Ranking Boxing's 10 Biggest 1-Hit Wonders in the Last Decade
Even in today's era of severely watered-down world titles, simply to fight for a belt is an achievement few fighters ever approach. Fighters like Yuri Foreman or Sergio Mora might settle into stepping-stone status, but the fact that they were world champions at one point can never be taken away from them.
But a world title simply isn't what it used to be in previous generations. Some of the names on this list were relatively obscure even at the biggest moments of their careers.
Forgotten or not, they were all recognized as world champions for one brief moment sometime in the past decade.
10. Eric Aiken
Eric Aiken has got to be the most improbable world champion of all time. In May 2006, despite a less-than-glittering record of 15-4, he was granted a shot at IBF featherweight champion Valdemir Pereira. Aiken won the fight and was awarded the title on a DQ.
Aiken didn't hold the belt for long, losing it in his first defense to Robert Guerrero.
His DQ win over Pereira was his last victory as a professional. He finished his career on a 0-5-1 skid and retired in 2012 with a record of 16-10-1.
9. Isaac Hlatshwayo
South African Isaac Hlatshwayo has had a nice professional career, but his time as a world champion was extremely brief. In 2009, after Joshua Clottey vacated the IBF welterweight title, Hlatshwayo captured it via split decision over Delvin Rodriguez.
Hlatshwayo dropped the belt in his first defense against Jan Zaveck by Round 3 TKO. Hlatshwayo has been inactive since March of last year and lost his last four fights.
8. Cristian Sanavia
At 39 years of age, Cristian Sanavia remains active as a fighter. The Italian journeyman fought and won just a week ago. For his career, he is 49-6-1 with 15 KOs.
But Sanavia's brief moment of true glory came almost a decade ago. In 2004 he won the WBC super middleweight title from Markus Beyer by split decision. He lost the belt back to Beyer in his first defense by Round 6 KO.
Sanavia has fought often in the decade since, and mostly won. He's held the European super middleweight belt on numerous occasions.
7. Nicky Cook
Nicky Cook is like several of the fighters on this list: a nice domestic talent with the skills to be a threat, if not a force, on the world-class scene. The super featherweight has held the European, Commonwealth and British super featherweight titles. For his career he is 30-3 with 16 KOs.
In 2008 Cook broke through to world-championship status when he captured the WBO 130-pound belt by beating Alex Arthur by unanimous decision. He lost in his first defense to Roman Martinez by Round 4 TKO.
Cook's last fight came in 2011, when he lost by Round 1 stoppage to Ricky Burns.
6. Sonny Boy Jaro
The various sanctioning bodies recognize so many interim champions at the lowest weight classes that keeping track of all the various one-off champs below bantamweight would be impossible.
But Sonny Boy Jaro is a special case. The fighter he beat to win the WBC flyweight belt, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, is arguably the best flyweight of the past decade.
In March 2012 Jaro rocked the long-time champion and beat him by Round 6 TKO. It was a career-defining moment for a long-time journeyman.
Unfortunately, that was the end of his Rocky Balboa story. In his first defense, Jaro lost the belt to Japan's Toshiyuki Igarashi by split decision.
Since losing the title, Jaro has been a model of inconsistency, going 2-2 and losing a split decision to 14-14-1 Gerpaul Valero.
5. Gavin Rees
Gavin Rees is another fighter on this list who has put together a very respectable career. He's a world-class fighter who has compiled a 37-4-1 record with 18 KOs over a long career.
He's currently riding a three-fight losing streak, but already has a rematch scheduled with Gary Buckland, who beat him by split decision in February.
But it's unlikely that Rees will ever climb back to the heights he hit in 2007, when he captured the WBA light welterweight title by beating Souleymane M'baye via unanimous decision. He dropped the belt in his first defense to Andriy Kotelnik by Round 12 TKO.
4. Carlos Quintana
Carlos Quintana represented Puerto Rico in the 1996 Olympics and had a very good career as a professional, going 29-4 with 23 KOs. He was a top welterweight and light middleweight for most of the last decade.
The crafty southpaw's biggest career moment came in February 2008 when he handed Paul Williams his first professional defeat and captured the WBO welterweight title in the process. Williams regained his title four months later in the rematch, via Round 1 TKO.
3. Sergio Mora
Sergio Mora's impressive win over Grzegorz Proksa last year showed that's he's a relevant fighter in the middleweight division. Still, considering the talent now residing at 160 pounds, I don't see Mora making a serious run for a world title.
Mora shot to prominence in 2004 as part of NBC's The Contender. He stayed undefeated all the way until 2008, when he captured the WBC light middleweight belt from Vernon Forrest by majority decision. But he lost the belt to Forrest three months later in a rematch.
Mora has stayed active and has the name recognition and record to garner another big fight down the line.
2. Siarhei Liakhovich
In recent years Siarhei Liakhovich has become one of the guys who undefeated heavyweight contenders beat on their way up. In 2011 he was stopped in nine rounds by Robert Helenius. In 2012 he again went down in nine against Bryant Jennings.
Last August he was knocked out in Round 1 by Deontay Wilder. It was among the most frightening knockouts of the year.
But in 2006 the Belarus native was briefly a world-title holder. That year he captured the WBO belt from Lamon Brewster. In his first defense he dropped it to Shannon Briggs by Round 12 TKO.
1. Yuri Foreman
Yuri Foreman is a skilled boxer and his story is intriguing. While studying to be a Rabbi, he simultaneously climbed his way up the light middleweight rankings.
But that interesting story probably got him more hype than he deserved. At one point there were even articles being published comparing him to the likes of Barney Ross, one of the greatest welterweights of all time.
Foreman captured the WBA 154-pound belt in November 2009 from Daniel Santos. In June 2010 he defended it in Yankee Stadium against Miguel Cotto, the first fight in the legendary baseball stadium since Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton in 1976.
Foreman fought gamely on an injured knee but was obviously outclassed, as well. He lost his next fight by brutal Round 6 TKO to Pawel Wolak and briefly retired.
Foreman returned to action last year and won four times against club-fighter competition. I wouldn't be surprised to see him maneuvered into another big-time fight, but I'd be shocked if he won it.