Wladimir Klitschko and the 10 Most Underappreciated Boxers Today

First LastCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2011

Wladimir Klitschko and the 10 Most Underappreciated Boxers Today

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    As the picture shows, not even Wladimir Klitschko's opponent, David Haye, wants to shake his hand and show him the respect that he has been robbed of due to lack of credible opponents.

    Heavyweight champion Haye will finally bring a spark to a Klitschko fight that has been missing throughout his career. Klitschko can only hope that spark comes in the form of him landing a devastating right hand on the chin of Haye and not the other way around. Both boxers have been on the receiving end of knockouts in their career.

    Klitschko will be fighting for respect on July 2nd, and these 10 boxers are all currently seeking the same thing from the boxing public as they make their way up the ranks.

Notable Mention: Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KO)

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    If Andre Dirrell's hit-and-run style wasn't enough to criticize, pulling out of the Super Six Tournament made it even worse or him to earn some credit.

    At 27, Dirrell is still one of the younger up-and-comers in the sport and only has 20 professional bouts under his belt. His lone defeat was a split-decision loss to Carl Froch in the opening round of the tournament.

    Froch made it all the way to the finals while Dirrell defeated Arthur Abraham and dropped out due to an neurological problem.

    "The Matrix" is finally returning to the ring in August to face Sebastian Demers in Oakland, California.

No. 10: Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KO)

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    Wladimir Klitschko isn't exactly the people's champion and he is the modern day Larry Holmes of the heavyweight division.

    Like Holmes followed Ali, Klitschko followed Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis and the division has been lackluster ever since with few heavyweight capturing the public's attention.

    Three nockout losses have tarnished the Ukrainian boxer's career, but they don't take away the fact that he has been the most dominant heavyweight champion of the past seven years.

    "Dr. Steelhammer" will look to regain some momentum in his career when he faces David Haye on July 2nd.

No. 9: Lamont Peterson (28-1-1, 14 KO)

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    Welterweight boxer Lamont Peterson hasn't entered the ring since earning a close draw in 2010 when he fought current WBC Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz.

    Peterson is very underrated in his division, and he is also one of the most determined to make it to the top. In both of his bouts versus Ortiz and Timothy Bradley, he was knocked down early on but survived to make it the distance. His only career loss is to Bradley, who is undefeated.

    He is scheduled to face Victor Cayo on July 29th, and it's a bout that has been on and off in the past months. With a win, he will be set to face another top challenger in the 140 pound division.

No. 8: Chis John (45-0-2, 22 KO)

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    The door may have actually opened for Indonesian fighter Chris John when Juan Manuel Lopez lost his featherweight title in April to Orlando Salido.

    All the talk was around the two FW kingpins Yuriorkis Gamboa and Lopez fighting later this year. The upset loss that Lopez suffered gives John the perfect opportunity to prove he is the best in his division and a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter.

    His 45-0-2 record is more than enough to prove he is worth the top spot in the division, but nobody seems to demand the fight between him and Gamboa.

    It is the most important and significant fight to be made in the featherweight division right now.

No. 7: Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO)

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    WBA World Lightweight Champion Robert Guerrero is called "The Ghost," and he certainly has been one for most of his career.

    His recent victory over tough Australian brawler Michael Katsidis has earned him some attention along with his HBO televised bouts, and he will need to build upon that when he takes on Marcos Maidana in August.

    Maidana is 30-2 with 27 knockouts, including two very exciting fights versus Amir Khan and Erik Morales. He may just be the perfect type of opponent to set Guerrero on track to superstar status.

    Guerrero has notable victories over Katsidis, Vicente Escobedo, Joel Casamayor, Daud Cino Yordan and Jason Litzau.

No. 6: Joshua Clottey (35-4, 20 KO)

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    Everybody seems to have forgotten everything Joshua Clottey did before his disappointing performance against pound-for-pound leader Manny Pacquiao in 2010. Even before that, the Ghanaian boxer didn't appear to receive much credit at all.

    Before that, he had lost a close split decision to Miguel Cotto and defeated Zab Judah. He actually is the last person to beat the current IBF light welterweight champion.

    He was scheduled to return on the undercard of Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga but had to pull out early.

No. 5: Felix Sturm (36-2-1, 15 KO)

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    Felix Sturm has been one of the most underappreciated boxers of the last decade, and it's been that way since he lost a controversial unanimous decision to Oscar De La Hoya in 2004.

    He has spent almost eight years in the top 10 of the middleweight division and is currently ranked No. 1 by Ring magazine.

    His most recent performance came against the tough British boxer, Matthew Macklin. Sturm won a close split-decision that many thought he had lost. The main goal will be to face the Ring and WBC champion Sergio Martinez sometime in the future.

    Sturm would be the toughest fight for Martinez at middleweight, and if Martinez doesn't make the move to super-middleweight, this is the fight to make.

No. 4: Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KO)

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    Undefeated at 27-0, Timothy Bradley needs to keep it that way if he wants to get the big-name fights that are soon to come.

    His style isn't pretty, but it's effective. It usually results in head-butts, cuts and technical decisions, so Bradley isn't a fan favorite.

    His skills can't be ignored, though, and it seems most, like myself, spend more time talking about his head-butts than his technical boxing ability.

    If there is a 140-pound fighter who is going to challenge Pacquiao after Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez, it's going to be Bradley. His work ethic and ability to get rough in the ring are something that could give the Filipino superstar many problems.

No. 3: Steve Cunningham (24-2, 12 KO)

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    IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham returned earlier this year to successfully defend his title, but it was an overlooked bout that nobody seemed to care about against Enad Licina.

    Cunningham hasn't had much recognition in his career, and not since his fight with Tomasz Adamek in 2008 has he had a high-profile fight.

    Maybe it's the lackluster division he is in, but there are many worthy challengers that he could be paired up with to challenge and possibly defeat.

    Ranked as the number one crusierweight in the world by Ring Magazine, there's not much more he can do except put on exciting fights to earn some appreciation from the boxing fans.

No. 2: Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KO)

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    The question of just how underappreciated Andre Ward is may come about if he defeats Carl Froch in September and doesn't win the fighter of the year award.

    He recently dominated Arthur Abraham to advance to the finals of the Super Six Tournament, but that bout was overshadowed by the preceding losses Abraham suffered at the hands of Dirrell and Froch.

    Undefeated at 24-0, Ward is on a mission to earn recognition from the fans, and this may be a factor in him winning the Super Six Tournament. It has been up to this point with wins over Kessler, Allan Green and Abraham.

No. 1: Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KO)

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    Former WBO and IBO cruiserweight champion Chad Dawson recently rebounded from his first career defeat against Jean Pascal to defeat Adrian Diaconu.

    The fight occurred beneath the Pascal and Bernard Hopkins rematch. Hopkins won a unanimous decision and became the oldest man to ever win a major world title at the age of 46.

    It wasn't a mystery that both Dawson and Hopkins were on the same card. They are going to be fighting each other on October 15th on HBO PPV.

    Dawson will need to do some work promoting the fight because his name alone doesn't having the drawing power he needs to create a large buy-rate.