Once again, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was given the opportunity to show that he was something more than a silver-spoon-fed champion who walked the yellow brick road to money, titles and notoriety and once again he failed in spectacular fashion being on the wrong side of a beating delivered by Saul Alvarez in last weekend’s infomercial for Alvarez/Golovkin in the fall.
Chavez’s story is nothing new. There are fighters who are good but have had to spend most their careers under the radar fighting for a paycheck against foes tougher than a two-dollar steak and then there are the guys that have the right publicity, the right promotion and all the good stuff where it matters—except for substance.
In the long run, the con can’t go on forever and eventually the rug gets pulled from under their feet and they fall on their faces to never return to prominence. At that point, they’ve had their run and their respective teams have had their fun and laughs all the way to the bank; often, we never hear from them again.
This is just a small collection of those products created by the powers-that-be in boxing and their runs that could not have come any other way.
5. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
What hasn’t already been said about this guy? From the very beginning, Chavez followed the yellow brick road paved by not only Top Rank, but also the late Jose Suliaman of the WBC who did everything to ensure his godson would hold the gold. Not only did Chavez get the benefit of the doubt in several dodgy decisions as he climbed up the rankings (and the scales), but his WBC Middleweight title was unjustly stripped from Sergio Martinez just to be put around his waist.
Not to mention that Chavez has been tied to multiple controversies with his drug use and has been historically inept in regards to being in fighting shape. He’s worked with some of the best trainers and promoters in the business, but never proved himself as anything more than a novelty at best, miserably losing to any opponent that required more than bare-minimum effort to overcome
4. Nikolai Valuev
There’s nothing like a freak show when it comes to the sport of boxing. Sideshow attractions can very easily jump to the front of the line at any point of their career if they have even passable skills and, in this shocking instance, find themselves holding the most prestigious of crowns as was the case with former Heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev.
Valuev was seven feet tall, marginally skilled and promoted to mastery by Don King as he could stay near the top of the Heavyweight division thanks to feasting on some pretty dubious 00s-era Heavyweights. His technical limitations were shown when he was soundly out boxed in defeat by Ruslan Chagaev and David Haye, and the recipient of a gift decision against 46-year-old Evander Holyfield. Following the Haye loss, Valuev retired as the tallest and heaviest person to ever hold the Heavyweight title.
3. David Reid
Before Vasyl Lomachenko was hot-shotted into superstardom right off the gates, there was the cautionary tale of pushing a fighter too hard, too fast that was “The American Dream” David Reid. Reid was a standout amateur and the only American gold medalist from a 1996 Olympic team that included the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Antonio Tarver. From the very start, Reid was pushed as a star in the making and won a Junior Middleweight title in his tenth fight.
Reid was hyped along the lines of Lomachenko, but was already on borrowed time as an eye injury he suffered during his amateur career and thoughts of him fighting the likes of Oscar De la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins needed to materialize fast. Unfortunately, Reid was matched with a prime Felix Trinidad and was pummeled mercilessly in a beating that ruined him. Reid would end his career shortly thereafter and has been seldom mentioned since.
2. James Kirkland
Perhaps no fighter in recent memory carried so much mystique and ballyhoo as James Kirkland, a hard punching Junior Middleweight whose theoretical ceiling was so high that some would swear he was the perfect fighting machine during his heyday. That heyday came as Kirkland tore through the unworthy until run-ins with the law and his own unstable nature derailed a once promising career.
Kirkland’s end began when he was shocking stopped by pillow-fisted Nobuhiro Ishida in one round and he continued to flounder around the dregs of Junior Middleweight dealing with long bouts of inactivity caused by further misconduct and a bad business deal with 50 Cent’s dreaded SMS Promotions. Kirkland was last seen getting decapitated by Saul Alvarez in three rounds and has yet to be heard of again
1. Seth Mitchell
Not too long ago, it was the belief from all the smart guys in boxing that the sport needed an American Heavyweight champion to survive in its forever dying days, and Seth Mitchell was apparently the Heavyweight savior we were told we needed. Mitchell was one of the original Al Haymon pet projects that took premium network time on HBO and was being built up to a potential title shot fighting horrid competition.
Mitchell was a raw talent, and it was only a matter of time before he’d get exposed at the top level. The top level never came as Mitchell was embarrassed by also-rans Johnathan Banks and Cris Arreola, not getting out of the second round in two crushing defeats. The embarrassment of those defeats caused Mitchell to walk away from the sport altogether, although his experimentation paved the way for Haymon to obtain his long-awaited American Heavyweight champion in Deontay Wilder who has, unlike Mitchell, could pad his way to a belt…and maybe a future spot on this list as time goes by.