It's taken for granted that young fighters and prospects will be fed a steady stream of easy touches while they fine tune their technique and mature as professionals. Some prospects, however, gorge themselves far too long on the steady diet of no-hopers, journeymen, and club fighters.
Here are five talented prospects who need to step up their game:
Deontay Wilder (25-0, 25 KOs)
The 26-year-old Olympic bronze medalist is being called a knockout machine by some, but that moniker means little when taking into consideration the overall level of his opposition. When someone's best opponent in twenty-five pro bouts is Owen Back on a 0-7 run, things really need to be put into perspective. Wilder is 6' 7" and may develop into a fine fighter one day, but all the soft touches and easy paydays won't help him develop into a world class contender anytime soon.
Demetrius Andrade (18-0, 13 KOs)
The middleweight prospect from Providence, Rhode Island looks like he has everything needed to one day become a quality, world class fighter. Unfortunately, the fighters he's been up against will only lead him to permanent status as a Friday Night Fights preliminary attraction. The 24-year-old Andrade's only opponent of note has been Grady Brewer-- and that simply won't cut it if he wants to grow as a professional.
David Rodriguez (36-0, 34 KOs)
The 35-year-old heavyweight from El Paso, Texas has been a prospect since the Clinton administration. For those waiting for some career advancement or push to become anything other than a regional attraction, don't get your hopes up. In January, Rodriguez suffered a knife attack in Arizona and has been inactive, but don't expect anything different when/if he returns. Perhaps Rodriguez is merely angling to cash-in on a spotless record for one big money beat down at the hands of a top heavyweight.
Rakhim Chakhkiev (14-0, 11 KOs)
Rakhim "The Machine" is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist at heavyweight now plying his craft in the pros as a cruiserweight. At 29 years of age, the tough Russian is very close to shifting from blue chip prospect to too-old prospect and should be fighting opponents better than the likes of 21-38-2 Zack Page.
Sadam Ali (15-0, 9)
Everything about the 23-year-old welterweight screams "world class." He's quick, agile, strong, and has relatively heavy hands. His level of opposition, however, screams "journeyman." Ali is still young and relatively new to the pros, but the Brooklyn native needs to be fighting opponents who can test him and make him grow.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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