The Junior Middleweights. Imagine the possibilities!Posted by: Evan Young
Posted on: March, 2011
The junior middleweights have a slew of very good and compelling fighters hovering in the neighborhood. Exciting former welterweight title holders Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto are now all here, looking for action. You have streaking Saul Alvarez and top Cuban prospect Erislandy Lara. And you have surprising title holder Cornelius Bundrage and newly crowned Austin Trout looking for battles. James Kirkland, who is 2 fights into his comeback, is paring back down to 154. You could match Pawel Wolak with practically anyone and you are likely to get a brutal slugfest that would be fan friendly. Vanes Martirosyan is young and keeps winning.
While it’s unlikely all the great potential matches get made for various reasons, I believe there is a good possibility some of these potential excellent contests can happen in this division. It looks like Cotto and Margarito are in talks about a possible rematch. That figures to be another good fight. But there are so many intriguing possibilities with this mix of former champions, contenders and hot prospects. And the possibilities are numerous as there are brutal pressure fighters, skilled technicians and boxer/punchers.
You could plug in almost anyone here and make a great match up. It will be interesting to see how guys like Lara and Martirosyan do when they step to fight the ‘iron” in the division like Margarito, Angulo and Kirkland.
Can Wolak step up and hang with the more established pressure fighters? Can he force a boxer type into his type of fight? Can Kirkland regain his old form and live up to previous expectations? How will the skilled Trout do when he steps up? Can Williams return to the most feared fighter in the world? Will Cotto and Margarito battle? What will the winner do? Cintron seems like he’s got more in the tank, where’s he been? Will Alvarez live up to the hype bestowed upon him? He’s got a lot of tough fights down the line. Can Bundrage secure a big fight and pull a surprise?
Who will eventually be considered the number one junior middleweight in the world? We have a lot of unanswered questions in this division. I just hope that we get these great potential match-ups and this fun, exciting division sorts itself out over the next 2 or 3 years.
Below are my top 12 in no particular order
Alfredo Angulo – He’s an unforgiving fighter with great accuracy and pressure. Since his loss to Cintron, he had been looking great and a mission to the title but he has been derailed by Visa problems and hasn’t fought in 8 months. I hope things can be resolved because he is a top player in the division and makes for great fights.
Antonio Margarito – a brutal pressure fighter has been marred in controversy since the “glove” incident. But after a losing but game effort against Pacquiao, he is back on the map and the venom against him is waning. A rematch with Cotto is being discussed and appears likely.If he wins, Kirkland and the like await.
Paul Williams – he has some redeeming himself to do after his brutal loss to Sergio Martinez (KO2) he has plenty of possibilities here Williams is a lanky pressure fighter that was once an avoided fighter before his rematch loss to Martinez. Can eh get back to a top level? Me thinks he’s hit his ceiling already.
Pawel Wolak – he is a walk in pressure fighter that has a way of making a ring very small in a hurry. He’s a guy not afraid to get hit to land his own. He looked great against former champ Yuri Foreman a few weeks back. I want to see him against a more formidable challenge to see how he holds up.
Kermit Cintron – he has been off a year since his strange bout with Paul Williams where he propelled out of the ring and lost a technical decision. He’s beat Angulo, drew with Sergio Martinez (highly disputed) and lost to Margarito twice. He’s still one of the divisions top guys. Perhaps after a warm-up he could step in against anyone.
Miguel Cotto – Cotto is the WBA super champion. Everyone knows Cotto’s resume. Good boxer, skilled and a good puncher. Has only lost to the best, Margarito and Pacquiao. Coming off win over Ricardo Mayorga. He’s had so many grueling fights, how long will he go on? Talks of rematch with Margarito in the works.
Erislandy Lara – Cuban prospect has scored four 1 round KO’s in a row. Hard to forget his struggle with Grady Brewer. But he is a talent and is being groomed properly. He fight’s spoiler Carlos Molina on March 25, 2011.
Vanes Martirosyan – a skilled boxer/puncher with good speed and amateur pedigree. He’s a sharp hitter that still needs a bit more seasoning before he fights a dangerous foe. He was fortunate to get past former champ Kassim Ouma a few fights back. But he's right back at it and is improving.
James Kirkland – a bruising destroyer, that looks to cut down anyone in his path, no matter what’s in his way. Before he went to prison, he looked to be the best in the division with his hiding of Joel Julio. He looked, understandably, a bit rusty in his comeback but is likely to regain old form. But he does need several more fights to see where he is.
Cornelius Bundrage – an older fighter that picked up the title against an out of shape Cory Spinks. But it’s good to see him doing well later in his career. I don’t see at his age is looking for paydays. And with a title to offer, he may just get it.
Austin Trout – Trout is a fast technician and not well known which he would like to change. He was impressive in his last outing when he won the title from Rigoberto Alvarez (Saul’s brother) in Mexico. He’s looking for respect and names.
Saul Alvarez – highly touted prospect, and now WBC champ, is coming off wide win over game Mathew Hatton. Alvarez still needs more work before he fights better guys. But at only 20, he’s got time on his side. Takes another step up, but not too big, in Ryan Rhodes in his next bout.
Honorable mention: Cory Spinks, Deandre Latimore, Sechew Powell
No Pacman or Mayweather?
I didn’t talk about superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao because, well, Mayweather has disappeared again from the scene and Pacquiao, after he takes care of Mosley, probably only has eyes for Mayweather and if its a no go there, maybe in typical Pacquiao style, he could go for one more great challenge in Sergio Martinez as that’s what the great ones do, take on the unimaginable.
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