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Rating the 2012 Olympians

By Anson Wainwright


It’s been 18 months since the London 2012 Olympics. Needless to say, it wasn’t a successful Games for the American boxing team.

Though America had a fighter in nine of the 10 weight classes, they were unable to register a single medal, going a hugely disappointing 5-9 throughout the tournament.

In fact, no American team has fared as poorly since boxing became an Olympic event back in 1904 (America didn’t send a team to the 1908 games in London whilst boycotting the 1980 event in Moscow).


All nine members of the squad are now in the professional ranks. Maxboxing.com spoke with matchmaker Jolene Mizzone of Main Events to gauge her opinion on the American team. Main Events didn’t sign any of the team so she remains impartial. Here’s how each fighter is doing so far.

Dominic Breazeale – Heavyweight, 10-0 (9)
The super heavyweight representative received a bye in the opening round at the Olympics before losing a decision to Russian Magomed Omarov by the score of 18-9. “Trouble” is already 10-0 with nine knockouts, facing the usual suspects, though he has aligned himself with manager Al Haymon. The big Californian is already 28 and largely a work in progress.

The Mizzone: “He’s on a slower path, which is fine. He just needs to be put in with the right opposition in order to learn off each fight. He hasn’t really been in with anything so tough to say he’s really passed the test. He’s moving slow. Once he gets in with a C-plus fighter, one of those veterans at some point to see if he has the talent. He has the boxing skills; he’s not a bad fighter. I see him going the [Deontay] Wilder route, fighting easier opposition, which I don’t think that’s good for any fighter. I don’t see him being the answer for America. It’s early but I don’t see it.”

Next Fight - Recently went the distance for the first time, outpointing Nagy Aguilera on Fox Sports. His next fight hasn’t yet been announced.

Michael Hunter Jr. – Heavyweight, 4-0 (3)
Son of former heavyweight contender Mike Hunter, based himself in Las Vegas, winning several amateur titles including the 2011 Golden Gloves and the U.S. Nationals in 2007 and 2009. Hunter, 25, also received a bye into the round of 16, losing to Russian star Artur Beterbiev on a count-back following a 10:10 decision. As a pro Hunter’s progression has been slow; he’s 4-0 with three knockouts.

The Mizzone: “I’m a big fan of Hunter; I think he can fight. I think he has the talent. I think he deprived himself with waiting too long to turn pro and not being promoted properly. As a guy who was in the Olympics and who was coming up, I think he’s depriving himself with just three fights so far. Again, it’s the same thing. He has to be put in with the right opposition to build him up. The unfortunate thing about Hunter is by now, everyone should be talking about him and people really aren’t talking about him. There’s no buzz. Here’s the unfortunate thing: you heard Michael Hunter’s name before he went to the Olympics. He was around the professional scene rubbing elbows with everybody. You heard more about Michael Hunter when he wasn’t fighting professionally.”

Next Fight - Like Breazeale, Hunter fought recently, going the distance, beating Rodney Hernandez over six rounds. Scheduled to make a quick return fighting April 26 in Phoenix, AZ. before all being well returning May 10 against Jerry Forrest in Los Angeles, CA.

Marcus Browne - Light Heavyweight, 10-0 (7)
The 23-year-old New York-born and raised light heavyweight lost a razor-thin 13:11 decision in the opening round at the Olympics when he was matched with highly-touted Australian Damian Hooper. However, he’s managed to put that disappointment behind him, advancing to 10-0 with seven stoppage wins to his name. Won a lopsided eight-round decision over hardnosed Otis Griffin on the undercard of last weekend’s Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov light heavyweight title unification bout.

The Mizzone: “I’m a big fan of his; I think he’s going to fare well. He’s a younger guy but he has a very mature mindset, which you don’t see in a lot of these guys. He’s level-headed. I’ve seen him spar numerous times; he has that confidence and he has the skills. In his last two fights, they’ve upped the competition, which Marcus needed. He needs better competition ‘cause that’s going to make him better. He needs to go through the headbutting, going the distance, not stopping everyone and he’s getting that now. I think he’s a talent and I think he’s going to go far just because of his maturity and his focus. I think Marcus is a guy who will win a world title.”

Next Fight - Only recently fought, nothing in the works as of yet.

Terrell Gausha – Middleweight, 8-0 (5)
Having won three regional Golden Gloves championships as well as the 2009 National Silver Gloves, Gausha, now 26, would have expected to have performed better than he did at the Olympics, losing in the round of 16 to Indian boxer Vijender Singh by close decision. The Cleveland native is 8-0 (5) though hasn’t had things all his own way as a pro, having to recover from a first round knockdown in his fourth outing in April of last year to squeeze by William Waters.

The Mizzone: “Watching the Olympics, probably in my opinion, he has the least amount of talent. But in my opinion, he was one of my favourite picks in terms of being charismatic, fighting how people want him to fight. You have to put him in with the right guys because he’s still learning on the job. He was one guy that really stuck out. He probably wasn’t the best technical guy but he’s a come-forward guy and that’s always going to make good fights. I think it’s stretching things to see him win world titles. He’s a fun fighter but that can only take you so far. I don’t think he has the technical talent; there are plenty of fighters way back when that were fun fighters but technically, they weren’t the Floyd Mayweathers or Winky Wrights of the world but they had some technique and defence. I don’t know if Terrell is that guy.”

