Contrary to some quarter's belief, boxing is never a dying sport. If you browse through the net, chances are you'd still find more news on boxing than any other contact sport.
Every decade, a fighter is hailed as boxing's main draw and awarded the "mantle"—expected to carry the sport itself on his shoulders. And traditionally, some budding young warriors are tagged as possibly the next King.
In the mid-80's to mid-90's, "Iron" Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet by issuing KO's like instant pancakes on those who cared to line up for him.
In the mid-90's, the young "Golden Boy" Oscar De La Hoya awed the world by his division-hopping conquest. Never mind that he lost some, he "pied-pipered" a lot of female followers into the sport.
Still at the peak of his career, De La Hoya was defeated by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. with his highly technical yet quite unorthodox skills. Mayweather, however, opted to retire sooner than the man he defeated and was either never really able or never really cared to carry the mantle.
Manny Pacquiao, who was still making his name known earlier this decade, was able to capture the mantle by defeating De La Hoya and retiring him thereafter. However, his reign may be short-lived as he's got plans to retire sooner than everybody expected.
So, who do we expect to carry on the tradition of being the sport's most coveted and looked-upon fighter?
Here are four current fighters tagged as prospects you can doubtfully expect to fill the shoes of today's stars:
1. Victor Ortiz
Ortiz is ESPN's 2008 Prospect of the year, a title fairly coveted by budding young warriors. GBP wasted no time in marketing the young fighter like a new product, conditioning every body else's mind that this is the future of boxing.
Just very recently, battered and bloodied Ortiz was stopped in the sixth round by Argentinian brawler Marcos Maidana. GBP made the mistake of having their ward face a very tough brawler who also happened to be rated within the top ten in the Jr. Welterweight division. Not only was the "Vicious" incapable of finishing, he succumbed to the pressures of El Chino.
2. Alfredo Angulo
Angulo was a Bronze medalist in the 2003 Pan American Games and had represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics. Twelve of his 15 wins came via knockout. Last May, Angulo lost via unanimous decision to Kermit Cintron, the man whose two losses was "handed" over by one man—Antonio Margarito.
Come to think of it, had it not been for Margarito, who's under suspension by the way for loaded hand wraps, Cintron would be undefeated. "The dog" was too tame for "The Killer."
3. Deandre Latimore
Latimore had a world-class fight experience in Sechew Powell, stopping him in seven rounds. Though the glitter of the victory was lessened after Powell tested positive for drugs, Latimore showed great development in terms of skills.
Though having experienced a loss in the past courtesy of Ian Gardner, Latimore garnered eight wins right after, with six of those wins via knockout. Last April, Latimore fought veteran Cory Spinks and lost via split decision. "The Bull" took a school bus ride to "The next generation."
4. Amir Khan
Amir Khan was a silver medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics and was regarded as the future of British boxing right after.
He had a great run after turning professional in 2005, garnering 18 straight wins before losing for the first time against Breidis Prescott within the very first round of their bout. He took elite trainer Freddie Roach and won against relatively unfamiliar Oisin Fagan, stopping him in two rounds.
His next fight was with Marco Antonio Barrera, who was more or less fpur years out of his peak after being battered twice by Manny Pacquiao and fought senseless fights right after merely to relieve his itch to box.
Downside: Aside from fans having a hard time figuring out what his career plans really are, fighting an unknown and a universally acknowledged shot veteran is no way to redeem a humiliating loss.
Every budding fighter aspires to be tagged as a great prospect and be given breaks. But when promotion and marketing transcends fighter's actual skills, the fall hurts as much as that of a humiliated braggart.