Fight News Fight Reports

2013 Boxing Awards #5: The ‘Time to Hang It Up’ Fighters

The fighters who are facing the end of their careers in 2013.

I’m wholly sympathetic to fighters who hang around too long in the sport. I often imagine how I’d feel if someone told me that I can no longer perform my own passion (writing). I’d go through the five stages of grief before finally, with much bitterness no doubt, accepting my fate. Most of the fighters on this list haven’t hit that stage yet, and will most certainly continue their in-ring campaign in some capacity for 2014. Read on to see why they should seriously reconsider.

 

Abraham

10. ARTHUR ABRAHAM

Once a feared force among middleweights in the mid 2000s, Arthur Abrham has been on the slide since being handed several tough defeats (Ward, Froch, Dirrell) during the Super Six tournament. His struggles culminated with a struggle-filled 2013, starting with a one-sided battering by Robert Stieglitz for his first KO defeat. He then needed a “late rally” from some sympathetic judges to “win” a unanimous decision over Willbeforce Shihepo. To get an idea of how bad that decision was, Abraham’s own German fans booed him out the building when the absurd scores were announced.

At 33, Abraham is a “King” in nickname only. His only option, which he’s taken, is a cash-out rubbermatch against Stieglitz on March 1. There is nothing to indicate Stieglitz won’t run him out the ring again.

01 Judah vs Malignaggi IMG_4597

9. ZAB JUDAH

With a 1-3 record in his last 4 fights, even Judah’s most ardent fans have come to accept that it’s over. Judah put forth a spirited but losing effort against Danny Garcia in April, earning him a headlining slot against Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn on December 7. Showing just how far his once fast reflexes had fallen, Judah was constantly a step behind Malignaggi, getting clipped repeatedly by flush jabs and even lead hooks to the body.

Judah was defiant in claiming he would continue fighting, but this writer noted the redness and glassy nature of his eyes, indicating that he had been crying before the post-fight press conference. Perhaps Judah knows more than anyone his time has come.

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Dzinziruk_Vera

8. SERHIY DZINZIRUK

Dzinziruk has only fought twice since being dropped five times in a lopsided stoppage loss to Sergio Martinez back in March 2011. However, both those bouts were very tough. He fought to a draw with Jonathan Gonzalez in March 2012, and then got absolutely bludgeoned by Brian Vera for a tenth round TKO in January. Dzinziruk took a heavy beating the entire fight and hasn’t fought since. Don’t be surprised if he keeps it that way. The man was not taking punches well during that last in-ring appearance.

(36:40 MARK)

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Audley Harrison_KOd

7. AUDLEY HARRISON

The above picture sums up Audley Harrison’s career as of late. No, he didn’t take any beatings in 2013, but he showed once again that he shouldn’t be anywhere near decent competition. He followed up his 2012 one-round blowout at the hands of David Price with another in April, this time courtesy of Deontay Wilder. No mas, Audley.

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Gradovich_Dib

6. BILLY DIB

Dib is only 28 years old, but he makes this list largely based on his own proclamations of retirement if he couldn’t get past nemesis Evgeny Gradovich. The Australian Dib signed with 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions with the hope of make a crossover splash in America. The man dubbed the “Mexican Russian” in Gradovich put those hopes to a screeching halt with a mauling, grind down split decision victory over Dib in March at the MGM Grand in Connecticut. It was a brutal fight that required some hospital time for Dib.

Dib bounced back in July with a majority decision over Mike Oliver, but went right back into the meat grinder against Gradovich on last month’s Pacquiao-Rios undercard. This time, Gradovich beat him up even worse and scored a ninth round TKO.

 

Rafael Marquez vs Efrain Esquivias

5. RAFAEL MARQUEZ

Future Hall of Famer Rafael Marquez signed with Golden Boy this year to make one last run and possibly land a big fight with Abner Mares or Leo Santa Cruz. First up was a fight with a fringe Top 25-30 fighter in Efrain Esquivias this past September.

It turned out to be far from a soft touch. Esquivias took Marquez’s best shots, something few could do at the lower weights, and broke him down with pull-counter straight rights. By the late rounds, nothing was left. It was a straight right that put Marquez down and the referee thankfully called off the carnage.

Marquez announced his retirement about a week after the fight in late September. Let’s pray he sticks to it.

 

Chris Arreola vs Seth Mitchell

4. SETH MITCHELL

You have to be an exceptional boxer to make it with a weak chin, as Seth Mitchell found out in September after getting blown away in round one by Chris Arreola. I posed this question right after the fight and will do so again.

Is Mitchell’s heart truly in boxing? His management made a point in his HBO “2 Days” special that Mitchell viewed the sport as a “means to an end” rather than a passion. The “means” is the financial benefit from big fights, and Mitchell got bigger opportunities faster that most heavys because of marketability. Now that’s pretty much evaporated. Will Mitchell be willing to take low pay off TV and on smaller ESPN shows to get better?

Adding onto that, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer allegedly told Mitchell that it’s time he finds another profession, so include the fact Golden Boy possibly won’t be behind him.

I’ve heard no word of retirement from his camp, so Mitchell will go into 2014 with the odds of a strong comeback stacked against him.

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Barker_Sturm

3. DARREN BARKER

Just one fight after his brave title-winning effort over Daniel Geale, Barker found himself facing retirement after badly dislocating his right hip against Felix Sturm in a second round TKO defeat. Barker is due a contractual rematch in the summer, but this injury has been recurring even after surgery, making the likelihood of him continuing his career very low.

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ShaneMosley

2. SHANE MOSLEY

Shane Mosley’s career has been a slow death following his phenomenal win over Antonio Margarito in January 2009. He’s gone 1-4-1 since then, dropping wide decisions to Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao, scoring  a draw against Sergio Mora, and earning a close win over Pablo Cesar Cano. The capping defeat, the one that clearly shows his body doesn’t have it anymore to compete, was a corner retirement on back spasms to Anthony Mundine. Remember that Mosley had neck issues against Floyd and foot problems with Manny. But to the very end, that chin held up.

Mosley announced another retirement recently. And like the last one, we can only hope he truly means it this time.

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RuizHamer

1. TOR HAMER

Boxing is a hurt business. Fighters should always get the benefit of the doubt when they quit in a fight since they’re the ones taking the punches. We as spectators have no idea how much punishment they’re truly taking. With that said, Tor Hamer’s actions over the last year have been so dubious that even his last promoter couldn’t provide any logical spin.

Last December, Hamer quit after the fourth round in a bout against Vyascheslav Glozkov on NBC Sports. He started strong in the first two rounds, but Glozkov adjusted and began outboxing Hamer. He wasn’t taking a beating, but the mental aspect of getting hit and knowing what was coming was too much for Hamer, who promptly quit on his stool. On the replay, you could hear him saying “I can’t do it anymore” despite his corner trying to implore him on.

The scenario was repeated nearly verbatim on pay-per-view last month when Hamer faced the rotund but talented heavyweight Andy Ruiz. Hamer teed off early but Ruiz stormed back behind a hard body attack and scoring with right hands upstairs. A good fight seemed to be developing until Hamer once again retired on the his stool in the fourth.

His new promoter, Lou DiBella, was incensed and fired Hamer via Twitter not even an hour after the bout’s conclusion:

By the way, Tor, you are released. WTF!!!

— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) November 24, 2013

Hamer won the UK Prizefighter tournament in 2012, so conceivably he can still be successful at that level. On the other hand, promoters would be wise to not risk their card’s credibility with a fighter who responds so negatively to any in-ring adversity.

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