Boxing: The 10 Most Exciting Fighters TodayWritten by Mark Weber
After any big fight in boxing fails to deliver, the headlines pour... 'Boxing is dead,' 'This sport is dying,' and 'This is the reason MMA has taken over.'
It's almost guaranteed you'll see those titles after a fight doesn't live up to expectations.
However, some fighters capture fans' attention because of their incredible display of heart and will. Watching them can resurrect one's love for the sport, reminding them of why they love boxing.
Here's a list of 10 fighters capable of reigniting the flame in the hearts of many. This is not a Pound-For-Pound list. Its simply a dedication to fighters who show incredible heart and are willing to leave it all in the ring if they have to.
Throughout the history of the sport, many fighters have shown will and strength in the ring with the heart and desire to die for what they love. Fighters such as Arturo Gatti, Mickey Ward, Diego "Chico" Corrales, Eric Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrera became fan favorites for this very reason.
Who are some of today's gladiators who can ignite the flame all of us, as boxing fans?
#10: Mike Alvarado: 33-0-0
Born in Denver, Colorado, Alvarado has made a name for himself by being one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today, finishing 23 of his 33 opponents by way of knockout. He caught most fans' attention with his unbelievable display of courage against Breidis Prescott on the undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez III. In one of the most exciting fights of 2011, Prescott dominated Alvarado for 5 rounds before Alvarado started to mount his comeback . In round 10 at the 1:43 mark, Alvarado heroically knocked down Prescott, badly hurting the Colombian. Prescott was unable to continue and the referee halted the action at the 1:07 mark. The fight is arguably one of the best comebacks of 2011. Alvarado was behind on all three judges scorecards heading into round 10.
Mike Alvarado is set to take on WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios on October 13th on HBO. The fight is taking place on the undercard of Nonito Donaire's title fight against Japanese star Toshiaki Nishioka.
Alvarado recently told RingTV.com, "I don't think that Brandon will be able to counter my power and my boxing skills together. So I think that within six or seven rounds, I should have Brandon out of that ring."
#9: Gary Russell Jr: 20-0
Russell, a native of Washington D.C., has become an instant fan favorite with his explosive quickness and fast hands. FightSaga, ESPN, RingTV.com, and Sports Illustrated all named Russell "Prospect of the Year" in 2011. Russell has stated he would like to take on the suspended Juan Manuel Lopez in his next bout. His incredible speed should make him a fan favorite for years to come.
#8: Carl Froch: 29-2
Froch reached the finals in the Super Six Super Middleweight Boxing tournament, losing to Andre Ward. During the tournament, Froch waged in wars with Andre Dirrell and Mikkel Kessler. His loss to the latter was a bit controversial as many thought he had won the fight which was was a candidate for Fight of the Year in 2010. He went on to dominate Arthur Abraham to reach the semi-finals where he defeated Glen Johnson in another exciting close fight. After being beaten by Andre Ward in December, Froch scored a stunning TKO against Lucian Bute to win the IBF Super Middleweight title.
#7: Manny Pacquiao: 54-4-2
After almost a decade of wars with fighters such as Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barerra, and Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao is still considered to one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today. He is coming off a controversial loss to Timothy Bradley - a bout many believe Pacquiao deserved to win. It was Pacquiao's first loss since 2005.
Manny Pacquiao is expected to fight in November against an opponent yet to be declared. Many suspect it will be Miguel Cotto. The two fought in 2009 with Pacquiao winning by TKO in Round 12.
#6: Amir Khan: 26-3
Khan is arguably one of the most under-appreciated fighters in the sport today.He has fought in battles with top level fighters such as Lamont Peterson, Paul Malignaggi, Danny Garcia, Marco Antonio Barrera and Zab Judah. And his 2010 bout against Marcos Maidana was a Fight of the Year candidate.
