Sunday 28th February 2021,

Losing as a Way of Life

Losing as a Way of Life


Once again the calendar has provided me with my weekly pugilistic curiosity. On Saturday in the legendary York Hall in London a boxing card will be held that features two fighters who sport a staggering combined of 7-137-1.

In the evening’s main event, 4-1 Colin Day will face Fonz Alexander, a 30-year-old super featherweight who has amassed a professional record of 5-79 over the past four years.

Alexander actually won his professional debut. Indeed, he had his hand raised in two of his first three fights. He then settled into what would become the pattern for his career–he lost eight straight. He rebounded with a TKO victory (his opponent bowed out in Round 5 with an injured lip) but then went on a 28-match losing streak.

He had another 15-fight losing streak sandwiched between stoppage wins in August 2016 and April 2017. In the 13 months since that last win he has managed to lose another 27 in a row.

You would not think a fighter who has won just five times in 84 bouts would look past anybody, but Alexander already has another fight on the schedule for May 29.

In an undercard bout, lightweight Ryan Briscoe will make his professional debut against 2-58-1 Joe “Busy” Beeden. Debuting fighters are something of a specialty for Beeden. In his 61 pro fights, he has already faced 16. He has lost to all of them.

Beeden’s Boxrec biography refers to him as a trial horse in the tradition of Peter Buckley. Buckley is probably not the role model for many professional fighters, but then again, not many fighters persevere for years while losing literally scores of bouts. Buckley is probably a fitting spirit animal for a pug like Beeden.

Buckley was something of a folk hero in British boxing circles. He amassed a record of 32-256-12. He was the opponent in Kell Brook’s debut. IN Buckley’s second-to-last fight, he lost a decision to a then 1-0 Lee Selby. He got knocked out by a 9-0 Naseem Hamed in 1994.

But over the early years of his career, Buckley was, if not a contender, not quite a punchline, either. Before his career started to drift almost permanently into the loss column in around 1992 he was 18-14-5.
So “Busy” Beeden is a solid notch below “Professor” Buckley.

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