Post Mayweather-Pacquiao era: Who is the heir to the 147 lb throne?
Given the recent emergence of Errol Spence Jr and recent retirements Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, many in the boxing universe are asking: Who will be the world’s top 147 pounder in the post Mayweather-Pacquiao era?
Historically, welterweight has been one of boxing’s glamour divisions and today is no exception. Boxing’s hottest class is loaded with talent.
Let’s dissect the candidates...
The major criticism of Kell Brook is the lack of world class names on his resume. He has just one. However, that victory over Shawn Porter is still a pretty impressive, especially given it was on foreign soil. Porter was, and is, high on everyone’s welterweight list but never moreso than when Brook travelled to Ohio and challenged him for the IBF title.
In a close fight, Kell showed his ability to adjust at the very highest level and grind out a victory.
An eye test of Kell Brook, even against lesser challengers, is enough to show the obvious talent he possesses.
It is also worth noting the lack of names on his resume is also the outcome of some unfortunate circumstances. Injuries have seem him pull out of fights with Devon Alexander and Diego Chaves not to mention the horrific stabbing he suffered whilst on holiday in Tenerife.
If we're basing the number one spot on resumes alone then Tim Bradley may be the obvious choice.
His run at welterweight has included victories over Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas and a highly disputed victory over Manny Pacquiao. But if we are to discredit the "victory" over Pacquiao then, logically, we must credit him for the "draw" with rugged fringe contender Diego Chaves, an awkward fighter with whom no one has had an easy night.
Credit is also due for his run at 140 pounds where he defeated then-unbeaten fighters, Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson who would subsequently go on to campaign at welterweight.
Bradley is coming off a convincing second defeat at the hands of Pacquiao but will likely bounce back for some high profile bouts in the near future.
The ‘Thurmanator’ falls in to the same category as Kell Brook. Regardless the level of his opposition, you know you're watching a supremely talented fighter with the power to back up his skills.
Perhaps his advantage over Brook is the more recognisable names on his resume. Wins over the ultimate gatekeeper, Jesus Soto Karass, the aforementioned Diego Chaves, former title challenger Luis Collazo and multi weight champion Robert Guerrero give him more experience against better opposition and enhanced credibility in the eyes of some.
... But are those victories as valuable as Brook defeating Shawn Porter on foreign soil?
Ostensibly, Robert Guerrero is the biggest name on Thurman’s resume. However, Guerrero’s subsequent performances have done little to enhance Thurman’s credibility. Just prior to losing to Keith, Robert went ‘life and death’ with Japanese gatekeeper Yoshihiro Kamegai and was almost upset by Aaron Martinez in his next fight following the loss to Thurman.
Perhaps that Guerrero was a spent force that Thurman should have handled, as he did? The same cannot be said for a prime Shawn Porter.
Did Porter lose some of his momentum after the Brook defeat?
Previously and as the underdog, he defeated Devon Alexander, winning a clear unanimous decision. And in his first defence, he steamrolled veteran Paulie Malignaggi in four dominant rounds. No one had defeated Paulie that quickly and decisively.
He then lost his title in a very close fight by majority decision to Kell Brook. No shame in that.
But Porter bounced back with victories over Erik Bone and orchestrated a one sided decision against Adrien Broner to recapture some of the momentum he lost in the Brook fight.
There is no doubt Porter, who will face Keith Thurman in the summer, is a threat at 147 pounds. On paper it’s a 50/50 fight and the result will take us a step closer to learning who is, indeed, “the man” at 147.
Amir Khan’s ability has never been in question. His talent is supreme.
But his chin and defensive skills on the otherhand have been questioned repeatedly, and often, Amir’s come up short in his answers.
While his resume at 147 hasn't got anyone raving, his overall ledger is impressive. Wins against Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah and his near-shutout win over Devon Alexander are certainly eye-catching but a lack of concentration and defensive skills have cost him.
Despite winning, he was badly hurt against Maidana and wobbled by a few mid-tier opponents. And, of course, he was stopped by Danny Garcia.
Khan claims to have rectified his defensive issues under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter but we still saw glimpses of them in his most recent outing against Chris Algieri.
Although his next fight will be at a catchweight of 155 against Middleweight champ Canelo Alvarez, look for him to ultimately vie for 147 pound supremacy.
A couple of years ago Danny Garcia's stock was one of the highest in world of boxing. From 2012 to 2013, Danny Garcia twice defeat legendary Mexican Erik Morales, stopped Amir Kahn and outpointed Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, collecting WBC, WBA and the Ring Light Welterweight titles in the process.
But since that September 2013 win over Matthysee, his career has stagnated and he’s experienced a drop in stock.
A hotly disputed victory over Mauricio Herrera and victories over the criminally overmatched Rod Salka and aging Paulie Malignaggi left fans disillusioned.
Moreover, his victory over Lamont Peterson also controversial and he failed to win back the fans he had turned off.
Earlier this year, Danny faced Robert Guerrero which, remarkably, was a WBC-sanctioned welterweight title fight. And as expected, Garcia won a unanimous decision.
Garcia definitely still has a lot to offer at 28 years old and many hope he’ll be able to recapture the form that had previously earned a spot of some pound for pound lists. Without another match up scheduled at the moment, 2016 has to be big year for Garcia. And with an endless list of credible dance partners, there are no more excuses for the Philadelphian.
Vargas makes the list due to his impressive 9th round stoppage over highly-touted Sadam Ali in a bout that earned him the WBO title. He also put up a decent display against Tim Bradley, where a bizarre finish had some asking for a rematch. Vargas was keen to call Bradley out again after his victory over Ali, and a Bradley-Vargas rematch could take place this year.
Jessie is a fighter to watch.
Errol Spence Jr
Spence is now a full-fledged, legitimate contender, as his impressive knockout win Chris Algieri served as his coming out party. Given the nature of Spence's victory, the 26 year old certainly made a profound statement. Next, he’s likely to fight an IBF title eliminator for the right to face Kell Brook.
Spence has long been heralded as the future of the division and it's not entirely difficult to see why. He's a natural 147 pounder, big at the weight and packs power. He's also been steadily climbing the rankings of the sanctioning bodies and is one fight away from being the mandatory challenger for Kell Brook’s IBF title.
But Spence may be just a little too green to challenge the fighter who many feel is ‘the man to beat’ in the division. However, a few more victories against top 10-15 contenders and Spence may be ready to take over.
There are plenty of options... Lamont Peterson would be a tough test and the winner of the Ortiz-Berto rematch could make for a fun scrap.
It's easy to get caught up in the hype but, in reality, there is no rush. What looks certain is that Errol Spence Jr has a big future in the sport, and the rest of the division should start taking notice.
If everyone is willing to work together for the good of the sport, 2016 should be a big year for the welterweight division.
We already have Thurman vs Porter to look forward to so let’s hope the rest of the division follows suit.
Who will reign supreme at 147?
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