This Saturday night heavyweight hopeful, Jared Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) makes his homecoming against former belt-holder, Charles Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs) at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. This bout is considered a bit of a step-up bout, even with Martin being a late replacement.
Currently the heavyweight class is co-ruled by Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, with the likes of Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz and Zhilei Zhang behind them.
Anderson represents the future. And he's certainly the best young American big man around currently in the sport. In fact, it says here that 'Big Baby' is the best pure American heavyweight prospect since Riddick 'Big Daddy' Bowe.
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Yeah, some will state the case for Wilder, but while 'the Bronze Bomber has certainly had a storied career which saw him win the WBC title and rack up numerous defenses, Wilder coming out of the 2008 Olympics was really considered a bit of a project. Which was reflected in the matchmaking throughout most of his run till he faced Bermane Stiverne for the belt in 2015 in his 33rd professional contest.
This is not a knock on Wilder, to the contrary, credit has to be paid to how Wilder was able to harness his nuclear right hand while learning on the job, and becoming a boxer who earned tens of millions of dollars. Also his handlers should be given plaudits for the way they guided him.
You get the sense that Anderson wont need 33 bouts under his belt to compete for a major world title. In fact, he may not even have that many fights in his career if he has it his way (more on that later).
But what really separates Anderson is that unlike Michael Grant, Jameel McCline, Gerald Washington, Seth Mitchell, Dominic Breazeale and many other American's of recent ilk who turned to boxing once their NBA and NFL aspirations died -- Anderson was a boxer first and foremost.
As you see his natural fluid movements, his ability to switch-hit -- a rarity for heavyweights -- power in both hands and counter-punching skills, it's clear that he doesn't just paint-by-numbers inside the squared circle. The only question at this point is how well does he catch on the chin? At 6'4, 240-ish, he may not have optimal size for 21st century heavyweights, but he more than makes up for it with his athletic dexterity.
Anderson is clearly a guy who has crafted his skill set since he was a kid. He harkens back to an era when many of this countries best athletes over 200 pounds focused on 'the sweet science', when the heavyweight champion was considered 'the baddest man on the planet'.
He is now largely an anamoly in that sense. But it has made him a valuable property, and Top Rank has certainly made him a priority for the future. Which is one of the reasons why they are showcasing him at home this weekend. “This is super special. I’m super excited. I’m the talk of the town. It’s a new feeling. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to embrace it. I’m happy to be an inspiration for the kids," he stated at the final press conference on Wednesday.
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
But you do wonder, how much does he actually love the sport? He admitted to Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV that boxing is much more of a vocation than a passion, and that if he had his way that he'd be out of the game by age 26, 27.
Well, if that is indeed the case, the 23 year old Anderson will have to move quickly, and pack in a whole lot of career in a relatively short time. Top Rank recently released a video where he spent some time with Roy Jones, and he got a bit emotional in discussing the pressure he feels.
Anderson is the future, but his reign may not be long, because boxing is not what he is -- it's just what he does. That may be his only drawback.
“My toughest fight outside the ring is life because it throws curveballs at you that you just don’t expect sometimes. I think I’ve been through a lot in my 23 years, and I think I’ve handled it well.”
On this weeks edition of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule', former light heavyweight champion, Antonio Tarver, joined Mario Lopez and I, and we touched on numerous subjects, including being on the front line for Mayweather-Gotti. Click on the Linktree to subscribe on your preferred platform:
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The main ESPN broadcast begins at 10 pm, ET/7 pm, PT, and it also features another heavyweight bout between Arslanbek Makhmudov- Raphael Akpejiori.... Also blue-chip prospect, Abdullah Mason, who hails from Cleveland, is on the telecast....Speaking of 'the Big Bang' Zhang, his rematch with Joe Joyce has been set for September 23 in London....Franchon Crews-Dezurn-Savannah Marshall will be on ESPN+ earlier that afternoon... While Dalton Smith vs. Sam Maxwell are spotlighted on DAZN around that same time....I'm really enjoying the 'American Gladiators' documentary on Netflix... I can be reached at email@example.com....