2016 Ring Awards: Finalists for prospect of the year

Rashidi Ellis stops Eddie Gomez in one round. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / GBP

Boxing fans experienced several peaks and troughs in the past year. There was the excitement of the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward superfight, there was the subsequent controversy surrounding its decision, there was tragedy and there were some terrific prizefights and standout performances.

Who and what stood out the most?

Find out when THE RING reveals its annual year-end awards for 2016. The categories: Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Upset of the Year, Event of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Round of the Year, Prospect of the Year and Most Inspirational.

Leading up to the announcement, we will give you the five finalists in one category each day. Day 2: Prospect of the Year.

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

DAVID BENAVIDEZ 16-0 (15 KOS) Four fights in 2016 resulted in four KOs for the 20-year-old super middleweight puncher from Phoenix. The younger brother of former welterweight contender Jose Benavidez Jr. made quick work of Kevin Cobbs and Phillip Benson before stopping both unbeaten Francy Ntetu and solid vet Denis Douglin.

RASHIDI ELLIS 17-0 (12 KOS) The 23-year-old welterweight from Lynn, Massachusetts, turned the heads of hardcore fans by blitzing once-beaten Eddie Gomez in one round in December. Gomez, once a respected prospect himself, had never been stopped. Ellis used his speed to outpoint Luis Hernandez and Marco Antonio Lopez earlier in 2016.

IVAN GOLUB 13-0 (11 KOS) Golub, a welterweight, is yet another former amateur standout from Ukraine. The tall (5-foot-11), rangy southpaw, who is based in Brooklyn, scored four knockouts in 2016. He showed grit by getting up from a knockdown to stop unbeaten Marlon Aguas, and most recently the normally durable James Stevenson.

IEVGEN KHYTROV 14-0 (12 KOS) The 28-year-old former Ukrainian amateur standout fought only twice in 2016 but exhibited brutal efficiency in outpointing once beaten Kenneth McNeil over 10 rounds and wearing down game young gatekeeper Paul Mendez to a ninth-round TKO. Mendez, 19-2-2 at the time, had never been stopped.

ERICKSON LUBIN (17-0, 12 KOS) The 21-year-old Orlando, Florida, native gave up what many felt was a sure-fire route to Olympic gold when he elected to turn pro in 2013. That decision has been a good one so far for the talented junior middleweight. In 2016, he stopped Daniel Sandoval and Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, and easily outpointed Jose De Jesus Macias and Ivan Montero.



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You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: the recently retired all-time great Bernard Hopkins.

  • Barley mcgrew

    Why DO you need to keep prefixing B-Hop’s name with ‘All-time great’, ‘Immortal or ‘Legendary’ ? You don’t do it with Ali, Leonard, Monzon, Hagler, Duran, Louis, Frazier, Foreman, Armstrong, Chavez Sr, ODH……….

    Me thinks you guys are trying to sell people on something you’re not fully sure of yourselves. Lol.

    • The Black Mamba

      In Black Mambas best American English: “As a minority partner of Golden Boy he has valuable influence on the authors of the Ring Magazine. Hopkins knows how to put himself in the right position.”

      In Conor accent: “He roons that shit that’s why, he’s the fookin boss.”

      • Keano

        It’s so blatantly obvious that Hopkins forces them to put it

        • The Black Mamba

          Well, he can be a pretty intimidating person if he wants to. I believe that somehow it became a habit to contribute attributes like “immortal” and “legendary” to Hopkins. I have read it on as well. Dan Rafael talked a lot with Hopkins though, that might be a factor.

          • Keano

            Without watching many of his fights I have to agree with Barley on the way that Bernard seems to be described like this and noone else – however, I do have a lot of respect for what he achieved in his career

      • Stephen M

        Hopkins over 40 run is legendary.

        • Nitro RCNerds

          Not at all. FOREMAN’s fun over 50 is the stuff legends are made of.

      • Barley mcgrew

        That B-Hop did. And with Nigel Collins back east even more so than today.

    • Tom Gray

      Hey bud. I wrote it and I am sure that Hopkins is an all time great. With that said, he doesn’t float everyones boat. For the record, I’ve interviewed six of the 11 fighters you mentioned and poured similar adjectives on the lot of them. Hopkins, for me, and many others, belongs in that class. If Manny retires (again) I’d say the same. If Roy Jones ever retires, I’d say the same. I’m just being honest and it is not agenda based in any way.

      • Barley mcgrew

        Wrote what, Tom ? The advertisement below your article ? I was referring to ‘On the cover this month: The recently retired all-time great Bernard Hopkins” – and absolutely nothing to do with your article whatsoever(I had no problem with your your piece above).

        Secondly, nearly every single time Bernard Hopkins is mentioned by editor D Fischer – or, indeed, on many occasions ‘Ring’ editor Michael Rosenthal – Bernard’s name comes duly prefixed by the words ‘Immortal’, ‘legendary’ or ‘All-time great’.

        That is most definitely NOT the case with any other great champion in boxing history (we all OCCASIONALLY use such adjectives to describe far greater fighters than Hopkins – but placing said adjectives before their names is not remotely routine or obligatory.

        And why ? – because everybody KNOWS such fighters are ‘Immortal’, ‘legendary’ or ‘All-time greats’. Fans don’t NEED it forced down their throats via use of word association tactics each time. It’s hard sell on something such writers believe still needs selling. Pure and simple.

        I was making light of the rather hilarious and oh-so-transparent obsession of US writers – particularly ‘Ring’ writers (your employers I may add) – to endlessly airbrush Mr. Hopkin’s career, reputation and even style

        Dougie likes no mention of B-Hop being ‘boring’ – and describes such endless clutch and hold tactics as being – quote – ‘All the clever little things the ‘Immortal’ B-Hop does in there that only hardcore fans can appreciate’. Then he will turn around in very the next breath and savage a Ward or Klitschko for near-identical tactics – informing all and sundry he likes ‘exciting fighters’.

