During the title reign of Jack Johnson a hundred or so years ago, the search for a white heavyweight to overcome the ‘negro’ champion became a holy grail for the western world, the theme continued for decades, although less conspicuously, throughout the reigns of Joe Louis, Ali and even Larry Holmes.
The notion of a great ‘white hope’ lost much of its tangible racial edge, well publicly at least, from the sixties onwards but the money making potential of a big white heavyweight that could punch still made fighters like Gerry Cooney or Tommy Morrison irresistible to promoters and managers.
A further twenty years on and the American promoters are no longer so particular about ethnicity – they just wish they could find a heavyweight who can fight. Several young contenders have come and gone without amounting to much over the last five to ten years. Michael Grant, Michael Bennett, Dominic Guinn, Calvin Brock, Joe Mesi, Owen Beck, Lamon Brewster and Malcolm Tann have all been flagged as the champion in waiting; the hungry young heavyweight to fill the void left by Bowe, Holyfield and Tyson. In the interim the heavyweight division has been dominated by fighters beyond American shores, sure they still compete in the American market but Lennox Lewis, Vitaly Klitschko, Nicolay Valuev, Wladimir Klitschko, Oleg Maskaev and others have moved the heavyweight powerbase to Europe. Beyond veterans Holyfield, Briggs and Byrd few heavyweights are emerging to take up the mantle.
Last night the latest in the long-line of heavyweights America has produced, though most observers will suggest the next great heavyweight is probably playing for the Giants or the Rams, Eddie Chambers took a significant step out from the crowd of possibilities, and moved to 29-0, when he unanimously outscored one of his predecessors on the production line Dominic Guinn. Prevailing 100-90 and 97-93, thanks to his faster hands, Chambers will now be touted as being one fight from a title shot. Such is the desperation to fast track a young American to a title and the type of notoriety needed to re-engage lost fans.
ESPN carry a brief fight report, which also details another aspiring contender Chris Arreola’s victory over Malcolm Tann. Click here for the report