The Importance of the ‘Journeyman’.

TheBoxingMadMan

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Where would the sport be without journeymen?


The Importance of the ‘Journeyman’
By Navi Singh
4th April 2019

Perhaps I’m alone in thinking that there is an inordinate emphasis on records and resumes in boxing.

The current climate is one where promising contenders, having lost their precious 0s, are invariably consigned to the scrapheap of derision and mockery; while those who are able to successfully maintain them are elevated to high pedestals, before they too inevitably lose their undefeated records one day and suffer an ignominious fall from grace.

In this context then – where fighters, for commercial purposes, are often anxiously preoccupied with preserving their zeroes – is the journeyman. The journeyman is more often than not a part-time professional who supplements his income by travelling across the world, sometimes on short notice, to essentially take a beating, allowing their counterpart to acquire important experience alongside augmenting their perfect record en route to more meaningful challenges.

The gatekeeper, meanwhile, is someone considered to be a somewhat more challenging proposition than a journeyman. Someone who has more than a few tricks up his sleeve and has a propensity for derailing the aspirations of undefeated hopefuls.

Such examples in this regard include Chicago’s famous ‘Drunken-Master’ Emmanuel Augustus, someone who Floyd Mayweather described as one of his most difficult fights, Darnell Boone – someone who knocked out Adonis Stevenson, knocked down Andre Ward, defeated Willie Monroe Junior and fought Sergey Kovalev to a split-decision in their first fight – and more relevantly Kamil Sokowlowski, the seasoned Polish veteran who spectacularly knocked out the comeback-making Nick Webb, in addition to dropping former WBA heavyweight titleholder Lucas Browne in the second round contentious decision defeat.

Indeed, these examples underline the fact that a superficial examination of a fighter’s record does not necessarily allow us to determine how good they are. It has to be said also that the distinction between a journeyman and a gatekeeper is somewhat arbitrary, and the above mentioned triumvirate have all each been described as the latter at one point in their respective careers; presumably due to their disproportionate loss-win ratios.

Of course, some, if not most, journeyman are nothing more than ‘gimmes’ for their counterparts; in the fact that they do not present any seriously dangerous qualities, but nevertheless possess certain characteristics that allow their opponent to learn and develop in the process of victory.

For example, Kevin Johnson, America’s loquacious former World title challenger is someone who offers virtually no resistance whatsoever in his fights, but has cultivated his spoiling and survival skills to such an extent that he is now widely regarded as a stepping-stone for promising contenders to showcase their offensive abilities and combination punching.

It’s often interesting and valuable for commentators to compare the respective performances of different fighters against journeymen like Johnson, in analysing their abilities and how these contenders themselves would potentially match-up against one another.

Ultimately, however, Sokowlowski’s knockout win over Nick Webb demonstrates why, at the end of the day, it is paramount for fans and fighters alike to be patient and to not always interpret a fighter’s record as indicative of their in-ring capabilities, as is so often the case in boxing.

Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________


http://boxing-social.com/news/importance-of-the-journeyman1/
 
Reactions: dkos and thegee
Jun 3, 2012
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Korakuen Hall
While I respect the hell out of journeyman, Japanese boxing has shown they're not a necessity. Over there you will have prospects fighting other prospects, and then when they become a contender they'll fight other contenders, and so on. Obviously they still bring people in to lose, but they are rarely the stereotypical journeyman.

I think it's the better system. However, for numerous reasons -- the lack of pros, cost, the reliance on the '0' -- it'll never be adopted here or in most other countries.
 

DB Cooper

peel me a grape
May 17, 2013
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I think to some degree, and for various reasons, there have always been some journeymen involved in boxing. But the present UK system seems to be heavily dependent on them.

I read this book a while back and it was a serious eye-opener :

 
Reactions: DBerry

DBerry

complete and utter prick
Jun 11, 2013
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'Straya, cunt.
While I respect the hell out of journeyman, Japanese boxing has shown they're not a necessity. Over there you will have prospects fighting other prospects, and then when they become a contender they'll fight other contenders, and so on. Obviously they still bring people in to lose, but they are rarely the stereotypical journeyman.

I think it's the better system. However, for numerous reasons -- the lack of pros, cost, the reliance on the '0' -- it'll never be adopted here or in most other countries.
When I think ‘journey man’ I think Darnell Boon or Glenn Johnson, live opponents who come to win but are always the away fighter fighting out of the ‘opponent’ corner, not the “professional opponent” who it as a job coming and giving prospects a workout.
 
Reactions: dkos
Jun 14, 2012
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I still don't know how they do it. Fair play to them and all but I don't think I could cope with the slagging of getting beat every week. I know a lot of them are better than their records suggest and a fair amount of them don't try to win in the first place but I'd find it hard to look people in the eye and tell them I'm a pro boxer that has lost 90% of my fights.
 
