Walker Goes Down

By Tom Donelson
Updated: October 22, 2007

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — In boxing, a brief second can change a career from being a contender and prospect to a mere pretender. Travis Walker walked into his SHOBOX appearance with 25 straight victories in a career that has not even seen a knock down, much less a defeat or draw.

Walker was part of group of young American heavyweights counted on to challenge the new Central European hegemony over the division.

Having already defeated other prospects such as Jason Estrada, Walker’s handlers viewed T.J. Wilson as another stepping stone to an eventual championship shot.

It took 15 seconds to dispel those plans and set Walker’s career back.

Wilson came out smoking and before Walker knew it, the fight was over with Walker trapped in the corner and unable to move or counter. Two straight left hands sent Walker head spinning and the referee stopped the fight before Walker even could throw a punch.

Just like that, Walker found his career upon ash heap and back to ground zero.

Steve Farhood, SHOBOX announcer, felt the fight was ended too quickly but his broadcast partner, Nick Charles agreed with the decision. As for Walker, young fighters often stub their toes before making it big and Walker defeat should not be a career buster. As Farhood noted before the fight, Walker was three years away from a title search and at the age of 28, he still has time.

Heavyweights develop more slowly and in this era of super big heavyweights, the peak age for them is stretched out further. Walker can come back but a defeat like what Walker suffered does put doubt into boxing fans and promoters. It is one thing to lose a close decision to another prospects, it is another to get clobbered and fail to finish even the first round.

Knockouts lost tend to be more damaging to a young fighter career

With his smashing victory, Wilson has now made himself a marketable commodity, or at least for the moment. A impressive knockout victory, in particular a quick knockout victory, often sends boxing fans and promoters salivating and wanting more.

At the age of 32, Wilson has less time to make his way toward the top but this victory gives him more opportunity for more exposure. Look for Wilson to appear on future SHOBOX or even ESPN broadcast.

Contender graduate Alfonso Gomez has taken full advantage of his Contender lineage. He’s not as talented as some of the other Contenders, but the guy is a action fighter who gives fans their money worth.

His Contender status has given him a following and his style and wiliness to fight adds to his allure. His last fight with Ben Tackie was a serious risk for if he lost, a big money fight with Cesar Chavez, Jr. would be off the table.

Gomez had just defeated Arturo Gatti before Gatti’s hometown fans and now he faced the tough Tackie, who has been in the ring with some of the best junior welterweights including Ricky Hatton, the best junior welterweight today. Tackie is a tough, in your face fighter.

Tackie put the pressure from the opening bell and both fighters exchanged punches from the first seconds of the bout. Gomez used his boxing skills to frustrate Tackie and in the middle rounds, his style build up points on the judges’ scorecard but by the end of the seventh round, Tackie began to turn the tide as his pressure slowed Gomez down.

The eighth and ninth went Tackie’s way as he scored with rights over Gomez’s jab.

The fight appeared close as the final round began. Gomez summoned up one last burst of energy and boxed his way to victory.

While the scorecards had Gomez winning by large margins, this was close fight and Gomez now has one more big pay day as he takes on the son of a Mexican legend.

As for Tackie, this fight showed that he still has some skills left but he is now moving into a heavier division, a division that is deeper than the one he is leaving.

The Welterweight is one of boxing deepest division and Tackie is closer to the end of his career. For Tackie, he is slowly moving toward being an opponent for younger prospects. He has moved from being a contender to a gatekeeper, whose job is to test young prospects just as Alfonso Gomez.