        That wonderful Irish writer and former ‘Ring’ correspondent Brian Doogan once wrote IN ‘The Ring” – quote – ‘The same US writers criticizing Barrera for the more thoughtful, less exciting, style the Mexican has displayed of late are the very same writers who have long lionised Hopkins for for the very same thing’.

        And Claude Abrams once told me personally that Nigel Collins – the world’s leading B-Hop sycophant – is far too close to B-Hop personally to maintain any semblance of journalistic impartiality (B-Hop would drop by the Ring’ office back east and chew the fat with adoring staff – influencing what said writers then said about other fighters like Calzaghe and Jones)

        All I do, Tom, is attempt to provide light and balance to the US media’s love story with B-Hop. A patriotic bromance set in motion on a teary, weepy night in Downtown Manhattan – amidst several thousands of tons of broken concrete and shattered glass – when Bernard laboured to a late stoppage over poor little Tito then wrapped himself in the flag.

        A blue-collar, hard-working bad-boy made good – and one who conjured up comparisons with the blood, sweat, toil and tears of sweat-soaked fireman. A newly-minted ‘American icon’ who reminded those US writers that ‘American Dream’ still MEANT something. (ever wonder, Tom, why the flashy, shoot-hoops-on-the-day-of-a-big-fight – make it all look too easy – Jones never got the ‘American hero’ gig ?).

        I have always ensured to be balanced in my analysis of B-Hop. Which is far more than the suffocatingly-sycophantic ‘Ring’ magazine ever has. I have frequently pointed out what a fine, long-standing champion B-Hop was – and one who amounted to far more than the moderate sum parts of his talent. A fantastic example to all on making the most of what you have. A great fighter in his own era too.

        However, Bernard fell short of ATG status, that’s the hallowed ground where resides a Robinson, Monzon or Hagler, because B-Hop simply didn’t defeat great fighters of his own weight IMO (Benn fought/defeated better middleweights. So too did Reggie Johnson and the great Mike McCallum – virtually forgotten by ‘Ring’ writers amidst the acres and acres of ever-sycophantic coverage on their beloved B-Hop. Shame).

        No problem with you, Tom. But if your US colleagues must keep blowing smoke up B-Hop endlessly adored, ever-lauded ass – frequently airbrushing their beloved Bernard’s career, attitude and even ring style as they do – then I’m going to keep pointing it out (Dougie once raged ‘How DARE you compare B-Hop and Mayweather’ because I had the ‘temerity’ to point out they were both boring and overly-cautious inside the ring – and self-aggrandizing and outspoken out of it It’s the truth. Deal with it).

        Anyway, no hard feelings, Tom. A simple misunderstanding.


          People refer (defer?) to Hulk Hogan as ‘Immortal’. Do you protest over that?

          • Barley mcgrew

            Lol. A WWE wrestler ? Are you kidding me ? They are in the very business of selling the illusion as real. Of overhyping everything in sight.

            When you can point out the constant use of ‘immortal’, ‘legendary’ or ‘all-time great’ prefixing the names of Ali, Leonard, Duran, Chavez…………and you can’t because it rarely ever happens – then get back to me. Just as with the ‘Tall’ Wladimir Klitschko or the ‘Dumbass’ Donald Trump – if something is OBVIOUSLY true then you don’t need to repeat it every five minutes. Fans can decide themselves.

            * Come to think of it, I’ll give you Trump. That can never be repeated enough.

          • Nitro RCNerds

            I’m with you. I think Hopkins is insanely overrated. I’ve been

      • Barley mcgrew

        NB: On reading it again, I perhaps should have worded the ‘Why do you’ bit of my post relating to said advertisement better – for it does look like I was referring to you, Tom. As said, I was not. Kudos.

      • Barley mcgrew

        I have no problem with a British writer prefixing B-Hop’s name with such adjectives as ‘immortal’ or ‘Legendary’ every now and then (and I didn’t realise you actually wrote said advertisment, Tom) – for I know the attitude over here to B-Hop is far more balanced than that amongst members of the US media (who do blow smoke up his ass – whilst airbrushing his career – every five minutes. Even as they routinely dump on other similar-styled fighters).

        Confusion over. Belatedly.

        • Tom Gray

          No sweat mate 😉

          • Stephen M

            There you go, being British, not the facts, make it all right.

          • Tom Gray

            And what are facts?

          • Stephen M

            Barley was on the warpath with his pet peeve. As he realized that it was a British journalist saying Bernard was legendary, suddenly Barley is fine with it.

          • Tom Gray

            I gotcha. It’s all good. To confirm, there are writers from various countries who contribute to THE RING and I’ve yet to encounter one who doesn’t speak glowingly of Hopkins. The guy deserves all the kudos he gets. Anyway, I expected all you guys to be talking about THE RING Awards? It’ll be Round of the Year nominees today.

    • ceylon mooney

      heh heh heh

      • Barley mcgrew

        Lol. In thruth, I wouldn’t have posted it if I knew Tom Gray had written that advertisement.

  • Dee Money

    I was hoping Anthony Yarde would get a nomination here; I guess he’s still a step below prospect when compared to these guys (only 9 pro bouts so far). Where is the threshold to still be considered a ‘prospect’?

  • Dee Money

    I was hoping Anthony Yarde would get a nomination here; I guess he’s still a step below prospect when compared to these guys (only 9 pro bouts so far). Where is the threshold to still be considered a ‘prospect’?

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