Champions / Contenders Who Weren't Considered Prospects (post-1970)

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by sweetsci, Jun 25, 2019.



  1. sweetsci

    sweetsci Active Member Full Member

    961
    262
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Jan 22, 2008
    Saintpat said in the Melvin Foster thread, "Most journeymen were prospects at some point." I get that. But many guys turn pro away from the bright lights and big money and toil in obscurity for their entire career and usually lose as much (or more) as they win. If they're lucky they get a TV fight against one of those prospects.

    But what about the guys who became champions or highly ranked contenders who were NEVER considered prospects?

    I'm not talking someone like Larry Holmes, who got way further than most 70's observers ever expected. After all, he had a decent amateur career and was featured on TV before he even turned pro. I'm thinking of guys who weren't written up, weren't on television, didn't have any kind of backing, but who just toiled away and eventually made their mark on the game.

    I'm sure this happened a lot back in the day, but what about since, say, 1970? Who falls under this category?

    (Edited to correct the spelling of Saintpat's user name.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Saintpat likes this.
  2. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

    10,198
    2,529
    Sportsbook:
    1,204
    Jun 26, 2009
    Well, Rocky Balboa comes to mind (g).

    Seriously, I’ll start with Mike Weaver.

    Kelvin Seabrooks was 19-13, basically a trial horse, win-one/lose-one kinda guy. Two fights later he was wearing an IBF bantamweight title belt.
     
    sweetsci likes this.
  3. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Well-Known Member Full Member

    2,631
    3,273
    Sportsbook:
    982
    Jul 18, 2018
    Mike Weaver, Jersey Joe Walcott, Joe Jeannette, Teddy Yarosz, James J Braddock, Lloyd Marshall, Battling Nelson (?), etc
     
  4. scartissue

    scartissue Boxing Addict Full Member

    4,862
    1,470
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Mar 2, 2006
    From '70 on a couple that come to mind are Harry Arroyo and Tony Lopez. I don't know how successful they were as amateurs - I never heard of them but I didn't keep my nose as close to the unpaids as much as the pros - but when they burst onto the scene I can say unequivocally that I never heard of them. Harry broke in with a win over Robin Blake and was fighting for the world title in his next fight. As for Tony, when he was fighting Rocky Lockridge for the title, I was just thinking, "who is this?"
     
  5. Mike Gould

    Mike Gould New Member Full Member

    61
    69
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Nov 16, 2017
    Canadian perspective. Donny Lalonde was not considered good enough to challenge for the Canadian Light-heavyweight title. Practically had to beg to get that opportunity. Was considered a one armed fighter due to an old hockey injury limiting his jab/left hand. Slowly improved and got an opportunity to challenge for the vacant WBC title. Tremendous right hand puncher who finally developed a jab and left hook to go along with his natural gift. Was able to win the title against Eddie Davis and defend it against Leslie Stewart (both knockouts) which lead to a huge fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. I would also put forward Arturo Gatti. His brother Joe was considered the prospect in the beginning of their careers. Eric Lucas was considered a very average amateur fighter and not much of a pro prospect. As a pro he kept slowly improving and outlasted much more touted stablemate Stephane Ouellet to win a WBC Super Middleweight title. Nobody would've predicted that at the outset of their careers.
     
    sweetsci and Fergy like this.
  6. Rope-a-Dope

    Rope-a-Dope Active Member Full Member

    1,434
    1,173
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Jan 20, 2015
  7. Roughhouse

    Roughhouse Member Full Member

    121
    109
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Sep 15, 2012
    Freddie Pendleton probably counts here.
    How about Keith Mullings?
     
    Hookie and sweetsci like this.
  8. sweetsci

    sweetsci Active Member Full Member

    961
    262
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Jan 22, 2008
    Some great examples here. Since I'm one of those guys who's really into the heavyweights, Mike Weaver really fits the bill for me.
     
    Mike Gould and Hookie like this.
  9. Hookie

    Hookie Affeldt... Referee, Judge, and Timekeeper Full Member

    6,942
    149
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Dec 19, 2009
    James Bonecrusher Smith

    Mike Weaver

    Vincent Pettway- He was somewhat of a big deal in Maryland (Baltimore area) but that was about it.
     
  10. Saad54

    Saad54 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    8,150
    2,368
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Dec 10, 2014
    Darryl Pinckney, Freddie Pendleton, Emanuel Augustus.
     
  11. Hookandjab

    Hookandjab Well-Known Member Full Member

    1,550
    405
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Feb 19, 2014
    Well, it isn't like Braddock was an unknown. He had an extensive amateur career, was a leading contender for the lhw title and fought for that title. Prior to challenging the HW champ, he defeated 3 top ten contenders.
     
  12. Mike Gould

    Mike Gould New Member Full Member

    61
    69
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Nov 16, 2017
    Just thought of a good American example: Prince Charles Williams. Late bloomer who gave Marvin Johnson an unexpectedly tough fight. Marvin sort of took him under his wing and he really blossomed. He went onto a fairly long run as IBF Light-heavyweight champ, making many successful defenses. He could've easily been a career trial horse type if not for some good breaks and hard work.
     
    Hookie likes this.
  13. Rope-a-Dope

    Rope-a-Dope Active Member Full Member

    1,434
    1,173
    Sportsbook:
    1,000
    Jan 20, 2015
    Was Pipino Cuevas ever really considered a prospect? Seems like he was barely on anyone's radar for most of his early career.
     
    scartissue likes this.
  14. TBooze

    TBooze Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    24,166
    335
    Sportsbook:
    500
    Oct 22, 2006
    I couple of WBOgue lads from the other side of the pond possibly fall into this category: Johnny 'The Entertainer' Nelson and Steve Robinson.
     
    Hookie likes this.
  15. TBooze

    TBooze Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    24,166
    335
    Sportsbook:
    500
    Oct 22, 2006
    When he came to upset Bomber, he was hyped in the UK as a prospect; albeit probably just those journalists sweet with Lawless and prepared to help sell the 'on paper' uncompetitive match.