Promoter Joe DeGuardia has made a solid career of finding rough diamonds, of taking fighters that maybe would have fallen in between the cracks, and working to refine them till they get to the title fight stage.
Of course, that all is easier said than done; the rough diamonds are that way because they lack maybe one or two facets which make them obvious candidates for the big time.
But DeGuardia deserves some props, because he's stayed afloat in this biz, and then some, working this side of that street.
I cannot say if the French middleweight he has fighting Saturday at Mohegan Sun will ascend to where the Joe Smiths and Chris Algieris and Cletus Seldins have, but based on Deguardia's track record, it maybe bears considering and watching.
David Papot (22-0 just 3KOs, Saint-Nazaire, France) will make his American debut against Courtney Pennington (12-3-2 5KO's, Brooklyn, New York) on a card which also features Ronnie Austion (10-0, 7KO's, Las Vegas, NV) against Marquis Hawthorne (5-9, 1 KO, Waco, Texas) at the Slugfest at the Sun, as part of the undercard of the show headlined by Cletus Seldin-Adam Mate in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Papot is the No. 9 rated middleweight in the world by the WBA. In his last bout, Papot defended his French super welterweight title against Fouad El Massoudi, winning a unanimous 10 round decision at Salle la Soucoupe, Saint-Nazaire, France.
Pennington, for the record, is on a four fight winning streak; he downed Steven Martinez in his last fight held at the Paramount in Huntington, LI. Prior to that, Pennington had his biggest win at Mohegan Sun when he defeated ex world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez in his own backyard.
So, Papot, age 27…I checked in with him, to get a sense of what brings the Frenchman to try and crack the US market.
First off, how did he get into boxing? “I started boxing at the age of 5 because I was watching a lot of Jean Claude van Damme movies…
.. with my dad so I wanted to practice it. So I started with full contact (karate) until I was 14 and then I went to boxing.”
Born and raised in St Nazaire, France, he has two older sisters, and he said his parents have always supported him in the sport.
He started out at a gym close to his home and then at 18 he decided the gym was sub-par, “so my father decided that to improve I had to go to a better place. club. So I went to Boxing Nazaire and Stéphane Cazeaux became my coach. Now that I have signed in the United States I hope to have big fight and especially to be able to progress in order to be one of the best in my category. Star Boxing is a big promoter, I trust DeGuardia completely, he and my agent will take care of my project to conquer the world!”
Statistics say it will be hard for Papot to get to the top of that WBA ladder; but considering Deguardia's track record, you might want to keep half an eye on his progress, just in case.