by Eric “Sugar Foot” Duran
The gatekeepers are often 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.
Jesus Soto Karass- Karass has graced premium cable channels more then your average champion.
His last five opponents include Devon Alexander, Keith Thurman, Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin and Marcos Maidana. He’s also shared the squared circle with Gabe Rosado and Mike Jones. He defeated Berto and Aydin and gave Maidana all he could handle.
At 28-10-3, Soto Karass is one of the most respected fighters in the game. His fan-friendly style has given paid customers an exciting show for years.
Vicente Escobedo- Escobedo was a decorated amateur, representing the U S of A at the 2004 Summer games.
He started off 21-1, defeating Kevin Kelley in the process. It set up a WBO title shot against Michael Katsidis. He would lose a split decision
He record now stands at 26-5, losing to Robert Guerrero, Adrien Broner and Edner Cherry.
After two straight knockout losses, Escobedo’s title aspirations may have flown out the window. He has recently served as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao.
Randall Bailey– The Knockout King has a career that has spanned over 17 years. He faced current and former champions that include Miguel Cotto, Ishe Smith, Demarcus Corley, Juan Urango, Mike Jones and Devon Alexander.
He is respected and revered for his night-ending punching power. However, he sits on the shelf because he’s still a dangerous opponent for untested prospects.
With a year between bouts, maybe the road is quietly coming to an end. With a record of 44-8 with 37 KO’s, Bailey should be able to walk away with his head held high
Kendall Holt- After 13 years in the game, Holt has faced his share of prospects, contenders and world champions. The list includes David Diaz, Ricardo Torres, Danny Garcia, Timothy Bradley and Lamont Peterson
He beat David Diaz and Ricardo Torres. The Torres fight was a wild bout as Holt was decked twice in the first round. He recovered to stop Torres in that same first round
Holt is the former WBO Light Welterweight champion. His record currently stands at 28-6
Vivian Harris- 17 years strong for the former WBA Light Welterweight Champion. Harris is actually riding a 3 fight winning streak
His resume includes Stevie Johnston, Lucas Matthysee, Victor Ortiz and Jessie Vargas.
At 32-9, Harris has traveled the world, fighting in Germany, United Kingdom and Mexico.
However, although he is still fighting, the British Board of Boxing declined him a license earlier this year
Stay tuned for Part 3 and another spotlight on some of the sport’s unsung heroes.