The Best Divisions in Boxing
09.08.07 - By Pepe Salazar: No doubt about it, boxing is having a great year. A lot of exciting fights have already taken place in 2007, and several more are slated for the remaining five months. It’s time to take a look at which divisions are contributing towards this great year boxing is having, and which division continues asleep even in the middle of a boxing renaissance.
Article posted on 10.08.2007
Based on the recognizable stars, level of excitement, and the best fighting the best, the following are the best divisions in boxing:
1.) Welterweights (147 lbs) - The welterweights are red hot right now, particularly Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is also the universally recognized #1 pound for pound fighter in the world.
His fight against Oscar De La Hoya has easily been the biggest boxing event of the year so far. Unless you belong to a special category of “purist” or you are a die-hard Floyd fan, the fight itself turned out to be not exciting, but it still broke live-gate and PPV records.
Yes, the fight was for a 154 lbs belt, but Mayweather has since relinquished the belt and has announced his intentions to continue campaigning at 147 lbs. He’s scheduled to fight the also undefeated junior welterweight champion of the world Ricky Hatton in December 2007. Besides Mayweather Jr., the welterweight division is inhabited by hard punching and undefeated Miguel Cotto, who in November will face another great welterweight in Shane Mosley. Paul Williams is coming off a win against Antonio Margarito and ready for bigger challenges. Margarito, Judah and Collazo would be a stiff test for anybody, and we also have the resurgent Kermit Cintron.
2.) Super bantamweight (122 lbs) - The names Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez would be enough for this division to be at the top along without any other fighters mentioned. Their second fight on August 4th is a leading candidate for fight of the year, and their first fight back in March was not bad at all. Boxing fans would love to see these fighters get it on a few more times, but, being mindful of the fighters’ health, we’ll settle for the classic trilogy. Any one of these two would be favored over anybody else in the division, but they would have to bring their A game to a fight against Celestino Caballero. The Panamanian’s height and bag of tricks could represent a problem for anyone. The mostly unknown (in the USA) Somsak Chitchatchawal was involved in The Ring 2006 Fight Of The Year. Daniel Ponce De Leon is an exciting slugger - limited boxing skills not withstanding - and he’s fighting the undefeated Rey Bautista in a couple of days. Plus, undefeated up-and-comer Steve Molitor would no doubt relish a shot at any of the big shots in the division.
3.) A tie between the Super featherweight (130 lbs) and the middleweight (160 lbs) divisions.
At 130 lbs., Manny Pacquiao keeps terrorizing everybody who crosses his path, and is already scheduled to fight Marco Antonio Barrera for the second time. The most skilled fighter in the division, Juan Manuel Marquez, is scheduled to face Rocky Juarez now that Jorge Barrios had to pull out with an injury. Joan Guzman is still undefeated and ready to fight anyone. Humberto Soto is on a hot streak, and, our biggest collective wish in America is to watch Edwin Valero fight. His record is 22-0 with all 22 wins by KO.
At 160 lbs., Jermain Taylor, the middleweight champion of the world, is still undefeated, even though he’s faced living legends Bernard Hopkins (twice) and Winky Wright. He lost a few fans (though not in Arkansas) when, for his last couple of fights, instead of full middleweights he fought junior middleweights in search of a KO win that didn’t come. Other than that, he’s constantly facing the best opposition available. To prove this point, he’s scheduled to face Edison Miranda conqueror Kelly Pavlik in September. The highly ranked Arthur Abraham is still undefeated, but somewhat of an enigma to American fans. His (so we read in America) controversial victory over the tough Miranda was not shown on US TV.
Honorable mention: The lightweight (135 lbs.) and the Super middleweight (168 lbs.) divisions.
The worst division in boxing:
The strawweight 105 lbs division has one (somewhat) recognizable star in Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, but in his next fight he will challenge Hugo Cazares for the junior flyweight championship the world. With or without Calderon, the strawweight division will remain where it has always been, in obscurity.
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