The Five Hard Luck Boxers Of This Era – Korobov, Rosado, Jack, Murray
What is a hard-luck boxer?
Well, simply put someone who got bad breaks, whether on the scorecards, fighters in their era, a whole host of situations broke in probably the worst possible way in which if it were done again, it probably couldn’t happen this ever again.
Often we preserve our champions, but it is good to remember the great who will not be remembered right as well.
01. Matt Korobov
Qualifications – Brutal KO loss to Andy Lee, close loss to Jermall Charlo, draw to Aleem, suffered back-to-back losses due to injuries in last two fights.
Korobov was the heir apparent to 2004 Russian gold medal Olympian Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov, as Korobov was the front runner for the gold-medal in middleweight division in 2008, but came up short, but lost in the second round. The world-class amateur thought the early disappointment would be just a one-time thing, not a trend.
Korobov was developed on Top Rank cards, and even picked up a win over world champion Jose Uzcategui, before Uzcategui would win a world title. Hailed as the heir apparent foe for Gennady Golovkin, in HBO’s last years in the boxing business, Matt Korobov never could quite sustain despite having immense talent.
His marquee HBO bout against Andy Lee summed up his whole run as a professional. Korobov was winning every minute of every round until he was caught with a shot, and stopped in the sixth round. This bout was the co-main event of Tim Bradley vs Diego Chaves, and many viewed it as a fight to propel him to the Golovkin bout.
Korobov would rebuild regionally have long layoffs, and eventually get to face Jermall Charlo in a fight that was razor close, and could’ve gone either way. In typical Korobov fashion, he lost a close fight, and his next fight got jobbed out of win over Immanuwel Aleem, which was originally ruled a win for Korobov before being overturned and called a draw.
Korobov’s last two fights have ended in stoppage losses as his body is not holding up, and in both fights he was winning the fight until, his body couldn’t respond as, he lost to Chris Eubank, Jr., and Ronald Ellis, based off injuries he couldn’t fight through.
It is harder to think of a fighter with more bad luck than Matvey Korobov in recent memory.
At 37-years-old, if the end isn’t already here, it is certainly near. It is hard to imagine Korobov never will fight for a full-on world title, but it certainly looks that way.
Qualifications – Draws in seemingly every big fight, one of the best resumes in boxings and unheralded.
Badou Jack might have only had three draws in his career, but those draws standing out glaringly. Jack, someone who was always unfairly put in a negative light based on being signed to Mayweather Promotions, is one of the sport’s true good guys.
With an early draw in his career to Marco Antonio Periban, a very underrated fighter, and a first round knockout loss to Derek Edwards that was a jarring defeat, it felt as though many wanted to define Jack’s career based on these two fights half a decade ago.
Jack went on to become one of the most battle-tasted fighters in the sport defeating Anthony Dirrell, and George Groves in back-to-back fights as an underdog.
Jack should’ve defeated Lucian Bute rightful, but somehow got a draw on the bout. The decision was overturned to a DQ win for Jack after Bute failed a drug test, but regardless it should’ve never came to that in the first place.
Jack would follow up his Bute bout with a draw to James DeGale, which once again, appeared to be a clear win for Jack, but simply didn’t go his way, and at this time saw Jack record back-to-back draws in main event bouts, a feat as rare, as any.
Jack would face feared puncher, and lineal light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson, and though he started slow, Jacked ended the fight at a tremendous pace. I favored Jack in this bout, but I could see the draw, that being said, Jack never got the benefit of the doubt in close fight, ever. Typically fighters who are in close fights win-some and lose-some, Jack simply got draws or lost.
One could point to his early career and say that forever made him a slow starter to avoid getting caught early in bouts, but even then a lot was discounted in terms of what Jack did in the ring.
In Jack’s bout with Marcus Browne not just did he have a tough outing, he suffered a cut across his forehead that was as nasty as anything ever seen by mankind, and his last loss to Jean Pascal, most observers ringside favored Jack on the cards.
If ever one fighter never got the benefit of the doubt on the judge’s scorecards it would be Badou Jack.
03. Gabe Rosado
Qualifications – tough luck losses to Luis Arias and Daniel Jacobs, doctor stoppage to “Kid Chocolate” Quillin,
If you every came from nothing and worked your way to mastery then it is hard to not respect Gabriel Rosado. Rosado learned on the job, losing a few club show fights in Philly early, getting stopped by Alfredo Angulo on Friday Night Fights, as well as losing to Jaron Ennis’ brother, Derek “Pooh” Ennis.
Rosado, a late starter to boxing, looked to be fodder for developing fighters until Main Events took a keen eye to him and put him on NBC Sports Network, and developed him into something. With televised wins over Jesus Soto Karass, as well as a seven-fight winning streak, Rosado was the #1 contender to fight Canelo Alvarez, but opted strangely to move up to middleweight and fight Gennady Golovkin.
