Canelo, Pacquiao & Crawford: Fighters facing the best
By Angel Flowers: We have seen recently boxers from all divisions avoiding the tough fights while fighting people who match up favorably against them. With so many titles running around any half decent boxer can get one if they are at the right place at the right time. Unfortunately they then refuse to fight other champions who have raised themselves above the common contenders, everyone is concerned with becoming the next Floyd “Money” Mayweather and do not want to put themselves in a position where they have to fight the tough fights and risk losing their undefeated status.
There are boxers out there though who buck this trend by fighting other world champions to test themselves. I am not speaking about fighters who battle contenders holding a lesser version of a title, I am talking about the cream of the crop. In their last ten fights I think it is obvious which fighters have fought the tough fights and which ones have been running.
The first up is recently unretired Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, of his last 10 fights he has fought four different world champions and plans on fighting a fifth. It started with beating Antonio Margarito for the 154 pound belt and continued with fights against Timothy Bradley, Chris Algieri and Floyd Mayweather. In between those battles he fought future first ballot hall of famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane “Sugar” Mosley. Pacquiao has repeatedly challenged himself across different weight classes and has to be considered one of the most fearless fighters around. Currently he is going to be a challenger for another title when he faces the dangerous Jessie Vargas.
Next up is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. In his last ten fights Alvarez has fought champions Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Miguel Cotto and Liam “Beefy” Smith. That is five different world champions across two weight classes not to mention his show stopping knockouts of Amir Khan and James Kirkland. Alvarez has to be seen as a clear number two based on the number of title fights he has been in as the challenger despite not being the favorite in a couple. Look for Alvarez to keep this streak alive by fighting middleweight champion undefeated Billy Jo Saunders in May after he heals from his injury.
Finally we have World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion Terrence “Bud” Crawford. In his last ten fights Crawford has fought as the challenger three different times across three weight classes against Ricky Burns, Thomas Dulorme and Viktor Postol as well as beating undefeated interim lightweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa. While he hasn’t decided who his next fight will be with yet, I imagine once he gets his mandatories out of the way he will challenge for another title possibly in his fourth weight class.
An honorable mention has to be given to the twice defeated Adrien “The Problem” Broner and Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. Broner has fought as the challenger five times and has never shied away from fights. The only reason he is not in my top three is because although he has had some real tough fights, Crawford edges him out by still being a champion, likewise with Bradley who has also been in some legitimate wars and have fought three times as challenger in his last ten bouts unlike other so called champions.
A dishonorable mention has to be given to middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin; not really based on his fights but in the fights that he’s failed to take. He and his team would have you think he is some kind of world beater. In his last ten fights he has only fought former champion David Lemieux as a challenger. In Golovkin’s defense, he did fight and beat the then undefeated welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook after dragging him up two weight classes in their fight on September 10 at the O2 Arena in London, England.