Consider this article a sequel to the article of the same name from May 2008.
The good news is that there seems to be less of a logjam on the local scene than there was back then – despite a few hiccups, 2009 has been a pretty good year for boxing in Minnesota. But it’s also true that there are still some Minnesota boxers who are frittering their prime away, or participating in fights that don’t advance their careers in an appreciable way. The cause may be overcaution, chronic indecision, the dread of losing a glamorous record, or the simple lack of a workable career strategy.
In alphabetical order:
- Antonio Johnson (7-1-1 with 3 kayos) Who is managing the career of the St Paul Kid? Johnson has never been a particularly active fighter, but he did manage to fight three times in 2005 and three more times in 2006. Since then he has only fought once each year in 2007, 2008, and 2009 – and his last two fights have been a draw to a 10-0 prospect and a loss to a 9-1 fighter in that opponent’s hometown. As a result, the very talented and ambitious Johnson is now an inactive fighter who hasn’t won a boxing match in two and a half years.
- Andy Kolle (19-2 with 14 kayos) is on this list because his activity rate so radically departs from what he desires. Back in December of 2007 Kolle told me that ideally he would like to fight five or six times a year. Since that interview, 22 months ago, Kolle has fought four times. To his credit, Kolle has won three of the four against very credible opposition. To his detriment, there doesn’t seem to be a cogent plan to advance his career.
- Kenny Kost (14-4 with 6 kayos) Kost, who turned pro in 2003, fought six times in 2004, winning all six. Since then, however, Kost has never fought more than three times in a year, so he has never been a particularly prolific prizefighter. Yet eighteen months of inactivity is out of character even for him. Kost hasn’t been seen in a professional boxing match since dropping an eight-round decision to Hector Camacho in April 2008. Kost is one of those guys with other things to do – he makes his money in construction, so spring, summer, and fall are out for him. So if he never appears in a prize fighting ring again, it might be more our loss than his.
- Zach Walters (24-4 with 19 kayos) Like Andy Kolle, Zach Walters trains under and is managed by Chuck Horton of Horton’s Gym, in Duluth. Walters’ record was 23-2 and he was just beginning to make a blip on the worldwide radar in the summer of 2008 when he lost to 18-6 Shawn Hammack in a stunner. Walters and Horton next took a fight against former world titlist Byron Mitchell in an effort to regain credibility and rake in some cash, but that turned into a fiasco when Walters suffered a bad cut on his tongue and Horton threw in the towel on the advice of the ringside doctor. After three fights in ’08, Walters has had just two in ’09, only one of them a win, and that against 11-12 journeyman James Morrow. Horton had done a great job of building Walters up prior to the Hammack loss, but now Walters finds himself in the unenviable position of not having won a fight against an opponent with a winning record since June of 2008, and unless something happens soon, he’ll end 2009 not having fought in six months.
- Derek Winston (0-0) Here’s a guy who keeps trying to go pro, and circumstances conspire against him. Each time he’s been scheduled to fight in the past, either the fight or the entire event has been canceled. The one time fight fans did get to see him in the ring (at the Myth nightclub in August, when Winston and cousin Antwan Robertson fought a four-round exhibition sans headgear) Winston looked very impressive. Good news! Winston is scheduled to face Tomi Archambeault at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen on Friday, October 23.
The other end of the spectrum…
- Say what you want to about Tony Grygelko of Seconds Out Promotions, but he knows who brings home his bacon, and he’s done a dandy job of keeping that man (13-0 middleweight Caleb Traux) busy. When he steps out of the ring after his November 20th fight with Carl Daniels, Truax will have had six fights in the last twelve months. His teammate Jeremy McLaurin, another up-and-comer, is also scheduled to box in that event and will also have had six fights in twelve months.
- Ceresso Fort (7-0 with 7 kayos), a ward of Midwest Sports Council (MSC) is scheduled to have his fifth fight in twelve months on November 13th at Grand Casino Hinckley, with more events soon to come.
- Until his current spate of activity began last April, Jason Litzau (25-2 with 21 kayos) hadn’t fought in 14 months and had a spot on this list locked up. But Litzau made his return to the ring in April with a 5th-round TKO of Phillip Payne, demolished Verquan Kimbrough in 3 rounds in August, and now has an ESPN2-televised bout with Johnnie Edwards scheduled for the 4th of November.
The Fistic Mystic says: I’m a realist – I know that there’s often something bubbling away below the surface; events are developing that I don’t know about…someone (maybe more than one someone) will be justifiably irritated to see their name unfairly listed in this article. The best outcome would be for me to someday consider writing this article and then realize that there’s no one who fits the bill; that everyone is as busy as they want to be!