an 11th round TKO loss to Jesus Chavez.
Chris Strait

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