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Syd Vanderpool-The Jewel

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Syd Vanderpool was a world class middleweight and super middleweight who in his prime only lost to Bernard Hopkins-on points in a fight at 160. At 5'9 he was rather short for a super middle but had a big reach 75" which compensated for that. He could box and punch and had a good chin, only getting stopped twice at the end of his career, against heavy hitters Jeff Lacy and Alejandro Berrio. His fighting alias was "The Jewel". 

Syd was born 23 September 1972 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He is the youngest of five brothers and one of them is Fitz, also a professional boxer of note, and his family had come to Kitchener from Trinidad and Tobago, where Fitz was born. After a brief amateur career, Syd started his pro career on 5 March 1993 and won his first five fights by stoppage, before fighting Terry Seay in his sixth fight and getting thumbed in the eye, which then resulted in it swelling shot and the fight getting stopped after round 5. Despite being ahead on all cards, he lost by a TKO, very controversially. He continued winning and reeled off 16 wins before capturing the WBO NABO middle title on 12 September 1997 by beating George Brown by TKO7. He successfully defended it against the slick Lonnie Beasley on 16 June next year and proved his talent by beating Beasley by UD12. He vacated the title shortly thereafter to become a super middleweight. 

After scoring three ko wins there first, he was given an important fight against Glen Johnson, a strong contender and a future world champion at 175. They fought on 28 January 2001 in New Orleans and Syd outboxed Johnson to win by the scores of 98-92 twice and 96-94. He was then suddenly offered a fight for the IBF middle title against Bernard Hopkins, after Winky Wright refused. Despite campaigning above the weight, he accepted it, as he already was in training for another fight. This became his biggest fight ever, of course. It took place in Indianapolis on 13 May and Hopkins, making his 11th defence, was just too much to overcome, but Vanderpool still put up a good fight. In the last round, Vanderpool was in trouble against the ropes when the ref mistook a ten second warning for the final bell and stopped the fight, thus possibly saving him from a last-second TKO-loss. Syd lost by the scores of 118-109, 116-112 and 118-110; hardly anyone did much better against a prime BHop. 

He then had a few fights at 175 and stopped Demetrius Jenkins there by TKO9 and also Jaffa Ballogou by TKO2, in 2003 and 2002 respectively. On 17 April 2004, he fought Tito Mendoza of Panama in an IBF super middle eliminator and won by mostly-clear scores after putting Mendoza down in round ten. This gave him a crack at the vacant IBF title, against the young, hard-hitting and hungry Jeff Lacy. That fight was at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on 2 October and Vanderpool made a mistake in slugging it out with the young lion instead of boxing him. By round 7 he was fading and in round 8 he was caught by a left hook on the right eye which caused him to wince and back away. Lacy then chased him to the ropes and landed three big rights to the head and the referee stopped as Vanderpool was staggering around. Lacy however also showed some damage above his left eye, meaning it was a rather close contest before that. This definitely marked a downturn for Syd, as it was also the first time he was really stopped and was now 32, at the tail end of his prime. 

He had one more fight against the Colombian powerhouse Alejandro Berrio, another hard hitter. It was actually fought above 168, despite Berrio later becoming an IBF champion at that weight as well. The fight was in Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, 22 April 2005. Vanderpool was best in the first two rounds and then Berrio took over. After getting knocked down in round seven with a left uppercut to the chin, he was knocked out by the same punch in round nine. That would be it for Syd Vanderpool, having suffered two devastating losses in a short space of time. His record is 35(23)-4. 

He now runs a successful boxing gym in Kitchener, called SydFit and is married with three children. He once said that success it not about how great one boxer can be, but is measured by the quality of meaningful relationships acquired while working towards a goal. In that way, he surely was successful. His boxing career, while not tremendously successful, was a fine one and he was definitely one of the best Canadian boxers of his era. It is only a pity he wasn't able to get a world title fight at his preferred weight of 168, which is where he hit his peak. 





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