'Phighting' Phillies 2012 | Philadelphia Boxing Stars, Present and FutureWritten by Mark Weber
Philadelphia has long been considered one of the "Holy Lands" of boxing.
The great city produced such talents as Harold Johnson, 'The Phantom of Philly' Tommy Loughran, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Joey Giardello, "Smokin" Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins and Meldrick Taylor.
Nicknamed "The City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia is rich in boxing lore, with landmarks such as the fabled Blue Horizon, which was named the No. 1 Boxing Venue in the world by Ring Magazine. Its also home to legendary promoters and trainers such as Herman Taylor, J Russel Peltz
and, of course, Rocky Balboa.
While pro team sports thrive there, the city will be forever synonymous with boxing and has remained, for almost the entire tenure of the sport, as one of the great hot beds for the sport.
And while many of the cherished fighters and landmarks, such as the old gyms and Blue Horizon are gone, the fighting culture still remains. Pugilists there are known for fighting with tremendous pride and heart.
So, who in today's game represents the 'Fighting Pride of Philadelphia?'
And which Philadelphia fighters could be part of the next wave of young talent in boxing?
Danny Garcia: 24-0
Danny "Swift" Garcia, 24, might be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the game today. He propelled on the boxing scene fighting on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs Chad Dawson I in October 2011, beating Kendall Holt via a split decision to earn the vacant NABO Light Welterweight title. The win earned him the opportunity to fight Mexican legend Eric Morales for the WBC Light Welterweight title.
And earlier this year, after 12 rounds of exciting action, Garcia earned the unanimous decision over Morales to lift the WBC Jr Middleweight Title.
But still relatively obscure, Garcia cracked the upper echelon of the sport with his dramatic upset win over former two-time jr welterweight champion Amir Khan. Garcia unleashed an epic left hook in Round 3 that sent Khan to the canvas. Although Khan beat the count, he wasn't able to fully recover. Garcia dropped Khan twice more in Round 4, forcing referee Kenny Bayliss to call a halt to the action.
With the victory, Garcia retained his WBC Light Welterweight Title, captured the WBA strap and won the and all-important RING Light Welterweight title.
Danny Garcia is truly one of the top fighters in the game and his hard-working, blue collar, never-say-die approach is emblematic of the "City of Brotherly Love." Expect this 24 year old to be a star in the sport for years to come.
Next Fight: Eric Morales, October 20th in New York City. The fight will take place in Brookland's new arena, Barclays Center, and will be one of the first boxing events to be showcased there.
Mike Jones: 26-1
Mike Jones, 29, was seemingly on the path to becoming one of the best young talents in the sport and a potential world champion. Trained by legendary Philadelphia Hall of Famer Joe Frazier as a youth, Jones started making a name for himself early in his career, primarily fighting in Philadelphia, which included an appearance at the historic Blue Horizon.
In 2010, Jones was awarded a controversial decision over longtime veteran Jesus Soto Karass on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard in Cowboy Stadium. However, in their rematch the following year, Jones won a convincing decision in a great performance, earning him an IBF Welterweight title eliminator against Argentina's Sebastian Lujan.
Jones would defeat Lujan via a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Margarito-Cotto II, thus paving the way for a shot at the vacant IBF Welterweight title against Randall Bailey.
A nasty straight-right from Bailey floored Jones toward the end of Round 10 before he fell victim to a big right uppercut in the eleventh from he could not recover. Although many fight fans were disappointed, Mike Jones remains a top fighter in the game today and will likely be a title contender, if not eventually a world champion, for years to come.
Eddie Chambers 36-3
Eddie Chambers was the one-time hopeful to derail the 'Klitschko Train.' Even though he's failed to do so, "Fast Eddie" remains a well respected, top-level heavyweight.
Chambers gained local recognition by posting an outstanding 17 victories at the Blue Horizon. The exposure earned him the opportunity to enter an IBF 4-Man single elimination tournament, with the winner getting a guaranteed shot at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Although Chambers defeated top 10 contender Calvin Brock, he would lose, via a decision, to Alexander Povetkin in the semi-finals. However, he would rebound to defeat Sam Peter, the"Nigerian Nightmare,"and undefeated, top prospect at the time Alexander Dimitrienko. After Povetkin team's refused to accept a match with Klitschko, Chambers, who had posted consecutive wins over highly-ranked opponents, stepped in to face the champion. But despite a valiant effort, Eddie succumbed to Wladimir by a 12th Round KO.
He last fought in June of 2012, losing to top 5 heavyweight Tomasz Adamek and is one of the last of the many great fighting products to have fought out of the Blue Horizon.
Bernard Hopkins 52-6-2
Yes, he still fights.
Arguably one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, BHOP is still an elite fighter. Although many hope he retires soon as his legacy is already cemented, the defiant Hopkins seemingly has no immediate plans to leave the ring.
Having defended a world middleweight title a record 20 times, he is considered one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time and is the first fighter to retain all 4 world titles of each major boxing sanctioning body, plus The Ring belt, in the one fight.
In May 2011, the ageless Hopkins became the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title, defeating Jean Pascal for the WBC and RING Magazine Light Heavyweight Title at the age of 46. Nearly a year later, he'd lose it via a majority decision to Chad Dawson.
Hopefully Bernard decides to hang 'em up soon. What more is there to accomplish?
The Next Wave?
Gabriel Rosado 20-5:
Rosado is quickly making a name for himself, twice appearing on NBC Sports Fight Night with victories over Sechew Powell and Jesus Soto Karass. The exposure and excitement likely earned him an opportunity to face Charles Whittaker in a IBF title eliminator bout with the winner perhaps facing Cornelius "K9" Bundrage for the IBF Light Middleweight championship.
Hank Lundy 22-2
Unsurprisingly, Lundy is another product of the Blue Horizon. He fought at the venue three times, winning all three bouts. Lundy was on the fast track to becoming a serious contender in the Lightweight division, but lost his most recent bout to Raymundo Beltran on Friday Night Fights last month.
Farah Ennis 20-1
Known as "Quiet Storm," Ennis has made several appearances at the famous Blue Horizon, winning all of his bouts there. He recently made his national TV debut when he defeated Richard Pierson on the undercard of Hank Lundy vs. Raymundo Beltran on Friday Night Fights in July of 2012.
Bryant Jennings 14-0
Jennings is on the quick track to potentially landing some high-profile fights in the heavyweight division. Although he has not faced a legit contender yet, aside from a seemingly depleted Siarhei Liakhovich, many think he may have the potential to dethrone one of the Klitschkos after adding experience and bigger names to his ledger. He still has a lot to accomplish before becoming a top-level contender but remains an exciting American heavyweight prospect.
Jennings is expected to fight on the Rosado-Whitaker undercard which will possibly be televised on NBC Sports in September.
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2: New York
3: Los Angeles
9: Washington DC
10: Puerto Rico
Born and raised in Philadelphia, I currently reside in South Jersey which is about 20 minutes away from Philly.
I'm a Communications major at Gloucester County College and lifelong fan of several sports, including Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing.
I fell in love with Boxing during the era of the little giants... Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao, and Juan Manuel Marquez.