You may not have heard of lightweight boxer Robbie Cannon. That's because, like so many young pros out there, Cannon has no major representation. His record of 14-11-2 doesn't help much, of course, but it's worth keeping in mind that popular, well-represented fighters are often carefully guided along.
They may indeed end up being as good as advertised, but their growth is frequently the result of well orchestrated career plans. The same simply can't be said for men like Cannon.
"Almost all the guys with undefeated records have promoters," Cannon tells me. "They built the guys up the right way."
Cannon, who was named St. Louis' Best Boxer of 2008 by The Riverfront Times, was once represented himself. He had an impressive resume as an amateur, after all. He also had a solid beginning as a professional ("I started off as 10-0 as a pro," he says). Things fell apart, however.
"They were giving me good, winnable fights," Cannon explains. Then, unfortunately, things went south.
"They made me a fight against a guy who had been fighting middleweight," the lightweight Cannon says. "Come weigh-in, he's six pounds overweight." Cannon stepped into the ring, regardless. "I needed a payday," says Cannon. "I had just had a kid."
It's a story that's been told far too often throughout the fight world: a boxer in need of a payday steps into the ring with the odds stacked against him.
Fighting afterwards without representation, Cannon found that the road to glory had become rockier and rockier. "A lot of fights I've had in other guy's hometowns," Cannon laments, "you can't tell me I didn't win a round."
Indeed, it's not easy being the man who has to face an opponent in that opponent's own backyard. "There's a lot of hometown favoritism," Cannon says.
Still, Cannon doesn't blame his current career situation solely on his lack of representation. "I think I have stuff I need to work on more," he admits. "I'm going to work harder on getting stronger." Like most serious fighters, Cannon is well aware of the necessity of professional reflection. "My power is not where it needs to be," he states honestly.
Although his status in the ring is yet where he wishes it to be, Cannon remains hopeful. "I'm still getting fights against top guys," Cannon says. "My goal is still to win a world title."
That being said, it's time to introduce Robbie Cannon, a lightweight fighter trying for a second act. Boxing is a sport where those who were written off and ignored have risen to the occasion and achieved glory time and time again.
Will that be the case with Cannon? Who knows? He doesn't need representation for fight fans to keep an eye on him, though.