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Home Boxing AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS… WE STILL HAVE A CHANCE
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AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS… WE STILL HAVE A CHANCE

american_heavyweightsI am the last person to “rah rah” about America being the best, or to bash it for being the worst.  I find most of the talk trendy, no matter the subject.  So, when my fellow boxing fans start summing up the bleakness of the American heavyweight picture, I like to remind them that we are still only a big victory or two away from a whole new trend.  Here are 3 fighters who are worthy of carrying the torch in the post-Klitschko era.
 
Seth Mitchell – He is the fighter who came from the background with which most people are placing their American hopes – Football.  Yes, a fighter with a football injury, who turns to boxing and saves the day.  This is the story we hear often.  The flaws in this logic are numerous, most notably the lack of developmental years that his European counterparts will have spent honing their own skills.  The fighter called “Mayhem”, however, spent a few years in the amateurs, and at 28 years old, is just reaching his maturity.  A 20-0-1 record boasts recent victories over the division’s journeyman gatekeepers like Taurus Sykes and Derek Bryant.  The results have remained as dominant as they were in his early career.  He avenged his only blemish, and has not relied solely on power.  The D.C-area native has not been regionally protected either, as he has frequently journeyed to the SW desert for matches since the beginning of his career.  He is also young enough, especially nowadays, to lose once or twice and still have time to learn from it.  He is promoted by Golden Boy, and while no one is picking him to upset the Klitschkos, his development does give hope to those who wish for a U.S. made World Heavyweight champion, once they retire.
 
Cris Arreola – No, we may not give up on him yet.  He has the rare long amateur pedigree, and skill-set that make him a threat as long as he laces up the gloves.  He may come in overweight, but he is a power-punching volume fighter, who never runs out of energy.  Therefore, who cares?  He came closer than anyone except Chad Dawson to beating Tomasz Adamek, and is the only fighter to put some effective pressure on Vitali Klitschko since Lennox Lewis.  His recent problem has been his hands.  Without them, the KO’s will stop, and faster fighters will just pick him apart.  If he can restore health to them, and learn to fight a bit more off the back foot, there are few who can stop him.  Also, if you’re looking for a fighter who can lose 11 of 12 rounds against David Haye, and still knock him out in the 12th, here he is.
 
Joe Hanks – The New Jersey native is only 15-0, but has switched coasts, and has been on an undefeated tear through heavyweight journeyman.  He can get a bit sloppy, as is the norm for many heavyweights these days, but the results speak for themselves.  He may be a step behind Mitchell, but only a fight or two before we really start to see what he is made of.  Along with Mitchell, he is the only other fighter to beat previously undefeated Johnnie White, 22-2.  Alvaro Morales, the fighter who drew and lost a decision to Mitchell, was stopped by Hanks in 1 round.  He is only 27, has the perfect size and physique to tangle with every possible heavyweight shape on even ground.  The fighter called “The Future” also seems to be learning with every fight, and I have seen many of them live.
 
I wish fighters like Chisora, Fury, Boystov and Dimitrenko would tangle with our untested prospects, so we can see which hemisphere is wasting their time, before taking turns offering them to the sacrificial Klitschko altar.  Either way, we are not nearly as out of the running as we may think.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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