A Welterweight Future - After December 8th: Cotto, Margarito, De La Hoya, Williams, Cintron, Clottey and Mayweather Jr.

paul williams04.12.07 - By James Slater: Things will sure get pretty quiet in the welterweight division after Saturday's "Undefeated" showdown is over and done with. Fans were going to get the potentially thrilling Williams-Cintron clash in early February, thus curing any boredom that may have set in post-Mayweather-Hatton. But now, thanks to Kermit Cintron's damaged right hand, there is no mouth-watering bout on the immediate boxing horizon that involves two world class fighters currently hurling leather in boxing's most talent rich division.

Still, what can we look forward to once Mayweather and Hatton have settled their differences this Saturday? A short 147 pound lull is soon to be upon us perhaps, but with the welterweight division so crammed with great fighters it won't be too long before another super fight emerges there. What match-ups can be expected some time in 2008 then?

First up, the aforementioned Paul Williams is still hoping to find an opponent for his original February 2nd date. No, "The Punisher" won't be swapping blows with "The Killer" on that date as planned, but whoever the brilliant Williams finds to box instead, it should still be worth watching. In short, Williams, as good and exciting as he is, is a fighter who is ALWAYS going to be worth watching. And hopefully, some time in summer '08, Williams' collision with Cintron will come to fruition. A fight that good, on paper anyway, just has to happen. You can bank on it, Paul Williams is a guy who will be right in the middle of all things relevant and exciting at 147 pounds in the coming 12 months.

Just look at some of these potential classics Williams could be involved in:

Williams Vs. Miguel Cotto. How could this fight, if we are lucky enough to see it made, fail to disappoint? With both warriors' differing styles, a truly fascinating fight would surely unfold. Who knows?, maybe fight one could be the first in a legendary series - with a great first fight resulting in a clamour for a return, in which the other guy might well turn the tables. How welcome would that be? Let's all hope the initial encounter happens first, however.

Williams Vs. Antonio Margarito II. Their first fight was a beauty. There is nothing to suggest a sequel wouldn't be also. "Tony" is always tough, feels he won fight one anyway, and would likely push Williams all the way again. Yet another excellent fight that is a possible for 2008's welterweight schedule.

Williams Vs. Floyd Mayweather. The big one! Assuming Floyd does as seemingly most feel he will on Saturday, and beats Ricky Hatton, would "Pretty Boy" dare to test his ring smarts against those of the much taller Williams? We can only drool at such a mega fight right now, but it's a possibility for the not too distant future.

Williams Vs. Joshua Clottey. Another intriguing fight. Should Clottey get past Shamone Alvarez on December 20th (no sure thing) a fight between he and "The Punisher" would likely prove to be a good pairing. Seemingly desperate for a big fight, Bronx native Clottey has already proven his ability in fights with Diego Corrales and (in a losing affair) Margarito. Joshua, as long as he keeps winning, will surely get what he wants soon. Maybe he will want a showdown with Williams.
Any article that suggests potentially great fights at welterweight has to put Miguel Cotto's name in there. There is nothing yet on Cotto's 2008 schedule, after all he's just been in there with Shane Mosley. But rest assured the Puerto Rican will be back in the ring - and against a top-notch foe - before very long. A possible fight between Cotto and Williams has already been mentioned, but who else could Cotto collide with next year?

Cotto Vs. Oscar De La Hoya. This fight has been mentioned as a possibility for "The Golden Boy's" final ring appearance in May. Whether or not Oscar can make 147 any longer, and whether or not the man who acquitted himself with Mayweather very well in his last bout will really want to roll the dice for a final time and get in there with someone as dangerous as Cotto - remain extremely tantalising questions. In short, a Cotto-De La Hoya fight would be massive. Fingers crossed for this one then.
Cotto Vs. Antonio Margarito. Can you say War? That is what this fight would surely be. The throwback classic that we all remember most fondly from 2008 just might be Cotto-Margarito. Can you imagine the atmosphere a sold-out Madison Square Garden would have come fight time for this one!? The fight has already been reasonably close to being made in the past, let's hope this coming year the two warriors get it on.

Cotto Vs. Floyd Mayweather. Again, much depends on the outcome of his fight with Ricky Hatton, but the pairing of Cotto and Mayweather would definitely have many salivating should it happen. Floyd wants to go down as the greatest fighter of his era (if not of all-time). He has to defeat Miguel Cotto to achieve that goal.

Cotto Vs. Kermit Cintron. Probably unlikely, but if Kermit feels his confidence level climbing due to another Walter Matthysse type KO win, the two Puerto Rican's may get to share a ring. With his incredible punching power, Cintron can never be written off against anyone. A Cotto-Cintron shootout could well be something special.
Last but not least, what can we expect from Floyd Mayweather at 147 in 2008? Again, providing he gets past Hatton (who, incidentally, is not featured in this article because it is unlikely, win or lose on December 8th, that "The Hitman" will fight again at welterweight) there are some great, great fights out there for Floyd.

Mayweather Vs. either of the six names written about above. With his position secure right now as the number one at welterweight, and with his name being the one most would call out if they wanted to fight the biggest name out there at 147, it seems only fair to leave Mayweather's name to last in this piece. Let's face it, Mayweather Vs. ANY one of these six talents would prove to be very interesting bouts indeed (with the possible exception of Mayweather-De La Hoya II).

Indeed, there is also a lot of work for Floyd to do before he can retire having known he's truly cleaned up his weight class. Here's hoping "Pretty Boy" meets at least two of the above names this coming year. If he does, the welterweight division will remain in fine shape, as will it hold on to its status as boxing's premiere weight class.
Of course, Ricky Hatton will be looking to spoil things this coming Saturday in Las Vegas!

Article posted on 04.12.2007

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