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Jerry Quarry will have plenty of company on the way up. Here are six of the best, who together have won 40 fights against only two losses

Age 22
5 feet 10, 200 pounds
W 6, L 0

Managed and supported by an affluent syndicate (Clover-lay), √† la Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier is in no danger of becoming lazy or complacent. He has a wife and three small children. Not that anybody ever doubted his motivation. As an amateur Frazier replaced Buster Mathis (who had beaten him) in the 1964 Olympics and went on to win a gold medal even though his hand was broken in the semifinals. Frazier's forte is a strong left hook. "He's an excellent banger," says one Philadelphia trainer. "But." The but is his tendency to be a "one-arm banger," relying too much on the left and neglecting to develop the right. He is also a fierce competitor in the gym, a common failing among his home-town confederates that has given rise to the unflattering term, a "Philadelphia fighter"—that is, one who leaves his fight at home. If this is true of Frazier, it has not been evident in his pro fights. He has won all six by knockouts.

St. Paul
Age 23
6 feet, 196 pounds
W 5, L 0

A college degree from the University of Kansas and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses belie the toughness and power of Ron Marsh, a substitute teacher in the St. Paul school system. Marsh grew up in a rough section of Kansas City called Siren (for police cars) City. From street fights he soon progressed to the gym, and at 12 (Marsh falsified his age) a Golden Gloves championship. He did not try boxing again until his freshman year at KU. After only a few weeks of training he scored three straight first-round knockouts and reached the national quarter-finals of the Golden Gloves. As a pro Marsh punches with the same bottled fury that characterized his amateur style. He also has the same faults: a lack of interest in defense and a penchant for getting hit on the jaw. Neither is judged serious by his managers, Joe Robbie, the president of the AFL's Miami Dolphins, and Wrestler Vern Gagne. They will spend $50,000 making him a contender.

New York City
Age 21
6 feet 3, 260 pounds
W 5, L 0

As America's 300-pound heavyweight candidate for the 1964 Olympics, Buster Mathis was the best news for reluctant dieters since Kate Smith. Metrecal and hard work have made inroads on Buster's well-rounded form, but at 260 this onetime incubator baby is still formidable. Remarkably, however, it is not his size that is so extraordinary, but his speed—of hand and foot. Mathis is an excellent boxer and in time may become a puncher if he learns to set himself first. So far his opponents have found him hard to hit. One fighter who did not was Mike Bruce, who opened a bloody cut over Mathis' left eye. Mathis ignored the wound, rushed and battered Bruce and won by a TKO, proving he has a will. Cus D'Amato tried to sign the fighter to a pro contract but lost out to a syndicate of New York sportsmen. "Mathis is a natural," says D'Amato. "He has more impact, more color, more ability to rouse a crowd than anybody I've ever seen."

Salt Lake City
Age 21
6 feet 4, 205 pounds
W 13, L 2, D 1

After every workout Tony Doyle quips prophetically, "another day closer to Clay." That day may come sooner than even he expects. The authority for this is Clay's own manager, Angelo Dundee, who sees Doyle as a possible opponent for a title fight as early as next year. For this Doyle can thank his family environment (his father works his corner and two brothers box) and an early start in the amateurs. He was polished enough to step into the pros as a main-eventer, never fighting anything less than eight-rounders. A stand-up boxer, Doyle complements his excellent height and reach with a snapping left hand. He can take a hard punch, but most impressive is his tactical knowledge of the ring; already he has mastered such refinements as spinning, hitting and moving. Doyle's one weakness is his punch. "The Irish mature late," says his manager, Angelo Curley. Twice he has refused $50,000 for his contract.

New York City
Age 26
6 feet, 198 pounds
W 3, L 0

With less than a handful of fights to his credit, Jim Woody is treated as if he were a full-grown tiger or, at the very least, an accomplished spoiler. He earned his reputation by upsetting boxing's latest giant, 6-foot-9 Jim Beattie, not once but twice in bloody bouts. Considered the most advanced of the newer heavyweights, Woody was offered a fight with fourth-ranked George Chuvalo, but his manager, Bobby Melnick, turned it down, fearing that Woody was being rushed into a class over his head. Like Doyle, Woody is more boxer than puncher. "You do not want to meet him," complains Beattie. "His style is impossible." Woody has a sneaky right hand and is tough to discourage. His style, he says, is a product of Harlem. "I had to fight all the time just to keep myself together." But fights now are hard for him to come by. "Who needs a cutie like that?" says Promoter Carl Duva, fingering Woody's chief obstacle to advancement.

Wilmington, Calif.
Age 19
5 feet 11, 188 pounds
W 8, L 0, D 1

Before every fight Joey Orbillo listens to a tape recording by Earl Nightingale, who reminds him that success comes from within. The message has a double meaning for the introspective Orbillo. Because he is small and has short arms, he must work inside. Once there, he hits hard with both hands, although his short left hook probably is his best punch. In many ways he is like a young Rocky Marciano. About Rocky's size, he takes a punch well and he prefers a fighter who will trade punches with him. He is quicker than Marciano, however, does not hit quite as hard but, like the former champion, could have played college football. Orbillo is a thoughtful fighter. Against Billy Stephan, for instance, 90% of his punches were with his left hand, although in previous fights he had relied mostly on his right. "Then in the ninth round," he says, "I knocked him down with a right." Such resourcefulness could carry him to the top.