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Saturday, 11 August 2012 21:09

Top 10 Fighters Today, 25 and Younger

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Say what you want about Tyson Fury. He's big and slow, he once landed an uppercut on himself, but he's 6'9" with an 85" reach and he's 19-0 with 14 KOs.

It's true that he hasn't taken on major competition, and that his biggest win is over Dereck Chisora. However, as the losses pile up for Del Boy, that win is becoming less and less impressive. Still, Fury has some obvious skills, and he is far from a stiff.

He definitely needs to step-up the level of his opponents to validate himself, but at only 24 years old he is one of the most impressive young heavyweights in the world. That may not sound like much in this porous era of big men, but Fury has as good a chance as anyone to challenge the Klitschko's reign.

Tyson Fury is the tenth best fighter in the world 25 years old or younger in my eyes.

Fury Vs Firtha Highlights: Hennessy Sept 17

Here is the rest of the top 10:

9. Miguel Vazquez - 25 years old - Lightweight - 31-3 13 KO
Vazquez has three losses, but they came against top competition in Saul Alvarez (twice) and Timothy Bradley. Those fights took place at larger weight classes when Vazquez was 19, 20 and 21 years old, respectively.

He has improved since then and he's fighting at 135 pounds where he is more effective.

His most impressive performances to date was his unanimous decision win over Ammeth Diaz in January, and a joke of a split-decision over Breidis Prescott. Vazquez was dropped in the first round on a power jab from Prescott that caught him off balance, but he dominated from that point on.

That fight wasn't as close as the judges made it seem.


Vazquez is not a power-puncher, but he uses his length as well as any lightweight in the world. He doesn't look formidable, but he's an excellent counter-puncher. He's awkward and thin, but this kid is a tough out.

I'd love to see him in with Adrien Broner. That would be a great fight between two young and talented fighters.

8. Juan Carlos Burgos - 24 years old - Super Featherweight - 30-1 20 KO
Burgos is a powerful boxer-puncher. His ability to punch effectively while moving backwards stands out to me. He loves the left hook, and he throws it hard and with accuracy while eluding his opponents punches.

He has a tendency to stand too upright, but he has also shown a decent chin. His only loss came to Hozumi Hasegawa in a battle for the vacant WBC featherweight title in 2010. The fight took place in Japan, but despite Hasegawa's huge home-field advantage, Burgos gave a great effort.

Burgos scored an exciting third-round TKO over Cesar Vazquez in his last fight, and that validated his spot on this list.

Video: Cesar Vazquez vs Juan Carlos Burgos Highlights/Recap

7. Gary Russell Jr. - 24 years old - Featherweight - 20-0 12 KO

This spot is temporary.

Russell will be climbing this list and a few pound-for-pound lists in the near future. I'm going to give you a very bold statement: Russell, Jr. has the fastest hands I've seen since Meldrick Taylor.

He isn't a devastating puncher, but he is certainly an effective one.

He hasn't been in with the type of competition that would validate me placing him higher than seventh, but he is one of the three most talented fighters on the list. His last two fights showed off his speed and power, as he stopped Christopher Perez in three rounds and Heriberto Ruiz in the first.

As the competition increases I believe Russell, Jr's win-total will as well.

Keep an eye on this kid.

Garry Russell - Speed Kills

6. Amir Khan - 25 years old - Light Welterweight - 26-3 18 KO

Despite what many say about Khan, he is a top-notch fighter. Like many fighters his chin is his Achilles' heel. Khan's biggest challenge will be for him to be honest with himself about who he is as a fighter. He has a warrior's heart, and he wants to bang with opponents.

But the cruel truth is that those types of fights are not to his advantage. He was easily beating Danny Garcia until he was caught with a blind left-hook that changed the fight.

From a skills stand point, Khan is still one of the 10 best fighters in the world in my opinion. But a loss is a loss, and I've got to put him here.

