Tor Hamer is one of eight men hoping to win next week's Prizefighter tournament in London. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Prizefighter, the popular one-night, eight-man boxing tournament, will be back on June 20 at London's famed York Hall, with a second "International Heavyweights" tournament on tap. Here are the eight participants.
Tom Dallas (15-2, 11 KO)
Dallas, 27, is a 6'6" British heavyweight who at one point was thought to be a potential future player in the division, but has been found out badly in his last three fights. That stretch started with a very questionable win over American journeyman Zack Page, which was scored by referee Ian John-Lewis 78-76 for Dallas, who seemed surprised and not so enthused when his hand was raised. I had that fight 78-74 for Page, and Sky's Jim Watt had it 77-75 for the American, too.
Dallas followed that with bad losses to David Price (TKO-2) and 45-year-old Matt Skelton (TKO-5), the latter of which was tough to watch, as the old man just totally battered and beat up on a guy that simply looked like he didn't want to be in the ring. Watching that fight, I thought Dallas should have gone ahead and retired. He will have seriously needed to turn a corner to get his career back on track. Mentally, he just hasn't looked like a fighter in his last three.
Tor Hamer (15-1, 10 KO)
Hamer, 29, was considered a rising American prospect in the division a few years ago, and had some kind of video feature on Last Call with Carson Daly once. Then he lost a debated six-round decision to Kelvin Price in May 2010, and since then, he's just sort of floated. He's fought four times, winning all of them, but missed all of 2011. He's 2-0 in 2012, and this could be a way for him to get his name back in the mix.
Maurice Harris (25-16-2, 11 KO)
The 36-year-old Harris has been around the block a few times, and could be dangerous in this tournament. His record isn't pretty, and he looked terrible last year against Tony Thompson, but his last fight saw him outbox German "prospect" Edmund Gerber, only to be ignored by the judges on the Huck vs Afolabi undercard on May 5. It wasn't so much that he was out-and-out robbed -- I guess you could have seen it 5-3 for Gerber -- but Gerber won a pair of 7-1 cards, which was ridiculously bogus and indicated that there had been no intention of giving Harris a fair shake.
Kevin Johnson (26-1-1, 12 KO)
Oh lookie, lookie, it's Kevbo Johnson, the great American hype. "Kingpin" is now 32 years old and has basically vanished since his utterly embarrassing non-effort against Vitali Klitschko back in December 2009. He's gone 4-0 since then, with the "jewel" win a TKO-9 of Alex Leapai on April 1 of this year in Australia. Johnson continues to talk, and for some reason, boxing writers occasionally give him a forum. It would not really be a surprise if he came out the victor in this field of mediocrity, but he's not a real contender, never will be, and never really was.
Tom Little (3-0, 0 KO)
Noureddine Meddoune (4-1, 4 KO)
Here are your two wild cards. I know nothing about either of them.
Marcelo Luiz Nascimento (16-3, 14 KO)
Nascimento is pretty awful. His fight with Tyson Fury was terrible. I struggle to find much to say about him, but in this goofy format, his early power could be a problem. If he's aggressive, he could knock someone out.
Albert Sosnowski (46-4-2, 28 KO)
Sosnowski, 33, is a gritty, admirable fighter, but it seems like it's probably over for him. Again, he could win. The format has produced a lot of upsets, comebacks, surprises, etc., and Sosnowski is one of the better overall fighters here. But his last two outings have been rough, as he was brutally knocked out by Alexander Dimitrenko in March 2011, and returned in November, only to go to a six-round draw with Hastings Rasani, a British journeyman who had lost 18 straight and has since lost six more in a row.
Although it may not seem like I'm particularly excited about this, it has to be noted, and I'm saying this sincerely, that Prizefighter has a habit of bringing out the best in its participants. It's almost always a fun change of pace from a normal boxing show. Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of the tournament on Wednesday, June 20.