Jun 8, 2012
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Eire
When I think ‘journey man’ I think Darnell Boon or Glenn Johnson, live opponents who come to win but are always the away fighter fighting out of the ‘opponent’ corner, not the “professional opponent” who it as a job coming and giving prospects a workout.
Glen Johnson was way too good to be considered a journeyman. He just never had the backing that a fighter as good as him deserved. Gatekeeper might be better term..but even then he was still too solid to be considered that either.

Darnell Boone is a great example to be fair though. He wasn't just giving average prospects a tough fight, he was giving future elite level fighters like Kovalev, Ward and Stevenson hell.
 
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Reactions: dkos and DBerry
Jun 8, 2012
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Eire
I still don't know how they do it. Fair play to them and all but I don't think I could cope with the slagging of getting beat every week. I know a lot of them are better than their records suggest and a fair amount of them don't try to win in the first place but I'd find it hard to look people in the eye and tell them I'm a pro boxer that has lost 90% of my fights.
I often feel bad for some journeymen. I remember attending a small hall show in 2010 or so in Castlebar. I watched Patrick Hyland hammer and stop a Bulgarian journeyman on the undercard. Later the journeyman came out to watch the rest of the show..with his face all battered and bruised, sitting right in front of me in an old tracksuit top that said "Bulgarian kickboxing team" on the back.

Imagine losing so often and it becoming so normal that you can stay for the rest of the show? I used to be fucking gutted when I lost a novice amateur fight.
 
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Reactions: dkos
Jan 20, 2014
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Proper journeyman are a dying breed, guys like Jimmy Vincent coming in testing a prospects metal.

Lativian cab drivers and Argie road sweepers are the order of the day nowadays.
 
Jun 14, 2012
14,080
6,649
I often feel bad for some journeymen. I remember attending a small hall show in 2010 or so in Castlebar. I watched Patrick Hyland hammer and stop a Bulgarian journeyman on the undercard. Later the journeyman came out to watch the rest of the show..with his face all battered and bruised, sitting right in front of me in an old tracksuit top that said "Bulgarian kickboxing team" on the back.

Imagine losing so often and it becoming so normal that you can stay for the rest of the show? I used to be fucking gutted when I lost a novice amateur fight.
I know man. I lost my share of fights and I took some of them quite badly to be honest. I couldn't go out and face anyone if I had a record like Robin Deakin's. I know these lads can say that they fought on tv and faced fighters that went on to become world champions but the life of a journeyman wouldn't be for me. The sad part is that a lot of them could be useful fighters but never had any backing. I suppose in this sport it's quite easy to fall into the have gloves will travel mentality if you haven't got anyone behind you.
 
Apr 12, 2014
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Beijing China
The term journeyman is a very broad one tbh, Their are those journey that actually come and test a prospect and even pull of the odd upset guys like Boone, William Warbourton etc. These guys deserve real respect and a lot are much better than their records, many end up with close decisions going against them. However the typical Latvian or Bulgarian cab driver we see is a level below a true journeyman, journeymen will test guys be able to survive but these guys will fall over after the first 1 or 2 decent shots. Journeyman fights can be important for development, fighting cab drivers that will fold in a round is a complete waste of time and should not be on TV.
 
Jan 20, 2014
5,401
2,179
The term journeyman is a very broad one tbh, Their are those journey that actually come and test a prospect and even pull of the odd upset guys like Boone, William Warbourton etc. These guys deserve real respect and a lot are much better than their records, many end up with close decisions going against them. However the typical Latvian or Bulgarian cab driver we see is a level below a true journeyman, journeymen will test guys be able to survive but these guys will fall over after the first 1 or 2 decent shots. Journeyman fights can be important for development, fighting cab drivers that will fold in a round is a complete waste of time and should not be on TV.
Good stuff
 

DB Cooper

peel me a grape
May 17, 2013
20,784
9,130
Interesting interview with 7-104-2 journeyman Jamie Quinn.

“I wanted to be a prospect – that was the plan, anyway,."

“I thought I’d be able to grab a few mini-titles. I wasn’t aiming for a world title or to be a superstar. I won my first fight, but I struggled with selling tickets. I didn’t know how it worked. Having to pay for the opponents if you’re a home fighter and then having to sell tickets as well seemed hard work. I didn’t really want to go down the path of being a journeyman; it was more the money that turned my head.”

https://www.badlefthook.com/2020/9/16/21440069/jamie-quinn-life-as-100-loss-british-boxing-journeyman-interview

A young boxer not knowing 'how it worked.' An all too common story.