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Canelo, Thurman, Broner, Crawford- the Future Faces of Boxing?

thurman74By Lance Lank: Just a couple years ago it seemed that after Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao retired from the sport of boxing that there would be no new stars. That there would be no one that the public would be interested in, let alone pay money to see fight on PPV cards.

The only rising star seemed to be Andre Ward, but having already easily beaten every top contender at 168 and the best at 175 there were no opponents left that might pose the slightest problem to the super middleweight king. That much has stayed true. Sure, Ward can move up to 175 and fight Tavoris Cloud, but that might not seem so good if Cloud gets beat by the ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins this Saturday.

However, there now appears to be a few fighters that could prove to be the next faces of boxing after Mayweather Jr. retires for good. Adrien Broner, a very talented boxer, is one of those. Broner currently is the best the lightweight division has to offer, but it seems only a matter of time before he makes the leap to welterweight where fighters such as Victor Ortiz, Timothy Bradley, Robert Guerrero, Andre Berto, and Manny Pacquiao all reside. Broner uses the shoulder roll, philly shell type defense effectively. This is rare in the current era of boxing where only Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins utilize this effective technique. He’s a far ways from being in the same ballpark as those two, but he is still young and constantly improving.

Then there is obviously the Mexican fan favorite Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Canelo already has a huge following among his fellow countrymen and a win in his upcoming bout against Austin Trout would prove he is not just another hype job of promoters. There is a strong possibility that if he gets past Trout Canelo could be facing Mayweather in the near future, where a strong performance would make him a household name for casual sports fans. At only 22 years of age, Canelo could have a strong and long future in boxing.

There is also welterweight/junior middleweight Keith Thurman who has some very heavy hands. With 18 knockouts in 19 fights, he could be a fan favorite as the general public usually prefers to see knockout artists that will stand and trade. Thurman’s next fight is against a game Jan Zaveck at welterweight, where many big names are at; however his 5’11 frame along with the fact he’s only weighed in as a welterweight for three of his nineteen fights are evidence that he will be fighting at 154, where such fighters as the above mentioned Canelo fights, along with Austin Trout and Miguel Cotto. Also, any of those four could conceivably move up and face one of the top p4p boxers today in Sergio Martinez. Or Sergio could move up to face Andre Ward at 168.

Top Rank has a lightweight/junior welterweight with a healthy amount of potential in Terrence Crawford. Crawford is so far off the map as he has yet to step up his level of competition; still Crawford has amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts. Most notably though is Crawford’s impressive amateur career which included victories over Danny Garcia, Carlos Molina, and Mikey Garcia and a gold medal at the 2007 Pan-American games. However, Crawford being with Top Rank could hinder his career, as Top Rank fighters have only been allowed to face other fighters in the Top Rank stable for the past few years. Currently, there is Rios and Alvarado at 140 and Pacquiao, Bradley, and Juan Manuel Marquez at 147, but Pacquiao and Marquez are nearing the ends of their hall-of-fame careers and wins against Rios, Alvarado, and Bradley would be quite impressive, yet still would fall short of making him a household name.

Broner, Canelo, Thurman, and Crawford have all been nursed along so far as they have had weak opponent after weak opponent fed to them. Nonetheless, they all show potential and all are close in weight. Only time will tell who, if any, of these fighters will emerge as real stars, but the possibilities are quite encouraging, and these could be the PPV fighters of the future.

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