Light welterweight division looking good

By Joe Hampton - In the last year or so the 140 pound division has proved to be one of the deepest weight classes in boxing. WBO champ Timothy Bradley is regarded as the number one fighter due to his victories over solid contenders in Edner Cherry, Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson. Ricky Hatton was seen as the main man until he was brutally KO‘ed by arguably the best fighter in the sport, Manny Pacquiao, over a year ago. He hasn‘t fought since, leaving ‘Desert Storm’ as the only credible claimant to the 140 pound throne..

However, there are at least three men who have put themselves in the same bracket as Timothy Bradley within the last year. Marcos Maidana recorded an upset stoppage victory over a highly touted, yet weak-minded Victor Ortiz in a fight of the year contender. Maidana’s raw power and determination were on full view. Since then he has defeated both William Gonzalez and Victor Manual Cayo by stoppage, leaving no doubt as to his most valuable attribute.

Devon Alexander won the vacant WBC light welterweight title after forcing the former world champion Junior Witter to quit on his stool. In March ‘Alexander the Great’ unified the WBC and IBF titles with stoppage victory over the powerful yet one dimensional Juan Urango. His best win to date. Alexander out skilled, outmanoeuvred and outclassed his dangerous opponent.

Amir Khan, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, scored a wide unanimous decision in Manchester, England last year to win the WBA title from the tough Ukrainian Andriy Kotelnik. He then went on to score a dramatic first round stoppage of the over-matched Dmitri Salita. Then last week ’King Khan’ dismantled the tough, tricky Paulie Malignaggi and forced referee Steve Smoger to step in and prevent any more damage to the Brooklyn boxer.

With these events over the last year Timothy Bradley’s reputation as the number one fighter in the 140 pound division has come under threat. Amir Khan has put forward an idea for a mini-tournament within the division to unify all the titles and provide the biggest events the division can offer. Khan has stated that he would like Alexander to face Bradley, while he fights Maidana with the two winners facing each other in the ‘final’. An idea very popular with boxing fans and three of the four participants.

One of very few issues at the moment is that Timothy Bradley and his team have remained silent on the subject while all other combatants have expressed their happiness to participate, leaving some to question Bradley‘s willingness to face he very best. Another issue is that the earliest time the fights can happen would be at the end of the year. Bradley is expected to fight Luis Carlos Abregu at welterweight on 17th July. Devon Alexander is pencilled in to fight on 7th August and Amir Khan has stated he wants a fight in July before Ramadan, which starts on 11th August and lasts for 30 days. However, these are only small problems for three reasons: 1) the very significant earning potential for each fight; 2) the opportunity to increase each fighter’s exposure; and 3) the potential for a super fight between the winner of this mini-tournament and one of the two best fighters pound-for-pound in the sport who are only seven pounds away at welterweight.

What is certain is that the fans have top class fighters willing to face each other to prove who is the best in the division, not a common occurrence in modern boxing.

Article posted on 24.05.2010

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