The Highs and Lows of Three Divisions – Boxing
By Liam Santiago: The relations between boxing and TV, and the retirement and near retirement of big name fighters such as Joe Calzaghe, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, might result in a very bleak future for boxing in Britain. With Setanta going into administration and ITV stopping all boxing coverage it is hard to be optimistic. However, their are often reasons for this do with matchmaking and styles of fighting.
The outlook on boxing is also rapidly changing ; heavyweights are no longer the number one attraction and the need for good match-making is more essential than ever.. Here I analyze the best, the worst and the future of the heavyweight, welterweight and the light-welterweight divisions.
The heavyweight division is, arguably, in its worst state yet, ruled by two Ukranian brothers, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. However much success the brothers are having at the moment, their styles are not the most exiting, never experimenting with much more than a jab and a straight right. That’s not to say they’re not quality fighters. Vitali’s world title victory over Samuel Peter in his first fight since retiring and Wladimir’s demolition of unbeaten Ruslan Chagaev proves their unquestionable talents. But boxing is a business and seeing two fighters, who will never fight each other, destroy every other fighter in the division with ease doesn’t draw in the vast amount of fans this sport once had. But the big question everyone’s asking is Who can beat either Vitali or Wladimir, the simple answer is except David Haye, who might stand a chance, no-one can. This is what makes the heavyweight division so extremely dull. In the past we have had much more talented fighters than the Klitschko’s but there have been equally as talented opposition to create fantastic viewing.
Britain’s David Haye is the best hope for the division worldwide. Haye has every aspect needed to give heavyweight boxing what it hasn’t got, speed, power and good viewing. However, any chances of Haye de-throning either of the brothers any time soon look very slim, as Wladimir has said Haye can ‘get in line’, while he fights the mandatories, and Vitali looks set for what could be the most boring fight in history against Nicolay Valuev.
Other heavyweights, such as Chris Arreola and Alexander Dimitrenko are on the rise and only time will tell how far they can go. Maybe our expectation are too high, being used to seeing amazing fighters from the past such as Ali, Frazier, Tyson and Lewis. They were all great to watch, which, unfortunately can’t be said about either Klitschko brother. Styles make fighters popular and styles make fighters unpopular. The Klitschko’s styles have not made them unpopular but it has provided boxing fans with very unpleasant viewing.
THE BEST: Vitali Klitschko ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Chris Arreola BEST TO WATCH: David Haye
DREAM FIGHT: Wladimir Klitschko vs Vitali Klitschko
Welterweight is the most exiting and the most talented division in boxing, previously ruled by former pound for pounder Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Welters are strong enough to produce amazing knock-outs combined with fast hands and footwork. The division is jam packed with talent, from young rising stars such as Andre Berto to experienced old warriors such as Shane Mosley. However, like anything in any sport, the top welters have their critics. It is probably the division that has the most fights, in recent times, that have never took place, which could of been massive big fights. The obvious examples are Mayweather vs Mosley and Mayweather vs Cotto. A lot of catch-weight fights result in big name fights from the same division.
Shane Mosley is looking fantastic after beating Antonio Margarito with an incredible display. However, even after such a dominant performance, top fighters are still keeping their distance from the Californian man. Since beating Margarito, Mosley has been chasing a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao, however, looks set to fight Miguel Cotto instead, leaving Mosley stuck for a decent opponent. Miguel Cotto is arguably the best welterweight out there today, having only lost once to Margarito, who has now been suspended due to cheating in that fight.
Cotto has every every aspect needed to beat any welterweight today, fast hands, power, heart chin and an under-rated boxing brain. As he proved against Clottey the scars from his only defeat have well untruly gone, probably as he now knows he lost that fight due to cheating. Joshua Clottey, also a big attraction, is another talented, and very under-rated, fighter whose pressure seems to cause big problems to many good fighters. He has just had the unfortunate disappointment of tasting defeat to all time great Miguel Cotto, in an unconvincing split decision.
THE BEST: Shane Mosley ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Andre Berto BEST TO WATCH: Miguel Cotto
DREAM FIGHT: Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto.
Home to one of the biggest ticket sellers in boxing history, Ricky Hatton, light-welterweight is another great division, very close behind welterweight in terms of talent and bigger in terms of fan bases. The division is now ruled by pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao who looks set to fight Miguel Cotto at a catch weight. Although he has three losses and two draws on his record Pacquiao is an amazingly skilled boxer. Beating Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton were the fights that threw him into world popularity. His style is probably the reason he such a wide worldwide fan base. Amazing power and electric speed is Pacquiao’s key attributes as Ricky Hatton found out in May, when he was knocked out in the second round.
Timothy Bradley ; ranked second in the light-welterweight world ratings and preparing for his toughest test to date against Nate Campbell on 1st August. With 24 fights unbeaten Bradley is a huge prospect but at the moment, that is all, a prospect. Although he has defeated Junior Witter in an unconvincing split decision, which is not easy to do. We will find out if he is anything more than a prospect when he face Nate Campbell in California.
Nate Campbell ; Unquestionable boxing talent and, even at the age of 37, still looks to be in the shape of his life. Campbell only started boxing at 24 which shows how talented and dedicated he is. He was in negotiations to fight Amir Khan at one point, at lightweight, but Khan’s team backed out.
Amir Khan; Amazing talent, great dedication and incredible hand speed is why Amir Khan has only tasted defeat once. He has chin issues which have been exposed by a few fighters but under new coach, Freddie Roache, Khan looks untouchable. Under Roache, we have seen a completely different fighter in Khan. Khan is linked with a super fight with Amir Khan if he beats Kotelnik in July. Khan also plans on becoming the best pound for pound fighter in the world in the next couple of years. Can he do it? Yes, now he is training under Roache. Khan also make great viewing, always putting on a good show.
However, like all divisions there are fights at light-welter that have not happened that should of. Hatton vs Witter. Why did this fight not happen? Out of pure ignorance with no consideration for boxin fans. Surely Hatton could have fought Witter Instead of Lazcano or Malignaggi. Although I don’t believe Witter would stand a chance against Hatton,even now, the bout should’ve happened. Hatton is the biggest ticket seller in the history of boxing and probably has the biggest fan base ever. He smothers fighters with his pressure and his opponents have to be very special to come up with an answer to his attack. He looks set to carry on boxing, even after his brutal defeat, and is likely to take on Amir Khan.
The division is packed with talent and looks to stay that way in the future.
THE BEST: Manny Pacquiao (if he moves up/down, Ricky Hatton ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Timothy Bradley
BEST TO WATCH: Ricky Hatton DREAM FIGHT: Amir Khan vs Ricky Hatton/ Manny Pacquiao vs Marquez 3
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