Boxing in 2020: Part 4 Welterweights

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Erroll Spence Jr (black/white trunks) and Shawn Porter (white/gold trunks) exchange punches during their IBF & WBC World Welterweight Championship fight at Staples Center on September 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Spence, Jr won by decision. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Top Rank Boxing was the first boxing promotion to resume this week. In large part, it received criticism in many parts. Matchmaking has long been a knock on boxing, it’s likely this will continue due to the travel restrictions and lack of resources. In the light of boxing returning in the US, the issue still remains oversees on making a comeback.  We’ve reached the welterweights’ portion of this series. There is still time to review the most prestigious division in boxing before these names make their return later this year.

Welterweights

It would be a disservice to start this portion with anybody other than Errol Spence or Terence Crawford. Two of the top 5 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, both find themselves at the top of the 147lb division. Spence fights under the PBC banner for Al Haymon. Spence is becoming one of boxing’s pay per view stars with both of his last bouts garnering over 350k buys. The Southpaw is undefeated at 26-0 with 21 KO’s. Spence has one of the best resumes in boxing, with wins over Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia and Kell Brook.

“The Truth” was involved in a horrific car crash last October. Alcohol was involved and Spence flipped his vehicle after traveling at a high rate of speed. Fortunately, Spence was able to recover in a relatively short period of time considering the severity of the crash. Spence has not been in the ring since. Many around the business thought he would take a tune-up fight in his return, however, it has been rumored that he will take on fellow PBC Welterweight, Danny Garcia. Garcia is a worthy adversary, but the fight that fans are clamoring for is with Terence Crawford.

Terence Crawford is considered by many, the best switch-hitter in boxing. Crawford can switch from orthodox to southpaw and creates a mismatch for opponents from either side. Crawford fights under the Top Rank banner on ESPN. He’s 36-0 and before his jump to 147, he unified the 140lb division, winning all four championship belts. His resume is not as prestigious as Spence, but many view him as the more talented fighter. It does not appear that Crawford will be back in the ring in the foreseeable future, due to the financials of this pandemic. Crawford benefits immensely if Bob Arum can secure a big name fight before a potential showdown with Spence.

The A-Side

That big name both Crawford and Spence are seeking out is none other than future hall-of-famer, Manny Pacquiao. The Philippino Senator is still regarded as one of the elites at 147 pounds. He defeated Keith Thurman last July to win the WBA welterweight championship. The bout sold over 500k PPV buys, garnishing over 37 million in revenue. Becoming the oldest welterweight champion in boxing, Pacquiao still is able to compete with the best in the world. It’s unclear if he still is under contract with PBC or if he’s able to go fight on other networks. A fight with Mikey Garcia was floating around the media, but nothing ever came to fruition. Because of how much money he generates with a live gate, it is unlikely fans see Pacquiao inside of the ring in the next couple of months.

PBC Welterweights

Errol Spence was already mentioned as one of the welterweights under the PBC banner before, however, they also have a stable of other elite fighters as well. Shawn Porter, who is boxing’s equivalent of Justin Gaethje, is arguably the #4 ranked welterweight in the world. Porter is the former WBC champion, before his loss to Spence last September.

Keith Thurman is the former WBA welterweight champion. Thuman holds wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. His bout with Pacquiao last July was a split decision in which some thought he was the victor. The former unified champion should be able to step in the ring for an opportunity at a title in 2021.

Junior Welterweights

Many boxers rarely spend time in one weight class. Many move up divisions as their body grows mass and once they’re comfortable with the size difference. Junior welterweight is held at 140 pounds. Josh Taylor is currently one of the unified champions. Taylor owns the IBF and the WBA belts. Taylor also holds the crown of the 2019 World Boxing Super Series champion. By defeating Regis Prograis, Taylor became the Ring Magazine champion as well. “The Tartan Tornado” is 16-0 and is only 29 years old.

Jose Ramirez is also a unified champion at 140 pounds. He is the owner of the WBC and WBO championships. Ramirez is 25-0 and coming off a big win against Maurice Hooker last July. Ramirez has had two fights postponed due to Covid-19. However, it appears Ramirez will finally get his showdown with Viktor Postal in July. If Postol can enter the country, this fight should be the 1st marquee event for boxing since February.

Top Rank has events lined up for the rest of June and July. There has been an abundance of speculation regarding where and how major fights will return. In the finale of this series, part 5 will introduce the Lightweights and the names to know at the lighter weight classes before big-time boxing resumes.

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