The 2014 Beltway Boxing Prospect Of The Year was a boxer who did an outstanding job in elevating his game to another level. A major boxing promotion took notice and sent him on the road where he continued to be successful.
The Beltway Boxing Prospect of the Year for 2014 is:
Mike "Yes, Indeed" Reed (12-0, six KO's), junior welterweight, Waldorf, MD
Reed, the Beltway Rookie of the Year in 2013, advanced very nicely in 2014. Reed fought six times against opponents with a combined won-loss record of 43-8-3, three of those bouts coming on the road.
Reed opened his 2014 campaign with a fifth-round TKO of Jorge Marquez on January 17 in Fort Washington, MD. Reed stopped Marquez suddenly with a punch that landed on Marquez's ear and gave him a perforated eardrum. Reed would follow that performance with a solid six-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Bilal Mahasin on March 7 at Rosecroft Raceway and a dominant fourth-round stoppage of Regino Canales on April 18 in Fort Washington.
The Canales bout would turn out to be, at least for now, Reed's local swan song. Reed would take his act out on the road for the first time on June 14 in Atlantic City, NJ. Reed won a six-round unanimous decision over Alberto Morales. Reed would drop Morales in the fifth round.
The Morales bout amounted to a tryout for Top Rank Promotions. Top Rank must have been impressed as they signed Reed to a contract a few weeks later. Top Rank would put Reed into action for the first time under its banner on October 4 in Atlantic City against a very tough Osnel Charles. Reed dropped Charles in the second round but he also knew he was facing stiffer competition as he took some shots along the way to the win.
Reed would end 2014 by making a move to eight-round contests. Reed won a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Oscar Valenzuela on November 29 in Omaha, NB on the Terrence Crawford-Raymond Beltran bout outhustling his foe along the way.
Reed had an exceptional second year in the pros and could be an even bigger force in the 140-pound class in 2015.
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):
D'Mitrius "Big Meech" Ballard (8-0, seven KO's), super middleweight, Temple Hills, MD
Ballard fought five times in 2015, winning all his bouts by knockout. Ballard fought on both the DC Armory cards that featured world title contests stopping Marlon Farr in the third round on January 25 and Quincy Miner in the second round on April 19.
Those were Ballard's only bouts in DC as he would go back on the road. Ballard scored a first-round TKO over fellow Beltway Boxer Barry Trotter on August 9 in Brooklyn, NY, another first-round stoppage of Thomas Gifford on October 30 in Plymouth, MA and a third-round knockout of Tylon Burris on December 6 in Brooklyn.
Ballard is a solid prospect in the super middleweight decision. We look for Golden Boy Promotions to move this boxer forward in the coming year.
"Swift" Jarrett Hurd (14-0, eight KO's), junior middleweight, Accokeek, MD
Hurd made this category a pretty close race as he started off the year by stepping up in class and winning a six-round split decision over Chris Chatman on January 17 in Fort Washington, MD.
Hurd had two first-round stoppages during the year and finished off 2014 by winning a six-round majority decision over Emmanuel Sanchez on December 5 in Chester, PA.
Now that he is under the Al Haymon banner, the steadily-improving Hurd could make some big waves in the next 12 months.
Demond "D Best At It" Nicholson (10-1, 10 KO's) middleweight, Laurel, MD
Nicholson had a very interesting year in 2014. The year started off the way 2013 ended with Nicholson stopping boxers in the first round, sometimes in a brutal fashion. Nicholson defeated David Rohn in the opening stanza of their contest on April 12 at the Patapsco Arena in Baltimore, MD then went to Du Burns Arena in Baltimore on June 28 and destroyed Lester Gonzalez with a picture-perfect straight left hand. Nicholson's third knockout of the year came against Jess Noriega on July 18 at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD.
Nicholson finally got an opportunity to experience action past the first round in his next two bouts. However, he kept his knockout string alive with fourth-round stoppages of Taneal Goyco on August 23 at Patapsco Arena and Dennis Sharpe on September 20 at the Washington Convention Center.
Nicholson's year took a downward turn when he hit the road for the very first time in his career. Nicholson suffered his first pro loss as he was stopped in the sixth round by Lekan Byfield on November 1 in Chicago, IL. How Nicholson responds from his first loss will be the big question in 2015.
"The Cuban Assassin" Larry Recio (7-0, five KO's), junior middleweight, Springdale, MD
Like Nicholson, Recio continued where he left off -- knocking his opponents out, sometimes in spectacular fashion during his five bouts in 2014. Recio opened the year with a first-round, 44 second TKO of Malcolm Green on January 17 in Fort Washington, MD followed by a stoppage of Mike Santiago in the second round at Rosecroft on March 7.
Recio traveled to the Patapsco Arena in Baltimore, MD on April 12 and scored a stunning first-round knockout of Jose Felix. On May 31, Recio stopped a game Daniel Gonzalez in the second round at the Washington Convention Center.
Recio moved into six-round competition for the first time on July 18 and was taken the distance for the first time since his pro debut by Grayson Blake at Rosecroft. As competition grows, we'll see if Recio can step his game up even further in the next 12 months.
Photos by: Juan Marshall, Wallace Barron, Stiffjab.com and Waveygang Entertainment.
Previous BATB Prospects of the Year:
2006: Tyrell Samuel
2007: Tim Coleman
2008: Bayan Jargal
2009: Mark Tucker
2010: Gary Russell, Jr. and Seth Mitchell
2011: Maurice Byarm and Venroy July
2012: Thomas Williams, Jr.
2013: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
Tomorrow: The Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year!