Amir Khan was likely on the cusp of obtaining a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr until he lost to Danny Garcia. Originally, he was set to rematch Lamont Peterson but the bout was cancelled after Peterson's failed drug test. Khan could of taken the easy road by selecting a lesser opponent and strengthening his chances to land a megafight with Floyd Mayweather - But he agreed to fight the tough, young, up-and-coming star Danny Garcia, who was the undefeated WBC Champion.
Like him or not, fans have to admire that kind of mentality. It's the type of mentality that makes fighters loved and respected.
#5: Marcos Maidana: 33-3
Maidana has waged wars with top fighters such as Victor Ortiz, Eric Morales, and Amir Khan. He recently moved up in weight, fighting welterweight contender Devon Alexander and dropping a unanimous decision. Earlier in July, he announced he would relinquish his Junior Welterweight title in order to face Jesús Soto Karass, which would mark his second consecutive fight in the welterweight division.
Marcos Maidana is a warrior spirit and his fighting style makes him a fan favorite and one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today.
#4: Victor Ortiz: 29-4-2
Ortiz has become a fan favorite ever since his courageous battle with Andre Berto, a bout that won Fight of the Year honors from RING Magazine in 2011. The rematch, which was originally set to take place in February of 2012, was postponed due to Berto rupturing his biceps in training. The rescheduled bout was set for June 30th but Berto tested positive for the banned drug nandrolone and the fight was canceled.
"Vicious" Victor took on Josesito Lopez but was forced and retire after suffering a broken jaw in the 9th Round of a bout he was winning. The loss blew Ortiz's opportunity to fight WBC Jr Middleweight Champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Ortiz has also fought top fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, and he drew with Lamont Peterson. Even with the draw and disappointing defeats, Ortiz is still a fan favorite because of his exciting style.
#3: Sergio Martinez: 49-2-2
A native of Argentina, Sergio Martinez became an instant fan favorite after his brilliant performance against Paul Williams. In a 2009 Fight of the Year candidate, Martinez lost a majority decision to the "Punisher"but the two agreed to a rematch.
After beating Kelly Pavlik in April 2010, Sergio Martinez scored a devastating second round knockout over Paul Williams seven months later in what was RING Magazine's Knockout of the Year. Since then, Martinez has scored three impressive knockouts in exciting fashion over Serhiy Dzinziruk, Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. He is set to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
#2: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez: 40-0-1
The 22 year-old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is one of the top fighters in the game today. He is also one of the most exciting, riding recent victories against Kermit Cintron and "Sugar" Shane Mosley. His next bout is set to take place against Josesito Lopez on September 15th in Las Vegas.
The explosive Canelo Alvarez possesses pinpoint accuracy and is already considered by some to not only be one of the most exciting fighters in the game, but one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world. Alvarez has a bright future in boxing.
#1: Yuriorkis Gamboa: 21-0
Gamboa's speed and quickness alone make him one of the most exciting fighters in the game today. The 30 year old Cuban superstar, who has won 16 fights by way of knockout, last fought on September 10th, defeating Daniel Ponce de Leon in a Featherweight non-title bout.
It was initially announced that Gamboa inked a deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank promotions and a fight against Brandon Rios was announced. However, Gamboa did not show up to the fight's press conference and Gamboa vs Rios called off soon thereafter. Now Gamboa is rumored to have signed with hip-hop artist 50 Cent's boxing promotion TMT. Hopefully the layoff, nearly a year to date, does not impact him negatively. His smooth style makes him one of the most exciting fighters and brightest talents in the game.
Paul Malignaggi, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Nonito Donaire, and perhaps many others are capable of igniting our passion for boxing.
Which fighters ignite your flame?
Are there fighters in your top 10 that don't appear above?
Do you prefer technical expertise most or the excitement of a brawl?
Born and raised in Philadelphia, I currently reside in South Jersey which is about 20 minutes away from Philly.
I'm a Communications major at Gloucester County College and lifelong fan of several sports, including Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing.
I fell in love with Boxing during the era of the little giants... Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao, and Juan Manuel Marquez.