Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 06th
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harry_simon_boxingThe following is a list of modern fighters (and one from the past) who have been deemed as finished, despite having never actually lost in the ring.

Harry Simon, 25-0 (17 KOs), Legal problems forced the Namibian from the ring at 23-0.  A perpretrator of 2 separate vehicular homicide incidents, Simon's erratic driving cost 5 people their lives, and his own livelihood.  His career included the WBO Middleweight and Junior Middleweight titles.  While he may have needed questionable assistance to defeat Winky Wright prior to his incarceration, he even needed it to defeat a young journeyman fighter after his release.  This happened via controversial 8 round decision, upon his return to the ring after a 5 year absence.  He took another 3 years off following that shameful performance, before notching a meaningless win early this year.  Maybe he has not retired, but he is finished, and lost his prime years in a couple of very exciting divisions.

Paul Spadafora, 44-0-1 (18 KOs ) – He is probably the most accomplished fighter on this list. While Simon won belts in two divisions, his “win” over Winky Wright is the only real accomplishment.  Yet Spadafora won the IBF Lightweight title as an underdog against a then-streaking Pito Cardona, was a staple on US television, and defended that title several times against recognizable names.  He was always a winner, yet was far from dominant.  Indeed his fights with Leonard Dorin (draw) and Oisin Fagan ( W SD ) could have been scored the other way.  Victoriano Sosa would also likely had been declared the victor by 4th rd KO over Spadafora, had the referee stopped the fight the way most would have.  His career momentum was also destroyed by legal trouble, and although he has never retired, and fought as recently as March of this year, TV has never re-embraced him.  He is also competing in the talent rich divisions of 140 and 147lbs, where he is unlikely to be noticed, unless he takes on soemone who will be favored to beat him.  Ironically his KO percentage has improved since his release from jail, yet it seems to be only a matter of time until he figures out it is over.  Maybe he will do so in time to remain on this list.

JD Chapman, 29-0 (26 KO’s) – Here is a young American heavyweight who walked away, yet this time I have no idea why.  If anyone knows a reason Chapman stopped fighting over two years ago, please let me know.  While he was not getting the greatest reviews, nor fighting the best competition, he had made trainer, manager, and promotional in-roads toward that end.  He was attempting, it seemed, to leave the protected nest-egg.  Suddenly, it all stopped.  He wasn’t likely going to beat Chambers, Arreola, Adamek, or other top U.S. based heavyweights, but he was still developing, so who knows.  He was from the same region as Tommy Morrison, so he could have made a lot of money losing in exciting fights to those men, and maybe even lucked into a title fight against the bored Klitschko brothers.  It’s not too late… maybe he still can.

Lee Canalito, 21-0 (19 KO’s) – This Houston-based fighter, nick-named “Italian Stallion” for his one-time manager Sylvester Stallone, is really a study in how to kill a career with lack of momentum.  His 21 fights were spaced out over 10 years.  Maybe that is appropriate if we are talking about a championship reign.  It is not however, a good formula for a win-gathering phase, during which rarely a winning record is noticed among his opponents.  He turned pro in 1977, and took a one year break, a three year break, once fought 3 times in the month of July 1982, then took another year break.  He never again fought more than twice year after that, and other than aging 70’s club-fighter Charley Polite, and tough journeyman Steve Zouski, there are no recognizable names on his record.  He finally walked away at age 33, reportedly to concentrate on acting.  The word on Canalito was, at the time, that he was just a big guy who could hit… nothing more.  Perhaps it was for the best.  At least he can say he never lost.

Honorable mention: Jemal Hinton
- Quit as a top-ranked 16-0 fighter in the 1990’s, for religious reasons.  Sean Carrigan - DC-area heavyweight who quit in the early 2000’s, at 8-0-1, to concentrate on acting.  Joe Mesi – 36-0 (29 KOs), although he fought on amid medical controversy, he walked away after 3 straight 1st round KOs .  It seems even he realized he could do other things, and it wasn’t worth the risk.

Chris Strait

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