This past weekend we saw two top fighters make their American debut. That got me thinking what current fighters made a mark in their first fight in America.
America is the promised land for most fighters. In America you will fight the best fighters and make the most money.
When looking for these fights, level of competition and titles on the line played a big factor. Also, winning was not necessary but it was very crucial.
On this list we have nine fighters who won, eight fighters who won or retained a title, seven knockouts, two decisions (one UD/one MD), and one fighter who was impressive even in a loss.
Opponent: Irene Pacheco
American debut result: Win (TKO 0:44 Round 11). Won IBF Flyweight title.
Darchinyan was 21-0 when he made his American debut. Pacheco was 30-0 coming into the fight and held the IBF Flyweight title.
Two undefeated fighters fighting for a title would normally land higher on this list. The problem with this fight is Pacheco was a nobody and fought a bunch of nobodies.
Of course after this fight Darchinyan would go on to bigger and better things.
Opponent: Daniel Dawson
American debut result: Win. Defended WBO Light Middleweight title (TKO 2:12 Round 10).
This past weekend Dzinziruk made his American debut and looked good. He took on a late replacement in Dawson (34-1) and disposed of him easily.
He defended his title for the sixth time. Dzinziruk showed his great jab and proved he has the skills to rule the 154 pound division.
Opponent: Paulie Malignaggi
American debut result: Win (TKO 1:25 Round 11). Retained WBA Light Welterweight title.
Sticking with fighters that debuted last weekend we go to Khan. He fought a tough fighter in Malignaggi and was impressive.
He showed that he may be the second-fastest fighter in the game and is very calm for a 23-year-old. He battered a solid contender and showed he is a top fighter in his division.
He retained his WBA title for the second time with this win.
Opponent: Czar Amonsot
American debut result: Win (UD 12). Retained WBO interim Lightweight title.
Katsidis was set to make his American debut against Joan Guzman. Guzman pulled out due to a hand injury and we got this treat.
If this was purely a list of exciting debuts this fight would be one. This was an absolute and total war.
Katsidis was undefeated and coming off another war against Graham Earl. Katsidis put Amonsot down in the second and 10th round. He won a unanimous decision after the back and forth war.
Unfortunately, after the fight it was discovered Amonsot had a subdural hematoma.
Opponent: Edison Miranda
American debut result: Win (TKO 1:13 Round 4).
This was a rematch of a fight that took place two years prior. Abraham won that fought with a highly controversial unanimous decision in Germany.
Miranda had broken Abraham’s jaw in the first fight and many believed he did enough to win. Miranda was out for revenge in this fight.
Miranda was knocked out by Kelly Pavlik between the first fight and this one but was seen as a legitimate threat. That thought was quickly erased.
Miranda went down three times in Round Four and the fight was stopped.
Opponent: Jorge Arce
American debut result: Win (UD 12). Retained WBC Super Flyweight title.
Mijares made a very impressive American debut by defeating the former titlist Arce. This was a battle between two of the better little men in recent years.
Mijares battered Arce and left him a bloody mess. It was Arce’s first loss in eight years and only fourth overall.
Mijares retained his title for the third time.
Opponent: Victor Ortiz
American debut result: Win (TKO 0:46 Round 6). Won interim WBA Light Welterweight title.
Maidana was coming off a loss to Andriy Kotelnik in a WBA title try. Ortiz was looking to continue his climb up the ranks with a win on HBO.
Ortiz was pegged as the next golden boy for Golden Boy promotions but found himself in too deep.
They traded knockdowns in the First Round and Maidana was down two more times in the Second. As the fight wore on Maidana took control and put Ortiz down for the final time in the Sixth Round.
Opponent: Lennox Lewis
American debut result: Loss (TKO 3:00 Round 6).
The only fighter on this list that didn’t win his American debut. Klitschko held the WBO title before this but this was his best opponent to date.
Klitschko and Lewis went to war in this one and it was truly amazing. Klitschko was pushing the champion and he was ahead on all three cards at the time of the stoppage.
The fight was stopped due to a nasty cut under the eye of Klitschko. This was the last fight for Lewis.
Opponent: Lehlohonolo Ledwaba
American debut result: Win (TKO 0:59 Round 6). Won IBF Super Bantamweight title.
Making any kind of list without Pacquiao these days is hard. So here he is at No. 2.
This was another fight that almost didn’t happen as Pacquiao stepped in on two weeks notice.
He was 32-2 and fighting a fighter who was 31-1-1 who had defended his title four times. Pacquiao totally outclassed Ledwaba and ended matters in the sixth round with the second knockdown of the fight.
This was the second title for Pacquiao in as many weight classes.
Opponent: Paul Briggs
American debut result: Win (MD 12). Won WBC Light Heavyweight title.
Adamek-Briggs was an absolute war. Briggs suffered a large cut above his left eye early in the fight and Adamek bled profusely from his broken nose.
This was a very close fight but Adamek won the fight due to his aggression. He won by scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 117-113.
After their second fight HBO announcer Jim Lampley said they were the best 24 rounds he had ever seen.