Success can be based on who fights who and who avoids who.
It’s not that professional boxers fear other professional boxers. But they all fear losing and that’s when it’s best to recognize those fighters that are too dangerous.
The too dangerous fighters are no necessarily the big punchers. They come in all shapes and sizes and styles. They are the boxers that can beat you with quickness, awkwardness, or possess granite chins, long arms, tallness, shortness or just plain power.
In 2013 two boxers graduated from the Too Dangerous crew to main event status. One was Ruslan Provodnikov, the Russian destroyer who had been avoided for several years until nearly defeating Tim Bradley and beating Mike Alvarado. The other graduate was Carlos Molina, the prince of awkwardness who eked out a win over Ishe Smith to win the junior middleweight world title.
Here’s a list of fighters that may surprise you. Not all are unknowns but they are under-noticed. This is my list of prizefighters who could topple any top 10 fighter, including world champions. For one reason or another they are simply too dangerous to face.
Sergio Mora (25-3-2, 8 Kos) – Middleweight from East L.A recently signed with Lou DiBella, who also has Sergio Martinez. It’s a fight that can be made and don’t be too hasty to put money on the Argentine world champion. Martinez has never fought anyone quite as clever, fast or skillful as Mora.
Keith Thurman (22-0, 20 Kos) – Welterweight from Florida may be on everybody’s radar already, but for those with world title belts looking to expand their pocketbooks, they may want to avoid this guy. Even junior middleweights should avoid him. He’s just starting out so he’s not a big draw yet. One big knockout win over a big name fighter will do the trick.
Anthony Mundine (45-5, 27 Kos) – Middleweight from Australia recently defeated Sugar Shane Mosley by stoppage. It put the long-time Aussie champion on the American radar and he hopes a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Saul Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin can be made. He’s very unorthodox.
Richar Abril (18-3-1, 8 Kos) – Lightweight from Miami has a very John Ruiz-ish type style, meaning he likes to hit and hold a lot. Anyone who faces this guy better know what to do with a constrictor because arm burns are par for the course.
Randall Bailey (44-8, 37 Kos) – Welterweight power-hitter from Miami can lull opponents to sleep like a swaying cobra. But if you blink or get bored he will relieve you of your senses with one punch. Just ask Mike Jones or any of the other 36 fellows he stopped.
Mike Perez (20-0, 12 Kos) – Heavyweight from Cuba trains in Big Bear Lake and though he’s not a very big guy, he can crack. Perez trained in Ireland for awhile but now calls California his new-found home. He has lots of heavyweights to practice with in the mountains.
Andy Ruiz (21-0, 15 Kos) – Heavyweight from Mexico may beat Chris Arreola to the heavyweight world title. Don’t be fooled by his soft-looking body and cherubic face. Those non-athletic-looking arms have speed and power. He has fast hands and can take a shot.
Franklin Lawrence (19-2-2, 14 Kos) – Heavyweight from Indianapolis cracks big time power shots. He retired Lance Whitaker when they fought in Riverside a few years ago. Lawrence can change the outcome of a fight with one punch. He’s kind of like an Ernie Shavers.
James Toney (76-9-3, 46 Kos) – Heavyweight is ranked 103 in the world. A gambler could make a lot of money because I doubt 103 heavyweights could beat him. If Toney is as bad as the rankings have him why aren’t guys lining up to fight him? He’s probably the most dangerous of all fighters on this list.
Maxim Vlasov (28-1, 14 Kos) – Super middleweight is a fighter that nobody knows except for his glossy record. He defeated a good fighter in Mark Suarez, though that fighter had been out of the ring for nearly six years. Vlasov can fight.
Chris Pearson (10-0, 9 Kos) – Junior middleweight from Ohio reminds me of Andre Ward when he first turned professional. Pearson is a fearsome talent with all of the tools necessary to become a world champion. The speedy southpaw could - in my opinion - defeat a number of world champions right now.
Roberto Garcia (33-3, 22 Kos) – Junior middleweight from southern Texas has big time power and a big time chin. If you make a mistake he will take your heart away. But he has slow feet and doesn’t punch a lot. When he does punch…watch out.
Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 Kos) – Junior welterweight from Riverside, California is one of two to defeat Ruslan Provodnikov. Yes, that Provodnikov. He recently lost to Karim Mayfield but the judges seemed off on that fight. I’d like to see Mayfield fight Provodnikov and see if he could survive. Herrera is a master boxer and if taken lightly he can defeat almost anyone.
Jose Felix Jr. (26-0-1, 21 Kos) – Junior lightweight from Los Mochis has serious power in both hands. North of the border he’s not known by many but he can really fight. In his recent appearance in California he obliterated his opponent before anyone could determine what he does in the ring.
Michael Farenas (37-4-4, 29 Kos) – Junior lightweight from Philippines has a lot of fights and knows how to use that experience. He has one heck of a chin and takes a good shot to the body too. This guy is one dangerous fighter.
Scott Quigg (27-0-2, 20 Kos) – Junior featherweight from Lancashire, England has had few problems defeating everyone he faces in his native land. It’s time to see if he can defeat someone from Latin America or America. Who knows? He could be the next Naseem Hamed.
Matt Villanueva (11-0-1, 9 Kos) – Junior bantamweight from Burbank, California has been fighting all over the place. He’s in a rush to show what he can do and making sure he wins by way of the knockout. He is tall for his weight class and cracks power.
These are guys I pick to defeat a champion or two in 2014.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV