Where Are The Good American Heavyweights?

By Tom Donelson
Updated: November 24, 2007

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — The American Heavyweights are in sad shape. The old guard, toothless due to age and erosion of skills, still fight but their best days have long since past. Chris Byrd’s recent knockout lost to Alexander Povetkin and Sultan Ibragimov unanimous victory over Evander Holyfield only details the scarcity of good American heavyweights.

Fast Eddie Chambers’ recent victory over Calvin Brock have reinforced the notion that he is presently the best American heavyweight or at least in the top two or three. Brock, who was the recent best American hope, was just too slow to handle the fast handed Chambers.

Chambers’ biggest advantage is that he has middleweight hand speed in a heavyweight body but as his two victories over Dominick Guinn and Brock showed, he is not endowed with natural power.

What we may be witnessing is the second coming of Chris Byrd, the tricky quick boxer, who befuddle most heavyweights before age eroded his speed and made him just a sitting target for bigger and stronger heavyweight.

In his bout with Brock, he constantly sat in front of the “fighting banker” but Brock often failed to connect with solid shots. Chambers’ quick hands landed quick combinations but never in this fight did Brock ever appear in trouble.

Chambers popped Brock but there were times in the fight that Chambers simply played defense and kept Brock in the fight. The fight was close on the scorecard simply because he took long breaks in the fight to allow Brock pound on him.

The judges simply gave points to Brock based on effort.

Chambers is a small heavyweight and often small heavyweights either need super fast hand or one punch knockout. Byrd survived because of superior defensive skills and quick hands that often confused the bigger fighter and it didn’t hurt that Byrd could take a punch.

This is a man who survived punches from some of the biggest heavyweights. Holyfield uses his toughness, quick skills and power to survive and Mike Tyson’s one knockout punch often proved to be great equalizer.

Chambers does not have the power to compete with the bigger heavyweights and no one knows what will happen if he goes up against the bigger heavyweights like Wladimir Klitschko, who not only have power but skills.

Another American hopeful is Chris Arreola, a big tough heavyweight who has the power to compete with the elite European fighters who now dominate the division. Arreola has both the height and bulk to go toe to toe with the bigger heavyweights and the real question is what will happen when he moves up in class?

Chambers has already fought former contender Dominick Guinn and Calvin Brock, who is not that far removed from his failed championship shot.

Kevin Johnson is a quick boxer but like Chambers, his lack of power could hurt him as he moves up in class and he is still behind Chambers when it comes to experience.

Right now, Chambers is the leading American heavyweight prospect but like the other young heavyweights, there are more questions than answer. The one question, can Chambers challenge the bigger Europeans?

Chris Byrd showed that size can be equalize by quickness and that is Chambers only hope for the same when he competes for a title..