By Sean Crose
Wow. The man from the Philippines is back. In a big way. Even the most cynical observers couldn’t deny that Manny Pacquiao looked good this past weekend in China. Very good. Exceedingly good. That’s not all that’s left to be said in the wake of Pacquiao-Rios, though.
The truth is, the sport of boxing is in top form right now, especially from the light heavyweight division on down. First, we’ve got Pacquiao and Mayweather once again existing uncomfortably in the same stratosphere (good to have the tension back, guys).
Oh, and there’s also a gentlemen named Timothy Bradley who may have something to say about the current pecking order. What’s more, there’s another gentleman, this one named Danny Garcia, who probably has his own take on things, as well. And lets not forget about about Ruslan Provodnikov. Or Adrien Broner. Or Miguel Cotto. Or Juan Manuel Marquez…
Let’s face it, things haven’t looked this good on the lighter side of the boxing scale since the heyday of Leonard, Hearns, Duran and Hagler. Everyone – this writer most definitely included – wants PacMan to face Floyd. The reality, though, is there’s a whole lot of other interesting matchups that can be made right now, as well. Even guys like Brandon Rios, those who currently find themselves on the second tier of the hierarchy, have potential futures which are great for fight fans (who wouldn’t want to see Rios battle Mike Alvarado in a rubber match?).
Let’s keep in mind, though, that things are quite interesting in other weight neighborhoods, too. Moving up a bit in weight, we find names like Gennady Golovkin, Sergio Martinez, Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson. It may only be a matter of time before those guys start mixing it up with each other. Heck, I even want to see Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. step back in the ring with Brian Vera.
Heading down towards the bottom spectrum of the weight scale, there’s super bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux. With only twelve fights to his name, the guy already looks like a seasoned master, one of the best pound for pounders in the world, no less. And it would be a real mistake to write off Nonito Donaire just yet. One loss and one unimpressive win doesn’t equal a declining career. Let’s see what the future holds.
Perhaps most wondrous of all, though, is the fact that the heavyweight division – that’s right, the boring, plodding, has-been heavyweight division – just may be starting to spark up again. With the excellent yet unpopular (in this part of the world, at least) Klitschko brothers winding down impressive careers, some hot new talent appears to be on the horizon.
The tragedy which befell Magomed Abdusalamov several weeks ago has overshadowed the fact that there is a very good heavyweight out there named Mike Perez. Although attention should primarily be paid to the plight of Abdusalamov, who is seriously hurt, if not close to death, Perez is definitely one of the big men to keep an eye on in the future. As is American knock out king Deontay Wilder, so long as he starts to face some stiffer competition.
So it’s time for we fans – or at least those of us who are American fans – to stop wringing our hands over our sport. Sure, it has it’s problems…and big problems they are. Things are looking up, though. Drama and anticipation are the in the air. There are exciting fights to be fought, pressing questions to be answered, and a bunch of interesting prospects to keep an eye on up and down the weight classes. Simply put, things haven’t looked this good in a while. Let’s hope they only get better.