Next Fight - Meets battle-tested Charles Whittaker on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

Errol Spence – Welterweight, 12-0 (10)
As an amateur, the 24-year-old southpaw won several national titles, appearing at the 2009 World Championships and again at the 2011 Games, only to lose in the quarterfinals to eventual silver medallist Serik Sapiyev. Spence also would lose in the quarterfinals of the Olympics against Andrey Zamkovoy by close decision. The Texan is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, is managed by Al Haymon and has gone 12-0 (10) with seven bouts ending in the first round. Arguably the most decorated of the Olympians with a bright future as a pro predicted.

The Mizzone: “I don’t know him personally. I don’t know mindset, focus because that’s a lot with these fighters. You could be on Showtime, Fox Sports, but can you handle being a star? Maybe he could. I don’t know him personally like that but he has all the talent in the world in that ring. I think he can beat a lot of guys and I think he can be world champion. But the question is does he have the focus and mindset for outside for all that comes his way? Is he going to be able to handle that? If he does, he’s the total package because in the ring, he’s the best one that came out of 2012.”

Next Fight - Took out late sub Raymond Charles in a single round last weekend. Nothing locked as of yet.

Jamel Herring - Light Welterweight, 7-0 (4)
Not the most celebrated member of the team, Herring battled through to become the number one American prior to the Olympics in which he lost in the opening round. As a pro, the New York-born fighter trains with Mike Stafford (feted for his work with Adrien Broner), going 7-0 (4). The 28-year-old former soldier campaigns at junior welterweight, winning a split decision against Antonio Sanchez on the undercard of Lamont Peterson-Dierry Jean.

The Mizzone: “I don’t really know too much about him. I really can’t comment on him.”

Next Fight - Nothing scheduled at the moment.

Jose Ramirez – Lightweight, 9-0 (7)
Heading into the Olympics, Ramirez was touted as a medal contender before losing in the round of 16 to Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov by close decision. Domestically, he won the U.S. Nationals three consecutive years, 2010-2012. Ramirez also represented America at the 2011 World’s, losing to Vasyl Lomachenko in a spirited effort.

The 21-year-old from Northern California is the only member of the team to sign with Top Rank Promotions and currently fights at lightweight though at 5’10”, is expected to grow into a junior welterweight. The Avenal resident is 9-0 (7) with six stoppages coming in the first round.

The Mizzone: “I think that’s one guy that is like a Spence. I don’t think he has as much talent as Spence. With him, it’s ‘Does he have the total package?’ Can he take it to the next level when he gets to the next level?’ Top Rank will match him right. They won’t match him with that easier fight. Whether it’s talking at the weigh-in, the dirty fighter inside the ring, you need all that. When you’re in a big fight or you’re under the big lights, you’ve been [there] and done it. I think with Ramirez with Top Rank, they’ll bring him along the right way, so when he gets to that point, he’s going to be ready. He’s young, so you have time with him. Yeah, I think so. I think he can win a world title. I still need to see more with him.”

Next Fight - Recently fought Boyd Henley, due to fight on May 17 in his home region of Fresno, CA.

Joseph Diaz - Super Bantamweight, 9-0 (7)
Became the first American boxer to qualify for the Olympics, having reached the quarterfinals of the World Championships the year previous, when he beat celebrated Oscar Valdez. At the Olympics, Diaz lost a good fight with Cuban Lazaro Alvarez, 21:15. “Jojo” is now fighting at super bantamweight and big things are expected of the Southern California prospect, who’s, so far, gone a spotless 9-0 (7).

The Mizzone: “He has talent. Is there anything specific that makes me want to turn on the TV about him right now? No, not right now. To point everything in a group and not be a hater but with a lot of these guys, you don’t know when they’re fighting. You need the buzz. I think with Diaz, there should be a buzz about him, with Golden Boy as West Coast promoter, he’s from there; he’s Latino. There should be a big buzz but everybody seems to be blended in with everybody. You don’t know when they’re fighting. I think Joseph Diaz could win a title.”

Next Fight - Only last month, fought Jiovany Fuentes on the undercard of Saul Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo, stopping his opponent in the fifth round. Takes on former world title challenger Luis Maldonado over eight rounds this Saturday.

Rau’shee Warren – Bantamweight, 10-0 (3)
The most experienced member of the team, appearing at the 2004 and 2008 Games. The Cincinnati fighter was unable to medal at any of the Olympics but he fared rather better at the World Championships, winning bronze in 2005 and 2011 with gold in 2007. Despite his experience, Warren only recently turned 27. As a pro, he’s on the same team as Adrien Broner. Thus far, Warren, who’s competing at bantamweight, is 10-0 with three knockouts to his name, going the eight-round distance twice as he progresses quickly. It’s not hard to envisage Warren being in striking distance of a title by the end of the year.

The Mizzone: “I think he’s a better amateur. There’s guy who you see and you want to see it again whether it’s pure boxing skills, power, charisma. Warren, as far as professional, he doesn’t do anything for me. He has talent. I just don’t know if he’s going to make it to the big leagues, make it to those big fights. I think he could be set up for a title fight and win it but it has to be the right opposition. It’s gonna be a guy who has won a title, not something big.”

Next Fight - Nothing scheduled at the moment.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.ukand you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.
 
 
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