Thursday, April 26, 2012

What is the Most Loaded Division in Boxing?

Throughout the history of time the two most popular divisions of boxing were the heavyweight division and welterweight division.  The Heavyweight Division always appealed to the American public.  The thought of two larger than life men going at mano y mano was intriguing.  The Welterweight division brought the most skill to boxing.  It makes sense considered the average male would fall between 5’6 to 5’10 and weight around 145 to 160.  Those types of guys would not excel at basketball or football, so there is a larger pool of men to choose from.  Throughout history boxers from the welterweight division represented itself on the mythical pound for pound list.  From the greatest of all time Sugar Ray Robinson to the pound for pound king today Floyd Mayweather all held that position from the welterweight division.

In today’s game I believe there are many divisions that are talented, but taking a deeper look there are only a few divisions that would supply 10 guys worthy of being in title contention.  Welterweight today holds the sports two top stars Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather, but it only goes so far.  Over the next few days I will be showcasing several divisions and giving my rankings on those divisions.

The Junior Featherweights (122 Pounds)
Deep, deep division!  The division has established fighters holding down title positions.  Recently many top talents from 4 pounds south have joined the elite 122 pounders.  Let’s take a look at the fighters ranked in order.

1)      Nonito Donaire (28-1-0) - Yes, even though Donaire has only one fight at Jr. Featherweight he is the guy to beat.  His one fight came against a top 10 talent and he won impressively.  Donaire is the name of the division.  He demands the most money and is widely considered a top 5 pound for pound fighter.  Donaire has won 27 fights in a row, his lone loss coming in his second pro fight.  Donaire is schedule to take on Cristian Mijares (45-6-2). 
2)      Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3) – Toshiaki has been in the divison for some time now.  His most recent victory was a hard fought crowd pleasing fight against popular Mexican Rafael Marquez.  Toshiaki is on a 16 fight winning streak, 12 coming at the Jr. Featherweight limit.  Many boxing fans do not know much about Toshiaki, but he is a fighter that is highly skilled and will bring the fight to you 100% of the time.  His next fight is to be determined.
3)      Guillermo Rigodeaux (9-0-0) – What only 9 professional fights?  Yes sir.  Rigo is the real deal.  9 pro fights and holds a legit title after beating formerly undefeated Rico Ramos (20-1-0).  Rigo may have the best amateur career in the history of the sport, including 2 gold medals for Cuba.  Rigo has been calling for a clash with Donaire since his victory, but will have to settle for a title defense on the Pacman-Bradley undercard.  Rumors have opponent to be Teon Kennedy (17-1-2).
4)      Jorge Arce (60-6-2) – That’s a lot of fights against some tremendous competition.  Arce has been around long enough and has earned his recognition because of the crowd pleasing style and willingness to fight anyone.  Arce ahs not lost in 9 fights.  His draw against Lorenzo Parra was avenged in a 2012 rematch in which Arce stopped him in the 5th round.  Rumors have Arce and Donaire hooking up later this year in what would be a tremendous fight.  In the mean time Arce is fighting on the Pacman-Bradley undercard June 9th against Jesus Rojas (18-1-1).
5)      Abner Mares (24-0-1) – In the division for 1 fight Mares deserves a top 5 ranking because he is a ball of fire.  His last 5 fights have come against top notch competition, Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko X2, and Eric Morel compiling a record of 4-0-1.  Against Morel he dominated showing a wide variety of skills, both boxing and brawling.  In the process he added a vacant Jr. Featherweight title.  With the added weight Mares looked to be able to enhance his power.  Mares may look to fight fellow golden boy fighter Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1) who may make the jump to Jr. Featherweight later this year.
6)      Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-2-1) – Coming off two losses in three fights against top 5 fighters in the divison, Donaire & Arce, Wilfredo will look to get back in the winning ways and rebuild his confidence for another title run.  His future opponent has not been set.
7)      Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (46-2-0) – Poon not very well known in the States is a lot like Chris John.  Poon has 1 lost in the last 6 years, a hotly contested decision lost to Ryol Li Lee (16-1-1) at the time.  Poon has general fought in Asia, but is highly regarded in inner boxing circles that he would do very well against any top fighter in the division.  No future opponent named.
8)      Rico Ramos (20-1-0) – Ramos lost his title to Rigo in January of this year.  Since then we have not heard much from him.  It was his first lost of his career and he should be able to bounce back.  Ramos holds some good wins against some tough divisional fighters.  I would expect a tune-up fight to get back in it and another title shot down the road. 
9)      Steve Molitor (34-2-0) – The Canadian kid has an impressive record, but big chances have left him in defeat.  Most recently a rematch loss against Takalani Ndlovu.  Steve is entering the later half of his career and it would do him well if he could make a run and fight for a title soon.  If not it may be the way of gatekeeper in his future.
10)  Akifumi Shimoda (25-3-1) – Shimoda is a very tough fighter who again is not as well known in the States.  Shimoda fights mostly in Japan, but a trip to Atlantic City last year resulted in a loss to Rico Ramos.  Shimoda does hold some nice wins against very good fighters.  Shimoda has the ability to give any fighter at 122 lbs trouble on any given night; hopefully we get to see him in the states sometime soon.

There you have it, my top 10 Jr. Featherweight fighters.  This list does not include any fighter that may fight in the division in the future,  For instance in Moreno were to make the jump to 122, then of course he would deserve a divisional ranking.  A fight at 122 would have to have taken place.

News and Notes: 
**Yesterday featured quite the Twitter war between Adrien Broner and Hank Lundy.  Both fighters made the marks.  Lundy has tasted canvas, Broner has not fought anyone.  There is no need for either of them to gain anymore exposure.  Fighting each other would provide that.  Both fighters have mouths that would drive the fight.  Broner has the power, Lundy has more experience.  Shut up and get it on!

**Richard Abril suddenly thinks he I worth a damn.  Dude, we get it!  You got a raw deal against Rios.  I would be all in favor of a rematch at 140.  BUT, don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.  Some how Abril thought it was ok to get involved between Broner and Lundy.  Dude, you lost to Lundy!  Abril you’re a decent fighter but the bottom line is every chance you got at a big time fight you lost.  Prescott = Loss, Lundy = Loss, Rios = Loss. Get back to the drawing board.

**Alfonso Gomez dropped out of his fight against Jesse Vargas due to severe back spasms that put a halt to his training.  In steps Steve Forbes.  Forbes is in good shape as he has been serving as chief sparring partner to Saul Alvarez.  Besides being excited about the opportunity to fight on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard he is also excited to see Mosley and Alvarez exchange leather.

Follow me on Twitter @Toddyrock 

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