Alongside TMT and Mayweather Promotions, Arias had begun to make a name for himself, showcasing his skills against DonYil Livingston on a Mayweather pay-per-view undercard in only his fifth professional fight.
Arias had even expressed his desire to finish 2013 off at 10-0 and crack the top 20 middleweight rankings–something that didn’t seem too far out of reach.
But, things have slowed down for Arias. Sure, he’s racked up seven victories since the ugly breakup with Mayweather, a majority of those coming by way of knockout, but two years after joining Roc Nation Sports, the 26-year-old Milwaukee, Wisconsin native finds himself in much the same position as when he joined the upstart promotional company–on the outside looking in.
BoxRec has guys like Paul Mendez, John Thompson, Patrick Teixiera and even Joshua Clottey rated higher than Arias–and the alphabet picture isn’t too much better with the WBC rating Arias No. 20 while the WBA and IBF do not list Arias in their rankings at all.
In case Arias needed any extra motivation going into the new year, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael may have just given it to him. Earlier this week, Rafael released his 2016 Prospect of the Year list which includes one main prospect (Erickson Lubin) and 19 other highly-regarded prospects (in Rafael’s eyes).
Arias is well aware that he missed the list, taking to Instagram to voice his respectful displeasure.
“Missed the prospect list again smh. All good though cuz 2017 gonna be lit. Jumping the prospect list right to the contender list!!! Watch me work! Announcement on the way! #morebelts”
While Arias did win the vacant USBA Middleweight title and vacant WBC United States (USNBC) Silver Middleweight title in his last bout–a TKO win over 42-year-old Darryl Cunningham–this writer hopes Arias is showcased on television in 2017 and that the competition gets a little stiffer.
Arias has always had eye-catching talent and with the right promotional push he’s got a chance at making some waves in 2017–and maybe a few of those prospect of the year lists as well.
Header photo by Getty Images