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BEST BOXER Minneapolis 2006 - Jason Litzau

Since turning pro in 2002, the St. Paul native has quickly compiled one of the gaudier records of any Minnesota fighter in recent memory: 17 wins (15 by way of knockout), zero losses. Naturally, a lot of the early Ws were a product of friendly matchmaking. No one, for instance, is likely to remember Litzau's 2004 knockout victory over tomato can Nelson Hernandez. (At the time of their bout, Hernandez had an appalling record of 2 wins and 54 losses). Since then, the quality of Litzau's opposition has been steadily upgraded, yet he's shown no signs of real vulnerability. His three fights in 2005 came against opponents with a combined record of 43 wins, 11 losses, and 5 draws. Already a polished boxer-puncher at the relatively tender age of 22, Litzau has plenty of time to sharpen his skills. The same cannot be said about better known Minnesota fighters such as 27-year-old Matt Vanda (whose impressive-looking 34-1 record was built mainly on stiffs and questionable judging) or the durable and telegenic Tony Bonsante, who at 35 looks to be near the end of the line. From the perspective of the Minnesota fight fan, there's only one real problem with Litzau: With an East Coast management team and a zest for higher caliber opposition that is tough to come by in these parts, he hasn't fought in front of a home crowd for two years. It doesn't seem likely he will any time soon, either. The upside: It is not inconceivable that in the not-too-distant future Minnesota's fistic fanatics will get a chance to see the local kid fight for a featherweight title on HBO or Showtime.

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