TO be the man, you don’t necessarily have to beat the man!
The welterweight division has for so long been boxing’s glamour division, beneath heavyweight. A tremendous blend of both blistering speed and bone crunching punching power has ensured a steady stream of classic material from the 147lbs weight class.
Up until his recent retirement Floyd “Money” Mayweather was the welterweight ruler. With his departure, a huge void has been left in the division, one which we excitedly wait to be filled. An old boxing idiom has always stated that “to BE the man you have to BEAT the man”. What happens when that is not actually possible however, can sometimes prove to be a lot more entertaining. In this very instance ‘the man’ is normally the last one standing after the dust has settled on some terrific contests. As fans of the sport we are in a privileged position right now. Just as is the case in a host of other weight classes, 147lbs is littered with an array of star studded talent all vying to be the “New Money”.
While the World Boxing Super Series has been a breath of fresh air for the sport, 147lbs is one weight where I don’t wish to see an elimination style tournament. I feel that the division and the sport as a whole would benefit a lot more from a series of match-ups that could each stylistically provide fireworks. Here I will explore five potential match-ups that win, lose or draw for each competitor are bound to raise their stock.
- Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter – This one has fight of the year contender written all over it. A sharp shooting, power punching, flat footed counter puncher vs an in your face, relentless, pressure fighting brawler. This stylistic match up would pose several questions for both fighters and hopefully give us fans both the answers and excitement we crave. Would Porter be able to disrupt Garcia with his rugged style or would his bull-rushing style see him run head first into Garcia’s patented “no look hook”? I for one hope we get to find out.
- Errol Spence Jnr vs Keith Thurman – Fans are salivating at the prospect of this fight already, and for good reason. Unified champion Thurman has proved that he is so much more than a crude “One Time” slugger over the last few years. He has shown great boxing skills, an underrated fight IQ and undeniable grit when faced with adversity in fights. While these are all enviable traits to possess, it’s the latter that has also raised so many question marks. Undoubtedly Thurman has shown he is tough and will fight through pain and discomfort but the way in which he has found himself hurt has led to people screaming that Errol Spence is the man to end his run. Keith Thurman has been visibly hurt to the body on several occasions, this could prove to be his undoing against the rugged Texan. Immensely skilled, fast, powerful and smart, Spence has also proven to be one of the premier body punchers in boxing today. This contest has classic written all over it. The boxing community wait with baited breath…
- Errol Spence Jnr vs Shawn Porter – This is the beauty of a series of match-ups rather than an elimination style tournament. We, the fans could have potentially been missing out on this match up that would surely be firefight. Two fighters who like to occupy the centre of the ring, hunt their opponent, corner them and then do vicious damage. I find it hard to envision this fight as anything other than a war. This would be the kind of fight, once again that would elevate both participants, regardless of the outcome.
- Terence Crawford vs Keith Thurman – the boss from the 140-pound division has set his sights on once again trying to conquer a weight class. Crawford took the bold step of moving up and challenging WBO king Jeff Horn so chasing a challenge as difficult as this assignment would come as no surprise. This match up pits switch hitting Crawford against the savvy power punching Thurman, two fighters who can both box as well as they can bang. Both fighters share the distinction of being much better in areas than they are given credit for, this is what I think makes the fight so interesting. Crawford, for all his technical ability and slick skills is a power punching, rugged fighter while Thurman is the power puncher who is a lot slicker and fleet of foot than people often realize. Who imposes their will? Who makes the adjustments? What a fight this would be.
- Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jnr – This would see two of the consensus best ‘pound-for-pound’ fighters in the world squaring off. Much has been said of both men, they possess that unique blend of speed, power, ring intelligence, durability and aggression. All the ingredients you would expect from the best “Pound for Pound” in the world. This contest, while undoubtedly being a huge money fight, could be the real “Money” fight. Could this fight be the one to anoint the heir apparent? Could this be the one that finally sees the end of the Mayweather era and beginning of the Crawford/Spence one?
The king is dead, long live the king. Whoever that proves to be…