By Gav Duthie: I was recently reading a Charles Brewer (former IBF Middleweight champion) interview where he described the middleweight/super middleweight divisions at present as a joke. His particular reference point was regarding his surprise at Jermaine Taylor being able to win a world title and Andre Wards ring inactivity.
After taking his thoughts on board and looking at the divisions on a deeper level I tend to agree with his synopsis.
The Current Scene@ 168lbs
In my opinion the talent pool is better now than it was in Charles Brewer’s day. The division back then was dominated by Sven Ottke and Joe Calzaghe with Brewer in the mix alongside the likes of Byron Mitchell and Robin Reid. There are more top fighters now but the problem is we have no real idea what the situation is with our best 3 at 168.
Andre Ward – Has fought only twice since winning the Super 6 back in 2011. He has recently said that his ties with the late promoter Dan Goosen’s company are over and he has signed with Roc promotions so hopefully he will be back soon.
Carl Froch – Has intimated that if he doesn’t secure the fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr then he might retire.
Mikkel Kessler – Despite signalling no intention to retire he hasn’t fought since losing to Froch in the summer of 2013.
Arthur Abraham is also clearly on the slide so what of the new crop. The future of the division seems to be lead by the Dirrell brothers Andre and Anthony, British duo George Groves and James DeGale, Mexican Gilberto Ramirez and compatriot Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr if he can sort his promotional issues. WBC champion Anthony Dirrell has recently expressed his surprise at George Groves ability to gain mandatory status with the WBC after back to back losses but who else is there. Dirrell has a voluntary defence available first but other than fighting his brother or enticing Mikkel Kessler I don’t see much else around.
Back in 2011 Kalle Sauerland’s Super 6 tournament was the envy of boxing. A simple concept where the best fighters must face each other and by the end we were in no doubt Andre Ward was the best fighter. Today Ward has promotion issues as does Chavez and few of the big fights are happening with the exception of Froch-Groves.
The situation isn’t much better here. Jermaine Taylor walks into a title shot despite doing nothing for about 5 years and then the IBF agrees to let him face another forgotten man in Sergio Mora for his first defence. Gennady Golovkin is active but can’t get near the top fighters in the division. Peter Quillin seems happier to talk about boxing rather than fight and the WBC champion Miguel Cotto doesn’t really want to be there.
I think both divisions have huge potential for great fights but I have very little confidence that much of these will happen in the new year. Here are ten fights I would like to see happening but I’m not expecting too much.
Ward v Froch 2
Froch v Golovkin
Abraham v Andre Dirrell 2
Chavez Jnr v Golovkin
Cotto v Canelo
Froch v Golovkin
Ward v Golovkin
Lee v Saunders
Froch v Kessler 3
Groves v DeGale 2