Trent Pusey, Inside Fights
Year after year we look for the diamond in the rough, that can't miss prospect that will be the star of the future.
With an eye on the future, let's look ahead to four boxers that have all the tools and all the potential to be future stars of the squared circle.
Devon Alexander: 19-0 (12 KOs)
Devon Alexander became a world champion at just 22 years old when he defeated Junior Witter last year for the WBC title. Fighting in a stacked light welterweight division, Alexander's future is ripe with opportunity. His ascent to the top of the division, a spot currently held by Tim Bradley, could be had sooner rather than later.
Alexander is scheduled to face IBF champion Juan Urango in March. A win would place Alexander in the upper echelon of the division and perhaps line himself up for unification bouts with Amir Khan or even Bradley. Alexander, a quick southpaw, presents matchup difficulties for whomever lies in his future.
Tavoris Cloud: 20-0 (18 KOs)
Tavoris Cloud just may be the breath of fresh air needed in the light heavyweight division. Forty-somethings Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, and Roy Jones Jr have held the spotlight at 175 lbs for years. Fellow American Chad Dawson was able to breakthrough with two wins over both Tarver and Johnson, but the time is near for the 28-year-old.
Cloud captured the IBF title last year with a unanimous decision over Clinton Woods. He's a heavy-handed puncher with a knack for the knockout. As the old guard makes its way out of the division, Cloud has his sights set solely on Dawson. Until that fight materializes, Cloud is happy to use the rest of the light heavyweight division as his launching pad.
Daniel Jacobs: 18-0 (15 KOs)
Daniel Jacobs is a boxing prodigy. Jacobs, 22, picked up the sport late in his youth yet was remarkably successful as an amateur. With the backing of both Golden Boy Promotions and HBO, Jacobs has all the resources to make a name for himself in the middleweight ranks. Hand injuries have slowed his progression, but the middleweight division is wide open right now.
Jacobs is a strong puncher that likes to work behind his thudding jab. Those close to him constantly praise his maturity and poise. He also possesses a toughness that is vital for success in boxing. There is no doubt that Jacobs will have plenty of opportunities to capitalize on his unlimited potential in 2010.
Guillermo Rigondeaux: 4-0 (3 KOs)
Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of the most accomplished amateur boxers of all-time. He won gold at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Rigondeaux would have been favored to win gold at the 2008 Olympics but he was kicked off of the Cuban team when he attempted to defect to Germany in 2007. Rigondeaux turned professional last year but is on an accelerated career path because of his lengthy amateur career. He fought former world title contender Giovanni Andrade in just his third professional fight, scoring a third round TKO.
Rigondeaux has teamed up with trainer Freddie Roach in a partnership that has undoubtedly put the super bantamweight division on notice. Rigondeaux is a speedy, counter-punching southpaw and don't expect the 29 year-old to be brought along slowly. He expects to be challenging for a world title before his 10th professional fight.