One of Top Rank's latest signees is an action fighter hailing from Passaic, New Jersey by the name of Glen Tapia. With a victory this past weekend over James Winchester, the 20-year old has moved to 6-0 with 4 knockouts in the junior middleweight division.
The first thing you'll notice about Tapia is that he absolutely looks the part. He walks with a swagger about him and has a glare of death when he enters the ring. He makes it immediately known that he's there to hurt you, sort of like James Kirkland. That attitude carries into the ring as well - in his last bout, he and his opponent almost got into a fight between rounds while jawing at each other. It doesn't hurt that he's also built like a truck and has thick cornrows that bob around well past his shoulders, like a '90's video game character.
In addition, Tapia had a storied amateur career, although not as elite as some of other up-and-comers. With a reported amateur record of 130-13, he competed in the junior Olympics, as well as placing in a number of silver gloves and junior golden gloves tournaments. Despite this amateur success, his style is much better suited to the pros. In Tapia's own words, "I suppose I didn't completely gel with the amateur style because the points system was all 'pit-pat' stuff and I wasn't into that - I had more of a professional technique and was more interested in knocking people out. I have a pro style; I sit down on my shots and just want to go and bang you out!"
Tapia also has had some high level sparring experience, serving as Joshua Clottey's only regular sparring partner for his bout against Miguel Cotto. Stylistically, Tapia was a good choice in preparations for a Cotto bout. In addition to having a similar build to Cotto, Tapia's strengths and weaknesses are much the same as Cotto's. Tapia is able to kill the body, has a developing jab, and is a very effective combination puncher. In addition, while he has a little bit of slickness to his defense, he has a tendency to leave himself open when he's in the middle of an offensive onslaught. This makes for a very exciting style of fighter.
Having already fought at Boardwalk Hall three times and once at Madison Square Garden, you can bet Bob Arum is trying to turn this kid into the next Arturo Gatti, at least in terms of becoming a fan-friendly draw who can bring people to see him in Atlantic City and the New York metro area. As a New Jersey native with a Puerto Rican and Dominican background, he has the cultural heritage to draw well in the area, and as a brawler who is willing to take a punch to dish out three, he has the action style to make sure people keep coming back to see him. To top it off, his manager is Pat Lynch, meaning he's guided by the same person who guided much of Gatti's career.
In the meantime, the plan is to keep him busy, and to keep slowly stepping up his level of competition. This last fight came against someone who was 10-3 and went the distance with Matt Korobov, and he was even able to do something Korobov couldn't, flooring Winchester with a big left hook in the second round. While he hasn't gone past four rounds in a pro bout yet, he's already been working on his endurance, and his training sessions with Clottey generally lasted eight rounds. Next up, he'll be fighting on the Claderon-Iribe undercard on the night of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Hopefully, Top Rank will air the untelevised undercard once again, so fight fans can get more exposure to this young, exciting boxer.