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Jermaine Franklin promising heavyweight greatness, but road appears to be uphill from here

The American heavyweight has been presented as a future great by Showtime, but are the tools there?

Claressa Shields v Christina Hammer Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jermaine Franklin has seen Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr lose their titles either to or back to British heavyweights in fights this past February and December, respectively, and he wants to let American fight fans know that there’s more in our heavyweight scene than just those two guys.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Franklin is promising big things, which has been a consistent thing with the prospect since he really started hitting the radar in early 2019:

“We’ve got to get [the titles] back. Between America and Britain, there’s always been something about boxing, we always go back and forth. ... [American fans have] got a new heavyweight, they got me to save them. People are starting to wake up and see me. The world will see me next. I’m right here.”

It’s nice for Franklin that he’s getting some hype from a major outlet and all, but nowhere in this “Meet Jermaine” promo piece are his actual fights he’s had given much thought. He’s had three in a row that have aired on Showtime, and despite that network also doing their best to sell the 26-year-old who was born in Saginaw, Michigan, Franklin (20-0, 13 KO) has won his fights but struggled to impress.

His fight with Rydell Booker was closer than the judges had it. His fight with Jerry Forrest was arguably a robbery. He looked better against a worse opponent in Pavel Sour, but still wasn’t leaping off the screen or anything.

I’m not saying any of this to “hate on” Jermaine Franklin, who seems like a nice enough young man from what I can tell, and does have some ability, and is still a decent prospect. But the push for him as “America’s next great heavyweight” has been odd. You’d just expect a fair amount more in the results than what we’ve seen.

That said, 26 is young for a heavyweight, so he’s got time. His bigger issues are probably fighting against the fact that he’s a 6’2” heavyweight without particularly big power (his last four fights have gone the 10-round distance).

Does he really have top level ability? Will he really get where he wants to go? If I’m honest from my outside perspective, the odds are against him, but I have certainly been wrong before, and fighters who have gone on to win world titles haven’t always been the crazy great prospects who dominated every time out. Andy Ruiz won three world titles in one fell swoop, and it’s not like he was looking insanely good against Siarhei Liakhovich, Joell Godfrey, and Raphael Zumbano in 2014-15. Crazy stuff happens in boxing.

Franklin’s on the scene. He’s gotten a bit of exposure and he’s got some decent backing. What happens from here is up to him.

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