Derrick Findley: Boxing’s 168-pound gatekeeper still has championship dreams

Apr 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Curtis Stevens (left, in the white and red) and Derrick Findley (in the black and silver) trade punches during their eight-round middleweight bout at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland


He goes by the moniker “Superman.”


If you look across the ring and happen to see him there, you’d better be on your game or you will find yourself in for a long night.


He might sport opponent-like numbers but he still has championship dreams.


TV networks and ill-informed fans are thrown off by double-digit losses but real boxing people know the score – This guy can fight.


Super middleweight gatekeeper Derrick Findley, 27-21-1 (18), is as tough as they come. However, his losses might scare off the TV suits, or unknowing fans, both whom are often looking for the sizzle more than the steak. But if you take a closer look at his ledger, you’ll quickly discover he has faced the very best fighters in the super middleweight division.


The well-spoken, articulate Findley has been in the ring with 17 unbeaten fighters, numerous world champions and many world title challengers. His career has also seen his passport get a workout, as well, having fought in Denmark, Mexico, and all over the United States.


While his loss column may appear dangerously close to being equal to his win column, the numbers don’t reflect the real story.


To put his digits into perspective, Findley, who is currently riding a three-fight win streak, and has won four of his last five bouts, has faced opponents with a combined record of 138-4 in one run through 2013 and 2014.


Findley is the guy who shows up on short notice to fill the bill and give the undefeated prospect his toughest test. And if you are not on point, you might find yourself in the loss column at the end of the night.


Simply put, Findley is an old-school, iron-tough gatekeeper. And despite the role of the opponent, on most nights, he is still a fighter with dreams and ambitions in a career that has seen its ups and downs.


The Chicago, Illinois-born and raised 168-pounder Findley, who now calls Merrillville, Indiana home, caught up with to chat about his storied career and what life is like as the quintessential “opponent.”


“I never imagined this was the road I’d go down” he said, referring to his customary role as the last-minute opponent or gatekeeper. “I always had dreams of fighting for a title and winning a championship when I turned pro. I had about 120 amateur fights, so I was experienced when I came into the pros.”


Findley has faced some of the best the super middleweight division has to offer including Andre Ward, Andrzej Fonfara, Andre Dirrell, Matt Korobov, J’Leon Love, Curtis Stevens, Gilberto Ramirez, Antwun Echols and Jose Uzcategui, to name but a few.


However, he is quick to name the toughest he has ever faced.


“Oh, Andre Ward. He is very good, a strong guy and difficult to fight. I was just too inexperienced for him but I could also tell he was a special fighter. And (current WBO super middleweight champion) Gilberto Ramirez,” he added. “He was really good as well.”


While Findley’s career has taken him all over the United States, and into every casino, arena, stadium and venue you can imagine, there is no question what room stands out as his greatest thrill.


“The first time I fought at Madison Square Garden in New York, for sure,” said Findley. “That was a real thrill. Not everybody gets to fight at Madison Square Garden in their career, so it was very exciting for me the first time I fought there.”


Findley, who sports a physique that looks chiseled out of stone, knows his muscular build may give fans the idea that he is all brawn. That said, he also has vastly underrated boxing skills.


“People are surprised at how elusive I can be in the ring, when they face me. I am more slick than what they might expect. I can box and be slick in there. I am craftier than people might expect. I can box but I would say I am a puncher and that is what I like to do best,” he said with a chuckle.


Despite a very impressive resume, having faced some of the best fighters in his division, Findley still bristles at the thought that perhaps some merely see him as just an opponent.


“I have my ups and downs,” he said. “Sometimes I get frustrated when I don’t get the fights I’d like; people don’t want to fight me but I wake up every day hoping and praying I get a call for a fight that will lead to a world title shot. Maybe I get that win that slots me into a title shot somehow? Maybe I beat a guy that puts me in a position to fight for a title before my career ends. People know, when they call me, they get a real fighter. I’m never going to give anyone the fight. I go in there to win every time.”


Findley’s career has been a very interesting but, at times, frustrating journey. However, despite the trying conditions under which he often fights, his passion still burns.


“I’m not going anywhere. I am going to keep doing this until I can’t do it anymore. I still have the same dream I had when I turned pro and that is to fight for a world title one day.”



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