This choice sums up a lot of the tough luck for Rosado, as Rosado had somewhat found a formidable home at 154 lbs, but moved up to face the biggest puncher in the middleweight division, and even then, faired well until cuts began to open up on him, a theme of his career.
Four months after being stopped by Golovkin on HBO, Rosado fought Mayweather Promotions’ J’Leon Love in a very close fight that saw Rosado drop Love. The bout was originally ruled a split-decision win for Love, but overturned to a No-Decision after Love failed a drug test for diuretics.
Rosado when then face formidable puncher Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, whom the scores didn’t reflect the closeness of the bout. Rosado was dropped in the 2nd round, and cut in the ninth, but boxing well in the fight. The fight was called to a halt in the 10th round over a cut leaving many to wonder if Rosado would ever be the same after the Golovkin fight.
Rosado became a high-level gatekeeper at this point as he would lose to Jermell Charlo by a wide margin in probably his worst performance as a pro at the highest level of the sport as well as get stopped by the reemerging David Lemieux. Rosado was unofficially on a five-fight losing streak, albeit one of the bout was ruled a no-decision afterward.
Rosado would beat former Pacquiao opponent, Joshua Clottey, and sign with Golden Boy Promotions. In Rosado’s next fight with Golden Boy, he would beat Jesus Gutierrez despite getting dropped in the fight.
Rosado would be the co-main event of Canelo vs. Liam Smith, as he faced Willie Monroe Jr., but was outboxed as well as saw the dreadful cuts reemerge again in this bout. Another loss to Martin Murray, saw Rosado’s career arch being a really good fighter, who can constantly be in big fights, but can’t get over the hump.
That changed when he stopped Glen Tapia, and then fought Luis “Cuba” Arias to a draw, in a bout that I feel Rosado should have received the victory for. After the Tapia fight, Rosado seemed to be the highest level he’d ever been in his career, which is impressive since he had taken a tremendous amount of damage in fights prior.
The momentum of the prior two fights were halted as Rosado lost to lesser known Maciej Sulecki, a solid fighter, but a fighter most fight fans know little-to-nothing about.
Recently, Rosado fought Daniel Jacobs in a bout in which he was originally announced as the winner, and I scored the bout for Rosado, only for Jacobs to get the nod.
Rosado is as tough as they come, learned the hard-way, and is still looking for that career defining win, as many obstacles have been placed in front him on his path.
04. Martin Murray
Qualifications – a loss to Sergio Martinez in a fight he should’ve been awarded a victory in, always came up short in the truly big fights
One of the elites of his era, but he will never get his just due partially because he couldn’t travel to America, I suppose. Murray’s career will be defined by never winning the big fight.
Murray’s first chance to emerge as a Capital G Guy as he fought Felix Sturm, who had become a German star after his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, that most boxing fans believe Sturm won. Murray never could do enough against the true elites to distinguish himself as the true winner of a bout, a trait shared by many on this list, and was perfectly on the display on this bout as this was Murray’s fight to win – despite legendary hometown cooking in Germany for Sturm.
Murray would get his second world title shot against Sergio Martinez in one of the worst staged events ever, an outdoor event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the middle of a rain storm. The HBO card was cut to just the main event, because of issues around the storm and telecast, despite dropping Martinez in the 8th round and seemingly edging a close fight, Martinez got the benefit the doubt.
Murray would fight regionally until getting another world title shot against world champion Gennady Golovkin in Golovkin’s prime, who just was far too-much for Murray at this time. Murray would get a shot at Arthur Abraham, basically the next version of Felix Sturm, and lose a split decision as well.
Murray would go on to lose to George Groves and recently Billy Joe Saunders in world title fights as well putting his record in world title bouts at 0-3-1, with the only saving grace being he held the interim WBA middleweight world title at one time.
05. Rocky Juarez
Qualifications – 0-4-1 in world titles fights
Rocky Juarez was a Golden Boy Promotions fighter who became beloved as fans wanted to see him win a world title.
Juarez lost to Humberto Soto in his first world title shot, as a a point deduction for hitting behind the head to Juarez is largely viewed as the reason the fight wasn’t a draw, and went to Soto.
Juarez fought Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera to a split decision, and a razor-close fight, but couldn’t get the nod. The second fight while still good went to Barrera.
Juarez became a name in the division not unlike Rosado, and was beloved for his style as well. In 2007, he fought Juan Manuel Marquez, but was soundly outboxed by the better boxer.
Juarez’s close attempt at winning a world title was against Chris John in a bout that was ruled a draw, but many compare to when Ricky Burns fought to “a draw” with Ray Beltran, as the bout left many frustrated. The rematch much like many of Juarez’s rematches didn’t go his way as John was sharper.
Juarez’s career ended as a gatekeeper providing a stern test to a young Jorge Linares and Andrew Cancio, before upsetting Antonio Escalante.
Juarez was an action fighter, who might have just been in the wrong weight class at the wrong era.