Gatekeeper (boxing)

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In boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA), a gatekeeper is a skillful and well-regarded fighter, but one who does not have the popularity or brilliance of a contender. They are considered to be a cut above most journeymen. A gatekeeper will often have an impressive record in terms of wins versus losses but will have a difficult time getting people behind them and especially obtaining promotion. An example from boxing is heavyweight New Yorker Monte Barrett, known for having tough matches with popular heavyweight stars yet failing to obtain the main title himself for a long time despite his best efforts.[1]


Gatekeepers will frequently have the following characteristics:

  • They have a generally impressive resume in regard to their number of wins and for the fact that they fight the best fighters of their respective era.
  • They receive little to no mainstream press and only some coverage within their sport, being paid a fraction of what hyped contenders receive.
  • They're usually students of the game and love boxing (or MMA) immensely, having good technical skills.
  • They're sometimes former contenders or top ten fighters who just fell short of their dream.
  • They tend to be big time stepping stones for other proven contenders to fight, providing a serious challenge that credits contenders should those fighters win.
  • They often were considered top ten talents yet just never quite won a title or came that close.
  • They're sometimes relegated to fight contenders to boost the contender's stock shortly before a title fight.[2]

Notable examples[edit]

The following fighters have all been described as gatekeepers:[2][3][4][5]

See also[edit]