Welter-'Wait': With Mayweather Chasing Oscar, Is Boxing's Deepest Division An Arrested Development?

liakhovich vs valuev11.02.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Coming into the Williams-Quintana showdown, if asked to name the top 3 in the welterweight division, Mayweather, Cotto, and Williams would have been the consensus picks after Williams defeated the fearsome Antonio Margarito. With Saturday night's upset of Paul Williams at the hands of the slick Quintana, it has become obvious that things aren't always the way we see them in the sport.

No words spoken could ever take away from the effort of Quintana on Saturday night, but it wouldn't be considered an 'out-on-a-limb' statement to assess that Williams' lackluster performance was primarily due to a weakened state. This thought can be solidified by the fact that he had to starve himself to make the mandatory 147 pound weight limit, only to turn around and gain 18 pounds by the time he stepped into the ring only a day later.. Never-the-less, the results are what they are, leaving the division with a lone true front runner, which is Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto.

Considering the depth of the welterweight division, skeptics have already began to question why that lone true front runner has decided to take the easy route and face off against a relatively unknown commodity in Alphonso Gomez? My question in response to those skeptics would be, "Rather than questioning the front-runners' next opponent, tell me where's the guy he's running in front for"? (Mr. Mayweather). Makes no sense for Cotto to keep running if his target has stopped, right? Or better yet, other than Margarito and Cintron, what are the other contenders in this division doing to net that position as the lone front-runner?

As 2007 came to a close, Mayweather had amazing momentum after his defeat of Hatton, Cotto had amazing momentum coming off of his defeat of Mosley, Clottey and Margarito had been victorious, as well many others in the divisions top 10. When you look at the current landscape and see that almost none of these top fighters are in line to fight each other right away, it gets very disappointing to realize that he sports most popular, competitive division is on the brink of slowly losing its steam.

What's even more disconcerting is the fact that if Mayweather defeats Dela Hoya in September, the chances of him taking on the ever-so dangerous Cotto in only 3 months later in December would be slim to none. So in essence, by years end, us fight fans could conceivably find ourselves waiting to see the same fights we came into the new year waiting to see.

At the head of the class behind Mayweather, we have Cotto, Quintana, Margarito, Cintron, Clottey, and perhaps Mosley. There's no reason in the world we shouldn't see at least 4 fights involving these 7 names by the end of the year. If we don't, that regression kicks off a new recession that takes us much further from the essence. The essence as in those action packed welterweight nights. The Cotto/Judah nights, the Mosley/Dela Hoya nights, and potentially the Leonard/Hearns nights.

Quick memo for all promoters of every current welterweight champion: "A trophy is only considered prestigious if people can see them. So take yours off the shelf and showcase them, or allow some new ones to be made".

I'm sure that after a few more tune-ups Andre Berto would be more than ready to fight for that mantle.

No more Goldenboy sweepstakes. No more "I'm only fighting if the money is right" fighters. Give us fight fans what we're all here for!

Call me crazy, but with so much talent in the pool, we need to finally separate the pretenders from the contenders and the curious from the serious.

Anybody out there feel me on that?

(Got feedback or questions: Write ESB's Vivek Wallace at or show some love at

(Look out for Thursday's edition of the "Left-Hook Lounge", which is Vivek Wallace's weekly mailbag Q&A session)

Article posted on 12.02.2008

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