A "journeyman" is a boxer who is seen as a test for up-and-coming or comebacking boxers who are aspiring to reach contender or championship status. A journeyman is often a boxer who once aspired to reach the same status as the opponent he is facing, but was defeated and shown to have the limitations which would relegate him to that status. Journeyman generally are competent boxers who possess either solid boxing skills or the ability to absorb punishment.
Notable Successful Journeymen
There have been boxers who were considered journeyman, who have gone to have professional success in boxing, and captured world championships. Notable examples include:
- Jim Braddock - A former #1 ranked Light Heavyweight conteder, he had been relegated to journeyman status shortly before propelling himself to winning the Heavyweight title from Max Baer.
- Freddie Pendleton - overcame a .500 record early in his career to become a Lightweight title holder in the early 1990s.
- Glen Johnson - had several unsuccessful title shots and close decision losses with top fighters, before defeating Clinton Woods, Roy Jones, and Antonio Tarver in 2004, to earn several awards as fighter of the year.
- Teddy (Redtop) Davis - a former sparring partner for Willie Pep, he emerged as a top contender during the mid-1950s, and earned a title shot against Featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in 1955. At the time of the bout, he entered with a record of 55-47-2, which is the worst record in terms of losses of any challenger for a major world title.
World Champions on the Backside of a Career
Several world champions and top contenders have also become journeyman as their skills eroded and age caught up with them, Sugar Ray Robinson being a notable example during the last years of his career in the 1960s.
The majority of journeymen, however, only briefly become contenders or find themselves the frequent foe of them. The mark of a good journeyman though, is the knowledge that on a good night he can beat a boxer who either isn't what he was billed as, or is having an "off" night. Examples of boxers who could be defined as journeymen include: