Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 28th
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boxings_greatestMany writers, including myself have explored the phenomena of fighters who had rough starts to the pro game, yet usually we never examine the fighters who defeated them.  Occasionally they go on to successful careers themselves.  For instance, heavyweights James Broad, and Howard Smith certainly did not enjoy the success that their debuting kayo victims Mike Weaver and Bonecrusher Smith (respectively) earned, yet they became contenders for a short time.  Today, I will look at three young prospects who beat future great fighters, and went absolutely nowhere quickly. 
Rosendo Sanchez – After losing his own professional debut in 1996, this young California bantamweight won two fights, also by fur round decision, before stepping away for 4 years.  When he finally returned to the ring in 2001, the opponent was a 1-0 Nonito Donaire.  Sanchez won a 5-round decision over Donaire… and until Donaire beat Concepcion recently, Sanchez was the only opponent of ‘The Filipino Flash’ to not be stopped or dropped by him!  Sanchez won another fight two months later.  This, surprisingly, is where the story ends, at least in boxing.  Sanchez never fought again, and Donaire has not lost since.  He is a multi-division champion, a top 10 pound-for-pounder, and likely future hall-of-famer. 
Cachorro Amaya – We dig deep for this one.  Alexis Arguello won titles in 3 weight classes, and was elected into the hall-of-fame.  He had a few bumps and bruises along the way to that first title, but none as decisive as a 1-round KO in his pro debut.  According to the records, Leon, Nicaragua ’s Amaya never fought before or after this matchup, while his countryman went on to fame and fortune.  This is likely not true, but the lack of documented information on him, certainly confirms he went nowhere in boxing.
Clinton Mitchell – Bernard Hopkins has never won a close fight.  Unless you count Oscar de la Hoya winning 3 of 8 rounds before succumbing to a body shot, Hopkins ’ wins are all dominant, while his losses are all close.  Even a prime Roy Jones lost 4 or 5 rounds to Hopkins .  The recent draw against Pascal may be where this trend ends, but it started in his professional debut.  In a 1988 light heavyweight fight... before Hopkins took a year off, dropped down to middleweight, and dominated... he met fellow debuter Clinton Mitchell.  The Brooklyn native captured a close majority decision in 4 rounds against Hopkins .  Incredibly, Mitchell walked away for 7 years after this fight!  Mitchell only returned to the ring after Hopkins had captured a world title.  Well into his 30’s, he went 2-0-1, before another period of inactivity (2 ½ years).  When he returned again at 36, he was KO’d in 1 round by ordinary Robert Fredricks.
The questions here are all pretty similar.  Why walk away after success?  What life situations interfered with their boxing career?  Do they regret it?  How do they feel about their former opponent going all the way?  Do they have regrets?  Where are they now?  If you know of any answers, please let me know. 

Chris Strait

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