Light heavyweight Luis Garcia is a Cuban to watch.
23-year-old Cuban Luis Garcia (11-0, 9 KO) drew rave reviews very early in his pro career, which is based in Ireland, but the hype has died down a little bit. Nicknamed "El León," he's an orthodox fighter standing 6'0". Like about nine million other guys, he's been compared to Mike Tyson.
Youth is on his side, which isn't often the case for Cuban defectors. Has serious power -- "power to burn," as Boxing News editor Tris Dixon put it -- and good speed. As far as pure natural ability, he's way ahead of the curve, and didn't have years and years of the amateur style pounded into him, which often trips up decorated amateurs who try to transition to the paid ranks. In other words, he can be molded more than most of the Cuban fighters.
Desire could be a real issue. While he did fight six times in 2010, he did so from May to December, and hasn't fought in 2011. Is he taking the first half of the year off and just working the latter? Actually, he did the opposite in 2009 -- fighting four times, all January thru April. He's very raw, which is the other side of his youth.
Other Light Heavyweight Prospects
24-year-old South African Isaac Chilemba (17-1-1, 8 KO) has made the move from 168 to 175 this year. He's been impressive in the past, but didn't look great against Maxim Vlasov on February 25. The top American-based prospect at the weight is Ismayl Sillakh (16-0, 13 KO), a Ukrainian-born stylist who lives in California.The 26-year-old Sillakh won a prospect showdown in March against Cuba's Yordanis Despaigne (8-1, 4 KO), then was part of Roy Jones Jr's Partridge Family bus to Russia, beating the crap out of a guy on the Jones vs Lebedev card. The UK's Tony Bellew (15-0, 10 KO) has some serious stones, but is louder than he is good. Germany's Dustin Dirks (20-0, 14 KO) is a solid prospect unlikely to become a true world-stage player, but the type fighter who might be able to hold a belt hostage at home someday.