Mayweather, Pacquiao, Ward, Canelo: Future State of Affairs
Ny Isaac Brodeie: This sport survives through its stars. Full time fans of the sport will tune in to their favorites, to gauge an up-and-comer, or an interesting match of styles. But it is the Floyd Mayweathers and many Paquaios that brings in the audiences, from them the big networks, with them the big sponsors, and ultimately the big money, which then trickles down to support the more obscure names and draw new fans to the sport. And now with both of these stars, along with their best competitors Cotto and Marquez, are on their way out the sport will need to raise up a new icon if it is to have any hope to avoid slipping into sporting obscurity.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will not be this star. I understand some might disagree with this, but as talented as this growing star is, and though I do believe he will be champion again and have a long and successful career, he will never be number one. I could expect him to be a decent pay per view star, thanks to the Mexican audiences, but I see him being the opponent. Just as he was in the Mayweather fight, he will be a big enough draw to boost the icons numbers significantly, but I wouldn’t expect him to be capable of reaching seven figures alone, unless by chance he reclaims a title in the next year. However after the Mayweather loss I expect he will be managed very carefully for the next couple of years. Look to see him avoid Lara, resist a move to 160, and continue to fight beatable opponent, while his management should be doing everything they can to push his name and lead him into exciting fights before casuals fans forget about him.
My hope is that Andre Ward will become the new face of the sport. Already he is the obvious choice for succession in the pound for pound rankings and with a big 2014/15 he could find the stardom that has so far eluded him. As of now Ward is in the ideal spot of being surrounded by some of the sports most exciting fighters, Golovkin to his left, Stevenson and Kovalev on the right and Chavez Jr. and Anthony Direll to keep him busy. If Ward continues to ignore the pressure to move up in weight he will only have to wait the punchers at 175 to inevitably collide after which they will have no where left to turn by 2015.
In the meantime at 160 expect the winner of Cotto V Martinez to look for either Canelo of kid chocolate. And by these fights taking place the list of opponents for Golovkin at 160 will be deteriorating quickly. Enter Ward. Because of Golovkin’s boogey-man status the other names at 160 would sooner face each other, so half of his opponents will be damaged good before he has a chance and what’s left will only fill so many calendar dates, which we have see GGG knock out just as often as his opponents. So as much as his team feels the pressure on him to move up is unfair, and as much as I agree with them, it will eventually have to happen.
Ward himself can continue to grind away at 160. If he’s lucky he’ll make some money in outpointing Chavez. If not there are still respectable opponents in George Groves (especially should he defeat Froch in the rematch) and Anthony Direll (Is there a Bika rematch in the works?).
None of these fights he could hopefully be in line for will be easy but it’s hard not to give the diverse skill of Andre Ward a good chance against any opponent, and if he remains undefeated a good chance at capturing the limelight.
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