Video: HBO Boxing: Amir Khan vs. Paulie Malignaggi Highlights (HBO)

5. Danny Garcia - 24 years old - Light Welterweight - 24-0 15 KO
You can't take anything away from Garcia's win over Khan. He landed a big shot, and he dropped him. Is he a better fighter than Khan? In my opinion, no, but I'm not one to ignore official decisions—let alone KO or TKO victories.

Garcia is disrespected, but all he does is win. The level of his competition has increased over the last two years, but he's still undefeated.
Now he's the WBC light welterweight champion and the WBA Super World light welterweight champion. His accomplishments deserve some respect.

Danny Garcia Tribute

4. Miguel Angel Garcia - 24 years old - Featherweight - 28-0 24 KOs

Garcia is an excellent boxer-puncher. He works well off the jab and he has big time power. His spectacular stoppage of Bernabe Concepcion proved that.

I'm most impressed by his patience and poise in the ring. He doesn't get overly aggressive or emotional. He stays disciplined, throwing straight and accurate punches with bad intentions. He and Gary Russell, Jr. could put on a show, but that fight probably couldn't occur for a few years.

A battle with Yuriorkis Gamboa may be more practical and just as exciting.

HBO Boxing: Miguel Garcia vs. Matt Remillard Highlights (HBO)

3. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez - 22 years old - Light Middleweight - 40-0 29 KOs

Canelo is a dangerous boxer-puncher with a ton of experience—especially considering he's only 22. He has good power in both hands and excellent boxing demeanor.

He dismantled two old and broken fighters in his last two fights. Both Shane Mosley and Kermit Cintron have seen better days, but Alvarez dominated both fights.

Many people have adorned him as the next great Mexican fighter, and I obviously think highly of him to place him third on this list, but he still needs a signature win.

He has Josesito Lopez coming up on September 15, and that will be a tough fight. But it won't bring him the same respect as he would have gained by beating Victor Ortiz.

Ortiz was originally supposed to be the man he fought on that date, but Lopez upset him and took his payday. If Alvarez wins this fight he needs to go for a big fish in his next bout to climb the food chain.

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Tribute

2. Roman Gonzalez - 25 years old - Light Flyweight - 32-0 27 KOs
Many people haven't heard of this kid, but he is amazing. He is the best fighter out of Nicaragua since Alexis Arguello and a punishing puncher with an impressive KO percentage of 84.38.

Some boxing fans don't pay attention to the lower weight classes, but that will cause them to miss out on great talent; Gonzalez is definitely an example of that. He throws punches from varied angles and almost all of the punches in his arsenal carry knockout power.

Roman Gonzalez Highlights

His destruction of Omar Soto in October of 2011 is evidence of his punching power. Soto came into the fight four-pounds overweight, and Gonzalez still dropped him for a 10-count in the second round. He may never get the attention he deserves, but he is a small man with enormous talent.

1. Adrien Broner - 23 years old -Lightweight - 24-0 20 KOs
The man they call "The Problem" has been just that for everyone of his opponents. He idolizes Floyd Mayweather, Jr and honestly, he's similar. Picture Money with a little less speed, slightly less-sharp reflexes, less experience, but a lot more punching power.

Broner completely dismantled Vicente Escobedo in a fight that represented a lose-lose for The Problem. He vacated his 130 pound title because he was overweight, so even though he won, his reputation took a bit of a hit.

Pictured: Adrien Broner, center, gets his customary hair-brushing after a bout.


I have no doubt that he would have beaten Escobedo anyway, but 'The Problem' probably should have been a bit more professional. That said, there is no denying his immense talent. He is a superstar waiting to happen.

He'll probably have the fight that formerly introduces him to the mainstream in the next year or two, and when that happens we'll be looking at boxing's next major draw.

Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on FacebookYouTube and Twitter (@franchiseplay) for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games

Adrien Broner Knockouts - Boxing Highlights