Changing of the Guard in Boxing – Recent Frenzy of Retirements

Changing of the Guard in Boxing: Recent Frenzy of Retirements

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

In today’s age of boxing, we have enjoyed the work of a lot of star fighters who were around seemingly forever. There used to be more fighter turnover when it was rare to even see a boxer remain on top for a decade. Well, just in the past month we’ve seen some fighters hang ’em up after at least a decade on the top. It’s going to be strange not seeing these guys around anymore, but such is the nature of the fight game. Let’s take a look at their legacies of these recently-retired fighters and the voids they leave behind.

Robert Guerrero: At 34 with a pro career that goes back to 2001, Guerrero called it quits following a tough TKO loss to Omar Figueroa in July. It was his third loss in a row for Guerrero, 33-6-1 (18 KOs), and his fifth defeat in seven fights, dating to his fight with Floyd Mayweather. The last chapter in his career may not have gone as planned, but let it not detract from a voluminous body of work that includes titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, and all the way up to welterweight. From 2006 to 2013, he was not beaten and was one of the best in the world. He also overcame a scary cancer crisis with his wife, showing class and dignity the entire way. His Hall of Fame case might be as solid as others on this list, but he could find himself in the hallowed hall one day. “The Ghost” will be fondly remembered.

Timothy Bradley: Just short of his 34th birthday, “Desert Storm” has also decided to call it quits. Only one man ever beat Bradley, 33-2-1 (13 KOs), and that was the great Pacquiao. He did well at 147, where he spent his last 8 fights, but his career was really distinguished by a dominant run at 140 pounds. At junior welterweight, he beat the best and with wins over Juan Manuel Marquez and Pacquiao, he added huge names to his ledger at welterweight. An energetic fighter who relied on conditioning and a huge fighting spirit, Bradley was often undersized and didn’t have a huge punch. All success that came his way was hard-earned. While his retirement seemed a bit premature with some big paydays looming, it’s good to see a good young man like Bradley get out of this brutal business a few fights too early than a few too late.

Wladimir Klitschko: While he was champion, it was easy to take shots at him. He was boring, his challengers were low-grade, and he seemed to eschew anything resembling a fight. By the time he was done, however, it was hard to not marvel at the guy. After three losses, it looked like the road back would be too difficult. He re-invented himself and dominated for a decade. It wasn’t always exciting, but he did it with such ease. Age eventually caught up with Klitschko, 64-5 (53 KOs), but no fighter ever really did while he was in his prime. And even his last two losses, a garbage fight with Tyson Fury and a career-ending war with Anthony Joshua where Klitschko nearly had the youngster KO’d, showed Klitschko wasn’t an easy guy to beat even at an advanced age. He may not have been what we’ve come to expect from dominant heavyweight champions, but he did it on his own terms. Boxing history needs to time to ruminate and when Klitschko’s legacy does, it will be hard to keep him off the all-time list of top-ten heavyweights.


Juan Manuel Marquez: Last but not least is the great Mexican warrior Marquez, 56-7-1 (40 KOs). He will go down as a small handful of the greatest to ever emerge from the boxing-crazy nation of Mexico. Quite simply, he will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all-time. He lost his pro debut in 1993 and would not lose in any kind of decisive manner until 2009 when he was outboxed by the bigger Floyd Mayweather. Along the way, he beat guys like Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao, and many other championship-level fighters. His KO of Manny Pacquiao in 2012 stands out as one of the best wins of the 21st century. Robbed, ducked, and not always fully appreciated, Marquez was perseverant and by the time he was done, he compiled a Hall of Fame resume above reproach. He has been inactive for three years and is a ripe 44, so his retirement was no big shock or loss perhaps, but for those of us who have followed his career for over two decades, it will be weird not having him around.

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