Is the Welterweight Division Still the Strongest in Boxing?
By: Ken Hissner
The welterweight division is packed with talented boxers and mentioned as the toughest division in boxing. The WBA Super World champion is Keith “One Time” Thurman, 28-0 (22), of Clearwater, FL, who lost the WBC title due to inactivity. He defeated Shawn “Showtime” Porter, 28-2-1 (17), of Las Vegas, NV, in June of 2016, and Garcia in his last bout and is scheduled to fight on August 4th at the Barclay Center in NY, with an opponent yet named. Since his top two contenders are scheduled it may be No. 3 Jamal “Shango” James, 23-1 (10), of Minneapolis, MN. He last fought in April defeating Abel Ramos, 18-2-2. His only loss was to the Cuban Ugas.
Thurman in his last bout some fifteen months ago by split decision defeated WBC champion Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-0, at the Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, NY. Porter won the WBC Silver title in November 2017. He entered the ring over the weekend barking at Garcia who had just defeated Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 34-4-1 (25). Porter had to be escorted out of the ring. He and Garcia will fight!
Former champion Kell Brook, 37-2 (26), lost to Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr., 24-0 (21), in May of 2017 and rebounded defeating Siarhei Rabchanka, 29-2, of Belarus. Spence of DeSoto, TX, who in his second defense on June 16th in Dallas, TX, knocked out No. 1 contender Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo, 22-0, in the first round, who was his mandatory. Brook is rumored to fight fellow UK and former champion No. 9 WBC Amir “King” Khan, 32-4 (20), who in April stopped Phil Lo Greco, 28-3.
Lucas “La Maquina,” Matthysse, 39-4 (36), of Argentina won the WBA World title stopping Tewa Kiram, 38-1, of Thailand, in January. He is now scheduled to meet former champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-7-2 (38), on July 15th. “Pac Man” hasn’t fought since losing a highly disputed decision to Jeff Horn in July of 2017.
Speaking of Horn, he was defeated by former unified super lightweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, 33-0 (24), in June stopping him in the 9th round. He is scheduled to return home to Omaha, NEB, in October to defend his title. Custio Clayton, 15-0 (10), of Montreal, Canada, is his No. 1 contender.
Garcia, 34-1 (20), of Philadelphia, PA, lost his WBC title to Thurman in March of 2017. He just had his first fight since then stopping the former WBA Lightweight champion Brandon Rios, 34-4-1, this past weekend. Garcia was asked afterwards if he wanted a rematch with Thurman and he said “that’s up to him.” Garcia is No. 1 in the WBC and will meet No. 2 the former champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter, 28-2-1 (17), for the vacant title. Porter hasn’t fought since November.
Pacquiao is ranked No. 1 in the WBA. Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 22-3 (11), of Miami, FL, who is No. 2 in the IBF with the top spot vacant stopped “The New” Ray Robinson, 24-3, of Philadelphia, PA, in June to earn that ranking. He may be the next opponent for Spence.
Jesse “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas, 28-2-1 (10), of Las Vegas, NV, is No. 2 in the WBA, No. 3 in the WBC and WBO. He lost to Pacquiao in November of 2016. In April he drew with former champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner, 33-3-1, of Cincinnati, now No. 4 in the WBO.
So, as you can see there are plenty of possible matches to be made. Though Thurman was the man to beat he has been idle and coming off an injury. So now the main fight fans want is “when do Spence and Crawford meet?” Don’t be in a hurry to see this one for there will be a big build-up for that one!