by Eric “Sugar Foot” Duran
Doug Flutie won a Heisman trophy. He played 12 years in the NFL for 5 different teams. Although highly respected, he will never be considered a great quarterback. He was simply a mentor or stopgap quarterback for young players and teams.
Every sport has these individuals, journeymen who spend countless years in professional leagues, bouncing from team to team.
Boxing is no different. There are countless fighters who have held titles, contend or simply prepare future champions for bigger fighters. They’re referred to as gatekeepers.
These gatekeepers may or may not be former champs, holding the strap until someone dethrones them. They’re fighters who take fights on short notice for a paycheck.
Their phone is never silent as big-time promoters are constantly calling for their services. They’re the backbone of boxing as, simply, the opponent.
Here is a look at some of the sport’s current top gatekeepers:
Garret Wilson– At 13-8, one would question why Wilson is included on this list. Yet if you were to take a quick look at his record, you’d understand. He recently lost to NABF Cruiserweight champion, Thabiso Mchunu. Before the Mchunu bout, he stepped in on short notice and went the distance with IBF North American Heavyweight champ, Vyacheslav Glazkov. If you followed that correctly, Wilson competes and holds his own, in 2 weight classes.
Darnell Boone– His resume includes Adonis Stevenson (two times), Sergei Kovalev (two times), Brandon Gonzales, Edwin Rodriguez, Erislandy Lara, Craig McEwan, Brian Vera, Curtis Stevens, Jean Pascal and Andre Ward. At 19-21-4, Boone is a battled-tested vet. He stopped Stevenson in their first bout and lost a split decision to Kovolev. Win or lose, Boone has fought the best the world has to offer.
Darnell Wilson– The Ding A Ling Man has traveled the world, fighting in Germany, Turkey, Australia, Russia, Singapore and Canada. With 45 fights under his belt, his record currently stands at 25-17-3. In his most recent bout, he exposed the well-protected David Rodriguez, ending a five-bout losing streak.
Gabriel Rosado- Rosado is a fan favorite, usually covered in blood by the end of his fights. The tattooed thug from Philly has gone toe to toe with world champions and prospects. His resume includes Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, and Alfredo Angulo. He recently defeated Brian Vera in the upstart Big Knockout Boxing league. He was scheduled to face James Kirkland in his next bout, but Kirkland pulled out for monetary reasons.
Travis Walker- With 52 fights and a 39-12-1 record, Walker is begging to slide down the other side of the hill. He’s lost his last 5 bouts– 3 to prospects, Mike Perez, Lucas Browne and Gerald Washington. He’s shared the ring with Chris Arreola, Jonathan Banks and Tomasz Adamek. Walker has won many regional and continental titles. However, he always fell short when knocking on the door of a possible world title shot.