It’s been an exciting 2015 for boxing and its fans. It was a year of amazing comebacks and upsets. A year “The Best Ever” retired and a year top tier talent went winless. Three names standout and hopefully we see them get Ws in 2016.
Devon Alexander (0-1-0): After 12 hard rounds in a UD lose to Amir Khan in December of 2014, it seems like Alexander took a little extra time to lick his wounds. Alexander usually fights two times per year but in 2015 we only had a chance to see him once. The lone fight against Aaron Martinez was brimming with action for 10 straight rounds. Martinez is a pressure fighter who applied it every chance he could, which proved to be problematic for Alexander, the more methodical technician. If Alexander wants to get back in the 147 top dog conversation, he’ll need to find a way to put it all together inside and outside of the ring, quickly. He’s 1-3 in his last four and with just one fight in 2015, the Team Alexander stock is looking bearish. There’s a deep pool of talent at 147 and Alexander just needs to topple another big name in order to get back into the mix.
Andy Lee (0-1-1): Between 2013-2014 Lee was 6-0, capping 2014 with a TKO victory over the dangerous and often avoided Matt Korobov for the vacant WBO middleweight title. Following a successful two year stretch, Lee set 2015 off by going up against Peter Quillen. Lee was dropped twice early, but returned the courtesy by seating Quillen in the seventh on his way to a split draw. Quillen is a guy many thought Lee would lose to so walking away with a draw on Quillen’s home turf can be seen as a positive. Although I’m sure he isn’t looking for any pity points. In Lee’s next bout, he took on Billy Joe Saunders who consistently countered him all night and beat him via majority decision. However, Lee losing to a UK rival at home on the backend of back-to-back loses is bad for business and his 2015. Although Saunders is an undefeated fighter, many fans in the states are unfamiliar with him because he hasn’t fought the big names at 160 and none of his fights have taken place in the US. He’s no slouch and we will be hearing plenty from him in 2016. On paper, 0-1-1 in 2015 doesn’t look good for Andy Lee but he fought two A-level opponents and fought hard in both fights.
Bryant Jennings (0-2-0): After knocking off two undefeated fighters in 2014, Jennings dramatically raised his level of competition when he faced Klitschko in April. Klitschko’s bond with the heavyweight titles was tighter than the grip he kept on opponents throughout his career. For Jennings to dispossess Klitschko, it was going to take a miracle. Klitschko was far from unbeatable but he hadn’t lost in over ten years and Jennings had just picked up the sport six years ago. Ultimately, the fight bordered on boring due to Klitschko’s jab and grab style coupled with Jennings’ inability to parry the champions defensive attack. In December of 2015, Jennings stepped in the ring with the undefeated southpaw, Luis Ortiz, from Cuba. The power of Ortiz seemed to overwhelm Jennings in the early rounds but Jennings rallied intermittently by landing clean punches and staying busier. In the end, Ortiz was too talented. His speed, power and boxing prowess gave him an edge which caused Jennings to suffer his first knockdown and second defeat. The handlers of Jennings brought him along fast but a couple of fights against less notable competition in 2016 will certainly set him on the winning track.