Boxing prospects have had the habit of not living up to expectations in recent years. In fact, winning the Prospect of the Year award has been something of a curse.
Julio Diaz (2000), Francisco Bojado (2001), Samuel Peter (2004), Joel Julio (2005), Amir Khan (2007), Victor Ortiz (2008) and Daniel Jacobs (2009)—seven of ESPN.com's 12 Prospects of the Year since 2000—each lost a fight in the following calendar year.
Diaz, Khan and Ortiz were able to recover and win world titles, but the fact remains that many prospects fail to cope with the pressure of the high expectations heaped upon them. Others are simply overrated.
Gary Russell, Jr., the unanimous choice for 2011, looks as sure-fire as a prospect can be. His advanced ring craftsmanship, boxing IQ and natural physical talents are off the charts. We can never be sure, but Russell's continued success seems like a sound bet.
Thomas Dulorme, Jose Benavidez Jr., Javier Fortuna and Jonathan Gonzalez round out the top five prospects I believe are certain to avoid a loss in 2012.
A number of others, though, are at risk of losing this year. Here's a look at which prospects could fall in the next 12 months.